My wife and I stayed last Labour Day week-end. We found NYC was a bit far and were sorry we had not booked a hotel in Manhattan. But having taken the decision to go to NYC really last minute, the Skyview Hotel was one of the last financially sound options. A bus service runs to Times Sq from just behind the hotel - the last stop of 158 NJ to NY, but the schedule is rather erratic - one day we waited for 3 buses, only to be told each time they were at the end of service. It takes quite a while to reach Times Sq. by bus, we found: at best 50 minutes in low traffic - we had decided not to take our Altima to Manhattan driver madness and try to get there, by hook or by crook using public transit. The other option is to take the local latino-run buses to George Washington Bridge Bus Stn, and then subway to South Manhattan. The acid test of trial and error showed us that was the better option, over the 158. On the way to NYC, the fare is $ 4 for 2 people; on the way back, you must tell the driver you want to get off at the corner of North Street (the motel is is a few springy steps away - 10 minutes about); the day you are lucky you'll get charged $ 4, otherwise it can be 5 bucks. I suggest you keep your $4 exact change ready and pretend to be knowledgeable about the area. All in all, transportation may turn up being your best experience in NJ! If I leave aside the gas, which in this area hit $ a low of 3.37 last weekend.
The motel is family-run and mediocre at best. But the area is calm and safe I would argue, despite of the shoot-out at the motel with the NJ police 2 weeks ago. In a nutshell, Fort Lee really is mid-class America with nice flowery gardens in front of cosy homes!
We had booked a smoking room, but we weren't expecting a meat smoker. The standard smoking we were offered smelled so bad it got us nauseous within 2 minutes we took to discuss out options. Of course, while on the premises, leaving the place springs to mind, but we decided not to throw the baby out with the bathwater, to challenge ourselves and try our luck with a regular room. The upgrade standard charge is $ 20 flat. You can try (hard) your luck and haggle, that is their charge and, since they know you must have paid the booking charge, they won't let go of it. You pay up, then Bob's your uncle - you get the key to one of the standard non-smoking. (Really we felt the receptionist seemed in no bargaining position either, you know my wife spoke to him common sense, he got the pip, his boss had set the charge.)
First impression was poor, although the room size was decent. There was no light in the room and the bed had been slept in. Or so we hoped, as we discovered it was full of hairs of different sizes and shapes. Now, of course, we requested change of linen, and that was provided fast. By the time we came back from Manhattan, the light too had been taken care of.
The bed was of the hard spring sort, the one where you move and wake up your travel companion. Shower pressure was good. The coice of TV channels good too.
The breakfast was a disappointment too. We are from Canada and used to have breakfasts. The motel provides baby-size cereal servings (the 15 to 18 g minuscule bag); milk runs dry if you ain't early bird or alert enough; but they brought some more or coffee (upon request) within an acceptable 10 minutes time frame. Should you be cereal adverse, you can have jam, Philadelphia, bagels or bread (of the cheaper sort). Coffee was strong and good. Most annoying was that on each occasion, the boss or employees had taken the table + 4 chairs area in front of the reception, so you are left with no choice but to stand while you eat your cereals. Should you decide one serving is not enough to get you going, you stand, eat your cereals then have some more, the receptionist was lenient and, honnest, one morning I had 3 or 4 cereals servings. We sensed the idea of having employees and their kids taking the whole 4 chairs was to get you off the coffee and bagels fast and back to our room.
Other than that, staff are friendly, the area is alright, plan breakfast some place else. On a similar trip, would not hesitate to try something else.
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