Funky boutique with stunning views of the Manhattan skyline from every room
Stylish rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows, minibars, and bathrobes
Seasonal rooftop bar with striking views
Free breakfast served daily in the lounge
A la carte food and drink available all day
Free hourly shuttle to/from Manhattan, plus free loaner bikes
CitiBike station in front of hotel
Within an 10-minute walk of six subway lines
Free Wi-Fi throughout
In an industrial part of Long Island City (but walking distance to restaurants and bars)
Freebies actually part of "Facility/Experience" fee
Rooms are small and beds are awkwardly low
Bathrooms lack shower doors and ventilation
Limited lunch and dinner menus
No fitness center
The 100-room Z NYC Hotel is a hip boutique in an industrial, rather unlovely part of Long Island City, Queens. Stylish rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows with sweeping Manhattan views, plus great details, like minibars, rainfall showers, and Hermes toiletries. More skyline views can be seen from the hotel's rooftop bar, and a free breakfast is served in its cellar-level lounge. Other perks include free Wi-Fi, free hourly shuttles to and from Manhattan, and free loaner bikes (these are actually part of the hotel's "Facility/Experience" fee). The hotel's location has nothing of tourist interest or convenience immediately nearby, but it is within a 10-minute walk to several subway lines. For those who want to swap the Manhattan views for a Manhattan location, Pod 51, almost directly across the river, might be a good alternative. Its rooms ("pods") are tiny, but the rates are comparable.
In an industrial part of Queens where chain hotels (Wyndham Garden, Red Lion Inn & Suites) are the norm, the funky Z NYC Hotel is a welcome departure. The design attempts don't always land -- the red, black, and white hotel logo and the side of an old-school black limo over the front door look like signage for a cheesy Halloween attraction -- but it's nice to see any stylistic flair in an area dominated by warehouses, taxi garages, and furniture factories. More bold decor await in the small lobby: a front desk desk made from vintage-style steamer trunks; a mural depicting the curving, Romanesque Revival subway station at City Hall; and a train station departure board above the elevators that welcomes guests in 18 languages.
Down a flight of stairs is the subterranean Cellar Bar (cleverly styled ceLLar bar) where continental breakfast (free) and a la carte lunch and dinner are served. Top 40, jazz, and hip-hop play throughout the day and rotating art on the walls showcases local talent. The hotel's highlight (during warmer months) is its rooftop bar featuring 360-degree views of the Manhattan skyline and Queens. Though it is open all day, the rooftop heats up at night, when the bar opens, couples pair off on sofas, and friends dance to the loud music. (Past guests on the upper floors have reported feeling the bass while lying in bed.) The hotel was smartly designed so that all rooms are on its west side, meaning that every unit has a view of the skyline. The United Nations, the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building, and Citigroup Center are all on view from the rooftop and every guest room.
Making up for its location in an industrial no-man's-land, the property offers staggering city views, a contemporary vibe, and a good number of freebies, including a free hourly shuttle to Midtown. Plus, it is within a 10-minute walk of several subway lines. The hotel draws mostly couples from Europe, followed by business travelers needing to be near the corporate offices of Midtown. Z NYC does allow kids, but it's not a great option for families with young children, as its room windows open at the bottom and it lacks adjoining units or specific activities for kids.
One subway stop from Midtown, in the Queens neighborhood of Long Island City
The hotel is located on a bleak industrial block removed from Long Island City's buzzier, more central areas. It’s not the most attractive area -- a garage for yellow cabs and a construction-supply warehouse are across the street, and on neighboring blocks are restaurant furniture factories, HVAC supply stores, and a lumber showroom. There's very little of tourist convenience in the immediate area, and guests must walk about 10 minutes before they start finding places to eat and drink.
One plus of the location is that it is equidistant from several subway lines (E, F, G, M, Q, and 7) that connect to Manhattan and Brooklyn. (The E train can deliver guests to Midtown in one stop.) The hotel also offers free shuttle transport to and from Manhattan (East 60th St. between Lexington and Third avenues). The shuttle runs every hour from early in the morning until late at night.
