If you keep thinking "value" during your stay at this hotel near 96th and Broadway, you will be fine. Otherwise, you may be disappointed. There Newton is clean, well tended, safe, bed-bug free (According to the "Bedbug Registry.Com), cordial and well-staffed by helpful and knowledgable personnel. How many hotels in any part of Manhattan can make those claims at $139 per night! (Plus taxes, of course). In fact, there are few other hotels in the city of any description where you can get that price. At that rate, you do have to share a bathroom down the hall with a few other guests, though for a little more you can get a room with your own toliet facilities. The shared bathrooms are meticulously maintained and, to be honest, I only saw one other guest who used the bathroom ever so breifly in 2 nights at the hotel. Besides, there are 8 floors, each seemingly with one shared bathroom per suite of rooms. So, if your floor is in use, you have 7 more to try. The clientele is a largely European crowd attracted by the bargain prices. Obviously this place is touted in European guidebooks of America. The clientele is quite varied in age, but mostly quiet, patient and travel-savvy. And best of all, you are in New York City, a walk away from some attractions and a brief subway trip away from almost all the major places. The Newton is just across the street from the IRT line 96th Street stop.
OK...so what do I mean when I say you get what you pay for. Well the rooms are very small...probably equivalent to a 2 star hotel in Paris. In our room, the closet was not too ingeniously placed right next to the front door, so you couldn't open your closet and the front door at the same time. Plus, the closet was placed where the bathroom would have been...only big a problem for very drunk guests in the middle of the night who forget there is no bathroom. Let's see...one morning at checkout time the only elevator broke down. This was no problem for us at a lower floor, but I feel sorry for guests who had to lug their belongings down in the extreme heat from the upper floors. To be fair, the Hotel staff was quite willing and able in assisting guests with that task. There are two computers for guest use in the lobby (For a price...20c per 15 minutes...not bad). Naturally one of those computers was out of order. And the worst part...while rooms are non-smoking...the previous occupants of our room had ignored this rule. Cigarette smoke clung to everything in the small room. Despite the fact that we kept the very efficient air conditioning blasting for our 2 day stay, the stale cigarette odor never completely washed away.
The Upper West Side neighborhood near the Newton is largely residential with the usual array of shops and services that grace a good residential scene. There has been a moderate uptick in panhandling over the past couple of years, but the neighborhood is well policed and largely hassle-free. There is the problem of finding a good comfortable neighborhood bar/restaurant in this area. "The Regional" with decent, sturdy Italian cooking and a really fine bartender comes closest to meeting this need. Otherwise, there are 2 taverns in the area which literally names themselves "dive bars"...which,unfortunately, in my opinion...is an all too apt description of those 2 establishments. You need to walk about 10 blocks up into the Columbia University neighborhood to find the right kinds of pubs.
Again, since this is New York, I don't have to advise you on where to go to find anything and everything you want. But in this particular neighborhood, that walk to Columbia is worth it. The campus architecture and the whole atmosphere of the place is quietly outstanding. It is also cool to walk through Riverside Park at 95th Street and make your way to "Hudson Beach" a sprawling outdoor cafe of random tables overlooking the river. Sunset there is especially eye-popping. Children and dogs and all kinds of recreational venues add to the festival atmosphere. The service is slow, so avoid the Cheeseburger unless you enjoy stiff and lifeless cheeseburgers that failed to make their way from grill to your table in anything approaching a normal time.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Attractive Nine-story Hotel located on the Upper West Side, convenient to Columbia University, theaters, museums & shopping. ... more less
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