Cheap Hotels in New York City - Money Saving Tips for Added Comfort on a Budget

The Park 79 Hotel

••• Mark Kahler, licensed to About.com

The Park 79 once was known as the Hayden. The current name reflects its location at 79th and Columbus Avenue, a very short walk from the American Museum of Natural History and Central Park West.

Many hotels of this type were once apartment buildings. They are older structures that sit on prime real estate, and their owners have invested money to make travelers reasonably comfortable and well-located.

Put a greater emphasis on the well-located part of that equation. These are not state-of-the-art rooms with all the latest innovations in plumbing and decor. The rooms tend to be rather small. You might hear strange noises in the walls. But if you're simply looking for a great location to begin each day's explorations, this type of room often fills the bill at a much lower nightly rate than other choices.

Park 79 bills itself as a "boutique hotel" and is what many New Yorkers would consider a good two- or three-star property: certainly not a budget hotel by definition, but lacking the amenities required for luxury-oriented travelers. Hence, the boutique label sometimes leads to disappointments.

Hotels like the Park 79 have little quirks you can either choose to find annoying or consider charming: Bathrooms are tiny and antiquated. It might take a while for hot water to reach your shower. There is just one elevator here, and it requires a full 40 seconds to go from ground level to the 7th floor. 

But unlike many no-frills hotels, there is indeed an elevator. The entrance and lobby are very nice. A friendly doorman greets you. Hallways are artfully decorated.

Rates of $169-$209/night buy a standard room. Rooms with larger beds and a few suites can run as high as $249. Keep in mind that an ordinary hotel room in Manhattan locations far less attractive easily can run $400/night.

So, as you look at room rates, remember that value lies beyond the basic rates.

Let's go back to well-located considerations. Park 79 is within walking distance of scores of great little restaurants in what some consider the most desirable of Manhattan's neighborhoods. In good weather, the Metropolitan Museum of Art is 20 minutes away by foot across Central Park. The A, C, and E subway trains are accessible at 81st and Columbus, a five-minute tree-lined walk from the Park 79's doorsteps.

If you're coming to Manhattan for a weekend of museum and restaurant hopping, you'll spend little time traveling and more time doing what you want to do.

Here's the central idea: identify what you want to do in a big city before you choose a place to stay. A room that is centrally located in the city might actually be quite far from the cluster of attractions you want to visit.

Once you've pinpointed your locations of interest, begin looking for a hotel of this type that is located within those points on the map. If your aim is Broadway shows, find a hotel of this type in the theatre district. See how it works?

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