If you’re looking for an affordable hotel in Manhattan, you don’t have to necessarily plump for the micro-room option.
A much-loved establishment in midtown – just a couple of blocks from Grand Central Station – is the Roger Smith Hotel at 501 Lexington Avenue (East 47th Street).
The hotel dates back to the 1930s, and was part of a Roger Smith chain. However, whereas its sister hotels have fallen by the wayside, this sole Roger Smith remains. It was taken over by its current owners in the late 80s and continues to offer quirky charm in the heart of the Big Apple.
Boasting just over 130 rooms, the style here is traditional and homely. Vintage chests of drawers, stuffed armchairs, wrought-iron bed frames, antique writing tables and TV cabinets, and big, china table lamps, with carpeting throughout.
Vintage reproductions hang on the wall, with my sizeable room appearing to specialize in some slightly sinister-looking paintings of children!
The bathroom is marble-tiled in big bold swathes of brown and beige, with a large, white ceramic sink with silver fittings.
The huge, built-in closet boasted plenty of hangers – which always earns bonus points from me. On the downside, there was little view from the window, which overlooked a roof over the lower floors. The room’s large air conditioning unit was also a little vintage and noisy. It was thankfully not needed during my October stay so I could turn it off.
To keep costs low (room rates start from $125), there are few added benefits, although there’s free yoghurt, granola and apples available to guests in the lobby at all hours of the day – as well as a coffee machine in each room.
There’s also 16th floor rooftop Henry’s Bar that’s worth checking out (although its closed in winter months). The owners have a love of art, so the lobby and front entrance feature a rotating line-up from their own collections.
Like most places in New York, you’re spoilt for choice for places to eat when you hit the sidewalk. Grand Central station is five minutes’ walk away, with subway lines taking you to every corner of the NYC boroughs.
For old-fashioned charm and hospitality, and unbeatable prices, be sure to make this Roger Smith’s acquaintance.
The Roger Smith Hotel, 501 Lexington Avenue and 47th Street, New York 10017. www.rogersmith.com. Room rates start from $125, plus taxes.