My perspective: 36 year old UK married NHS surgeon, with young family back home, in the middle of 6 months doing fellowships in UK, Germany and the US. I have travelled widely in Europe, the US, Africa, India and Australia as a student and younger professional, so hopefully have an idea of what is reasonable.
Travelling alone in the context of the recent drop in sterling against the dollar and Euro and keen to cut costs as self-funding. Also had been recommended a terrible 3 star hotel in Munich, Germany but ended up in a fantastic private room in a clean youth hostel (Euro-Youth-Hotel) with a buzzing bar with food, plenty of interesting people and in the centre of town. It reminded me of the best days I had travelling as a student but with my own room and privacy.
Keen to apply the same logic in the US, the home of customer service and value, I chose the American Dream Hostel for a 1 week visit, soon after. Imagine how impressed I was with the reception on a first floor, in a place revamped a lifetime ago, boasting an impressive variety of carpets. The complete opposite of what I was hoping for. The first room I was given on the second floor, had a classic window that I have only ever seen in cartoons, that was just bricks. Asked to be moved and was given the smallest room I have ever seen but with a window. I could virtually touch both walls with both hands. To be fair, this room was recently painted, clean but very hot. Perfect for drying towels I'd say.
The old chap across the way was interesting to chat to, especially if you like cats, and amenable, offering to turn down his TV in the evening - it still meant using my headphones to sleep as the walls are so thin and it was obviously his only enjoyment besides his cat, so felt it unfair to ask further.
The breakfast was basic and by now no surprise, basic cereal, toast, spreads etc.. The bathroom was an experience, I could not find it as I had walked past the door because it seemed to be a cupboard. Small, old but clean.
I was lucky in that in the end I came to my senses and moved to the recommended Hotel Union Square Inn (14th St) but at 110 bucks a night. It is true, you get what you pay for but it does not have to be this bad. I could not believe how poor the place was in central Manhattan, USA in the 21st century for 50 bucks a night. Save your money, stay in Hoboken or Brooklyn and take the subway! It is so cheap and easy to use. I have been to New York many times and never as appalled as I have been by this dump. 3rd world accommodation. Worse than places I have stayed in South Africa and India and Australia.
The only saving grace was the cleaner, who seemed to try her best to clean this worn out building and the guys on reception were friendly but ineffective; I had to set up another traveller's internet connection.
If you want an authentic visit to a post-war America hostel or have a particularly perverse expectation of the 'American Dream', then this is for you. Do not be this cheap if at all possible, New York is better than this.
P.S. This is the first, and probably only, time I have felt the need to write a review of a place I have stayed and have tried to be balanced.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- A family owned business, American Dream Hostel welcomes you to New York City. Our prices include breakfast in the morning and WiFi. You will be in Manhattan, Flatiron District/Gramercy Park, close to the most exciting locations and events; most main points of interest including restaurants, bars, clubs, shops and stores are studded around the neighborhood and all within walking distance. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- American Dream Hotel New York City