A hostel meets hotel situated mere steps from a wealth of lively bars and cafés provides tiny, no-frill guest rooms and a spacious roof deck. Accommodations cater to travellers hunting for a deal in the core of costly yet convenient Midtown Manhattan.
Ages of children
- Tracy Kaler, Travel Writer
There’s no doubt that Midtown East is acknowledged as a design hub with its furniture, lighting, fabric, and antique shops, but it’s also a charming area of town with a quintessentially local vibe and draws fewer tourists than neighbouring Midtown West. This hotel is adjacent to myriad pubs, wine bars, and restaurants frequented mostly by commuters and residents, so you’ll undoubtedly feel immersed in the New York lifestyle when you stay here. Just across the street lies the bucolic Greenacre Park, which boasts lush plantings and a tumbling 25-foot waterfall, both rarities in bustling Midtown.
Get to Grand Central Station and the United Nations in 10 minutes, Times Square in about 15 minutes, and Central Park in 20 minutes. MoMA and Rockefeller Centre are within a quick walk as well. Find three subway lines within three blocks.
Straightforward and no frills like the hotel itself; the interior design features a palette of mostly black and white with splashes of primary colours. Stripe patterns and funky, multicoloured murals by J.M. Rizzi that depict people socialising in NYC cover walls and doors, lending an urban feel to spaces. The reception area isn’t inviting, but rather stark with mid-century modern-esque seating and a foosball table for fun. Hallways are oddly dark and could stand some brightening. Spaces appear tired and could use a refresh.
Like the design, service in the hotel is minimal. A roof deck ideal for sunbathing, on-site restaurant and bar, and a garden make for a nice retreat from manic Midtown. Speedy Wi-Fi is available throughout the property, and wall-hung computers in the lobby work for printing boarding passes. The lobby’s Pod Cafe serves coffee, bagels, and pastries for breakfast, as well as beer, wine, soft drinks, and snacks. A casual bar and restaurant make dining on-site a snap. There’s no room service, but any number of nearby eateries deliver.
Rooms are basic with few amenities and feel more like dorms than hotel rooms. The most modest quarters contain bunk beds without private baths. Shared hall baths use indicator lights. Queen rooms and studios boast private albeit tiny baths with dark grouted white subway tiles, black granite flooring, and a minuscule stand-up shower. Rooms are outfitted with a small writing desk, wall-hung television, iPod dock, and wall-mounted bedside lamps. Other essentials like a hair dryer, telephone, hanging space, built-in storage drawers under the bed, and an alarm clock come in handy.
With 350 rooms and guests coming and going, there’s little quiet to be had at Pod 51. If you’re looking for a reprieve after a long day in the city, this budget hotel isn’t the place.
There is currently no restaurant, as Salvation Burger, the previous food and drink offering, has closed, but a new one should open by the end of 2017. At breakfast, grab a New York bagel or fresh pastry as well and coffee and juice from the Pod Café before you venture out into the city to start your day.
Value for money
Double rooms with private bath from $130 (£99) in low season; and from $270 (£206) in high. Bunk rooms with a shared bath from $90 (£69) in low season; and from $175 (£134) in high. Breakfast not included, budget about $10 (£7.65) per person. Free Wi-Fi. Considering the size of the rooms, service, and amenities, there are better hotel deals in New York City.
Access for guests with disabilities?
Not really. Compact spaces don’t lend themselves to groups or small children. Teens perhaps, but this hotel is best suited for singles and young couples.