I come to NYC a couple times a year mainly to eat, see friends, go to the MoMA or catch a show. I can honestly say that as often as I have come to this town, I have ZERO hotel loyalty – I have literally bounced around, trying out different places to see if ANYTHING sticks. I mean, in this city – just about every room (in a boutique hotel) is small, every room only has a shower, and most rooms are right around the same price point no matter where you are in the city, so I have bounced. Over the last two years I have stayed at Ace, Dream, 6 Columbus, Hudson, and a few others – I have bounced. In the mix of these, I can say in absolute honesty that Pod hotel 39 does not stand out as one of the swankiest or coolest or trendiest for any of the more obvious reasons (even though it is all of those things in its own way) – but I can say that this is the hotel that I will ALWAYS recommend and ALWAYS try to book when traveling to NYC. And, I think given the fact that I have been around the block – that should say something.
The rooms are modern with a very clean contemporary feel (white and red tones are used throughout) and they look like they came straight out of a CB2 catalogue. The one thing you should be aware of is that the rooms are beyond small – even by NYC standards. I actually came with a friend and we had a room with a bunk bed, but I have to say – the designers of this hotel could give the Germans and the Swiss a run for their money when it comes to efficiency and quality use of space. Yes – it is small, but there is sufficient space to store your bags (you will NOT be able to unpack them – but you can hang those few items that absolutely need to be hung) and there is a safe for your valuables. The bathroom is spacious despite the small rooms – which, from a design perspective, is very smart (especially when you share a room – because this is likely where you will be getting dressed). If you need space – you should consider staying in New Jersey.
The rooms and the hotel are also BEYOND clean – as in you could eat of the floor clean (although I wouldn’t suggest it). That is something I could not say about anywhere else I have stayed in this city. Another nice little feature about the rooms, each bed is equipped with 2 power outlets, USB, VGA outlets + audio, HDMI and even S-VIdeo / Audio ports and your own TV – at least with the bunk beds (with the ability to plug in your won headphones). Wifi is also pretty decent as far as hotel wifi goes – and it is complimentary. Oh, and the windows OPEN!
When I stayed, the hotel had just been open for two weeks, so the gym and lobby restaurant/bar were not yet open – but the rooftop bar was, and it is has a FANTASTIC view of the city – plus it’s a fun place to grab a drink (or two or three) – the bartenders are GREAT. If you're a fan of elevated views, you really can't beat the view from the top of POD 39 hotel on a nice day. Situated right there at the top of Murray Hill with a slightly obstructed view of the Empire State Building to the west and the East River to the, well... east - it's a lovely place to relax and have a few drinks. When I was there, the rooftop was open at all times (even when the bar was closed)– hopefully this is still the case. As you walk to the rooftop, there is an inside sitting area that is very bohemian and whimsical, with Moroccan style pillows and lamps. The floor had vintage black and white tiles – overall very pleasant and well thought out, so after enjoying the view outside – if the weather wasn’t amenable you could easily enjoy yourself in this cozy nook (assuming a group hasn’t already beaten you to it).
The front desk was nice but not what I would call exceptional – which is really on par with most of what I have experienced in NYC. They do have a concierge on hand to provide suggestions and iPads in the lobby. The iPads, as one can imagine, are very very popular – and a great touch.
Architecture and design junkies should know that Pod 39 is occupies a former Allerton club hotel. The 17-story landmarked building, designed by Arthur Loomis Harmon. It has a Northern Italian Renaissance style facade with arched windows, terra cotta details and varied brickwork. The roof garden with arched openings flanking a central colonnade remained largely untouched and really is the most beautiful aspect of this hotel. Even if you don’t stay here – you should venture to the bar during the early hours just to check this out, it really is quite stunning – as are the glass elevators and the lobby fitted with classic Eero Saarinen egg chairs and a whimsical mural. Do not let the “budget” price fool you – this is a really great hotel where the details were impeccably well thought out.
The location of the hotel (Murray Hill/East Midtown) really cannot be beat - 3 blocks south of the Chrysler building, 3 blocks south and 1 block east of Grand Central. What more could you want? There are also plenty of food, drink and grocery opinions within a few minutes walking distance.
Despite the very budget friendly price point, I would never describe this place as a budget hotel – it is the furthest thing from it. Pod 39 is simply way too stylish, way too thoughtful, way too everything to be relegated into that realm. It is simply the best un-kept secret. It is the coolest un-pretentious spot that offers all that you could ask. It is modern efficiency that offers everything that it is without pretending to be anything more or less – and because of that, it is exceptional. And because of that, it is one of the harder properties to book. My advice – if you are interested in staying here – if you see availability, book it, because like a great love, someone will snatch it up by the time you decide you wanted it.
Booking tips – I have found that the Pod website generally offers the most competitive rates.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Pod 39 Hotel offers hip, convenient, and personalized accommodations for the stylish and savvy traveler. Located in the Murray Hill neighborhood of Midtown Manhattan, we're close to all of the action but away from the hustle and bustle. Just steps from Grand Central Terminal, five subway lines will transport you all over New York City. There's a Pod for every person, and endless possibilities! ... more less
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