Doubles from: $95 to $299
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Reviewed by EuroCheapo.com Editors
The three-star Pod Hotel has an appealing hotel concept: Imagine a very well-designed (if spartan) hotel in a lively and action-packed corner of a big city. Now add to the equation a nightly rate that's surprisingly pocketbook-friendly. Et voila! A solid New York pick.
Pros: A combination of excellent quality, location and price. Free Wi-Fi. Good value. Roof deck (in summer).
Cons: Very small rooms (pods, really). Not much common space (in winter).
Rooms at the Pod, nearly 350 in all, are attractively spunky, with accents of blond wood, splashs of color and metallic (almost institutional-looking) bedside lamps and sinks. The “townhouse suites,” which are a particularly good value for families and small groups, even have beanbags for a frisson of retro-chic.
There are rooms to be had with one twin bed, two twin bunk beds, one or two double beds or one queen bed. All pods are equipped with individual climate control, an LCD TV, mp3 dock, safe, free Wi-Fi and even dimmer controls for the lighting.
There has to be a catch, and, in fact, there is. Rooms are very small, even by New York City’s miniscule standards. (If you need copious amounts of space for your morning exercise routines, then perhaps your Pod Hotel room won’t be the best place to get sweaty.)
Of course, there are plenty of hotels in New York with tiny rooms. It’s just that the vast majority of these hotels haven’t gone out of their way to market their scale as part and parcel of their charm. The Pod Hotel does so, and beautifully, producing a level of chic that countless cookie-cutter chain hotels (with their $400 nightly rates) seem to be unable to touch.
Queen and double pods private bathrooms outfitted with rainfall showerheads, a hair dryer, and eco-friendly Red Flower toiletries. Single and bunk pods share facilities. Either way, bathrooms are tiny and sport lovely black and white tiles. And even shared bathrooms are cool, with by in-room displays that indicate which are available.
The Pod Hotel’s stylish lobby and pleasant backyard garden and rooftop deck (both open during warmer months) prove that the boutique-hotel approach can be extended successfully to budget-friendly spaces.
The Pod has a second location, Pod39, 12 blocks south in Murray Hill.
The Midtown East business district may be a bit staid in the evening, but it’s vitally central. For sightseeing, nearby Grand Central Terminal is a must-see attraction, while the United Nations complex hugs the East River to the south.
Second Avenue is lined with lively restaurants and bars, and on 3rd Avenue and 49th Street stands the first Smith & Wollensky steakhouse. Six blocks north, on 3rd Avenue at 55th Street, the you can find some of the city’s best hamburgers at the original PJ Clarke’s.
Guest reviews in brief
It’s no secret that you’ll be spending the night in a pod, but some visitors are still shocked at just how tiny rooms really are. However, others note that modern, space-saving design helps compensate for the lack of space.Guests report that communal bathrooms are kept spotlessly clean, and they are especially enthusiastic about free Wi-Fi.
Guests complain about noise from neighbors and bedroom doors that bang shut. Staff get mixed reviews, from being warm and helpful to coming across as impersonal or even rude.
Subways: The 6 train at 51st Street and E and M (note that the M runs on weekdays only) trains at 53rd Street-Lexington Avenue are each a short walk away.
JFK: Take the Air Train to Sutphin Boulevard-Archer Avenue Station and transfer to a Manhattan-bound E subway train to 53rd Street-Lexington Avenue.
LaGuardia: We recommend an airport bus service to Grand Central Station, where you can take advantage of the free midtown hotel transfer service.
Newark: Take the Air Train to the NJ Transit station, and then any NJ Transit train into New York Penn Station. Transfer to a Queens-bound E train to 53rd Street-Lexington Avenue.
Read more about airport transportation in New York.
Note: This hotel was visited by a EuroCheapo editor and is recommended based on cleanliness, location, price and overall quality. EuroCheapo did not charge this hotel to be listed.
- Wi-Fi: Free
- Air conditioning
- Bathroom: Private
- Cable TV
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About the Pod 51 Hotel neighborhood
Midtown East begins at Fifth Avenue and works east toward the water, encompassing the residential Murray Hill neighborhood on its way. More business-oriented than Midtown West, Midtown East is home to many noteworthy sights, including Grand Central Terminal, the United Nations, the Chrysler Building and St. Patrick's Cathedral. This area is also great for shopping, with Saks Fifth Avenue, Takashimaya, Chanel, Burberry, Calvin Klein … Basically, if it isn't in Midtown East, then it's a few blocks north in the Upper East Side.