I travel quite a bit. I've stayed in places with marble floors to the walk-in closets (The Seoul Plaza - a quite splendid hotel) and places of such horror and terror that closing your eyes at night seemed like an impossible dare (some flea pit near Kings Cross station in London, whose name I have thankfully blanked from my memory).
Although it is true to say say that the West Side Y is closer to flea pit than palace that's a simplistic and unfair comparison to make: let me tell you why.
1. The decor – to be fair the material make-up of the rooms is Spartan, and sometimes looks like it got into a street fight (and lost). But the rooms are always clean.
2. Yes, you share a bathroom. So for me that meant my students might walk in while I'm in the shower: if I can live with that thought you can live with the thought of a stranger seeing your derrière. Get over it, everyone is an adult and should be the same gender as you (unless you are doing something you shouldn't be). Unless you're very lucky you won't have anything they've not seen (and visa versa).
3. The other guests. My students told me they had read tales online of freakshows wandering the corridors – not so. Everyone I saw was decently clothed (except for a pair of my towel-clad students, which I apologize for), sober and well behaved. If strange things happened while you were there I'd look to your travelling companions not the hotel.
4. The staff – the staff are at least professional and best rather lovely. There is a scary lady at the lobby entrance, but this is NYC, it's in her job description. If you get poor service my advice is to run a check on your own manners: these guys are on lower wages than they are at The Plaza, their incentive to tolerate bad manners is lower; but treat them with courtesy and they respond in kind.
5. The food is OK for snacking purposes. I'd avoid it a part of a regular diet. Go to the La Parisienne Coffee House on 7th near the Park for an excellent breakfast, or the Brooklyn Diner (212 W 57th St) for lunch (Rootbeer Float – hhhhhhhm!).
6. The place has a great location and is crazy cheap for Manhattan.
I've never seen vermin there (and I've stayed there twice). I did see a roach next to the Empire State building, by the loby of a posh office block, it was huge. But never at the YMCA.
To sum up: It looks a bit rough, it's quiet enough to sleep in, the beds are clean and comfortable, the bathrooms are communal but fine,* and the location is awesome.
* Note: I'm going to qualify that statement. The bathrooms are fine if you take a little spray bottle of bleach. They are cleaned regularly, but the other guests are not always as careful while away as they would be in their own homes. I'd also recommend a set of sucker hooks, that way you can hang all your clothes up (but then what kind of traveller doesn't take sucker hooks with them?)
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located just off Central Park West and steps from the Columbus Circle transit hub, our New York hostel guest rooms offer private Single and Bunk rooms that provide a home away from home for nearly 130,000 International and Domestic budget travelers each year. Our ideal location in NYC allows guests to enjoy the beauty of Central Park, the energy of Times Square and world famous cultural institutions including Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall and the Museum of Natural History. As a hotel guest of the West Side YMCA, you can enjoy FREE use of our 65,000 square foot Health and Wellness Facility - including two indoor swimming pools. We're easily accessible to all NYC public transportation - uptown, downtown, cross-town buses, and the 1,A,C,E,B,D,N subway lines.Guest Rooms Facilities Include Cable TV, Shared Bathrooms on each floor (some private facilities)Air-conditioning, Housekeeping - Clean Linens and Towels provided. Elevator BuildingAround the clock check-in24 hour securityFree WiFi in lobby areaSafe Deposit boxesNo Curfew ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- West Side Ymca Hotel New York City
- Ymca New York
- New York City Ymca
- Ymca West Side New York
- Ymca Nyc