Long Island City is the Queens neighborhood closest to Manhattan. It is located right across the Queensboro bridge from Midtown (at 59th Street), and features gleaming skyscrapers on the waterfront, restored historic houses, and riverside parks offering Manhattan views, such as Gantry State Plaza Park (an 18-minute walk from the hotel). Z NYC is a 13-minute walk to MoMA PS1, an outpost of the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan.
Floor-to-ceiling windows with jaw-dropping views of the Manhattan skyline and Queensboro Bridge
Z NYC's rooms are stylish and fun, with details such as touch-pad dimmer lamps, intimacy kits, and contemporary white decor with pops of black and purple. The size is standard for Manhattan, but small for an outer-borough hotel. Twin and Queen rooms are between 229 and 250 square feet, while Deluxe Kings are slightly larger, at 290 square feet. Though rooms are on the small side, their striking floor-to-ceiling windows help them feel more spacious than they really are. All rooms are located on the front (west-facing) side of the building, so all have staggering views of the Midtown skyline and the Queensboro Bridge. The Deluxe King rooms come with deep tubs (all other rooms have walk-in showers) and king beds that face the window. Other than that, the design and amenities are the same in all room types.
Rooms have awkwardly low beds with white pleather headboards studded with rhinestones. There are purple swivel chairs and arc floor lamps with touch-control dimmers. The desk lamps also have touch-sensitive control panels, and can switch levels of brightness. Minibars include intimacy kits, snacks (chips, pretzels, cookies, and candy bars), and drinks (soda, beer, and mini bottles of vodka, rum, whiskey, and tequila). Note that the mini-fridges aren't big enough for stashing takeout containers. Two bottles of Voss drinking water are provided for free.
Bathrooms have walk-in showers with nice rainfall showerheads; however, the water takes a while to heat up, the showers lack doors, and there are no vents or fans. Sinks and mirrors are located in the main room. The hotel provides a full set of Hermes toiletries (shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, body lotion, bar soap), as well as Q-Tips, a shower cap, shoe mitt, and full-size hairdryer. Closets contain cotton terrycloth bathrobes and ironing equipment.
Each room has its own climate control, as well as windows whose lower panels actually open. Flat-screen TVs are 50- or 55-inch Samsungs with 60 channels, including Paramount TV and Turner Classic Movies, plus the ability to sync with guests' personal Netflix and Hulu accounts. Wi-Fi is free in the rooms and there are USB outlets in the desk lamps and by the bed. International, local, and domestic calls are free.
Free continental breakfast, fantastic rooftop area, and free shuttle transportation to Manhattan
Perhaps to make up for its semi-desolate L.I.C. location, the hotel offers some solid features. The most impressive is Z Roof, the 5,000-square-foot rooftop bar/lounge with 360-degree views of Manhattan and Queens. The rooftop is accessible all day, but it really comes to life at night during the warmer months, when guests gather for cocktails and a little impromptu dancing. Z Roof's bar service operates seasonally.
A free continental breakfast is served in ceLLar bar, Z NYC's lower-level bar and lounge area. The space is below ground, but large street-level windows let in natural light. Breakfast is a typical spread of bagels and cream cheese, toast and jam, cereal and milk, hard-boiled eggs, pastries and muffins, and yogurt parfaits. Coffee, tea, and a variety of juices are free, and espresso drinks are available at a cost. Drinks and a limited a la carte lunch and dinner menu are usually available here throughout the day and night, though the area will occasionally shut down when business is slow. The hotel does not offer room service.
Through the hotel's "Facility/Experience" fee, guests get free Wi-Fi in the rooms and common areas, plus free use of the lobby computer and free international, local, and domestic calls. Also included are free bike rentals and free first-come, first-serve transportation on the hotel's hourly shuttle, which goes to and from Manhattan's East 60th St. between Lexington and Third avenues. Laundry and dry cleaning are available for a fee. The hotel allows pets for a fee; restrictions apply. Though there is no fitness center or spa, in-room massages can be arranged.