My last two nights in New York City were a study in contrasts. I spent the first night at the Hotel Giraffe at 365 Park Avenue South and the next night I stayed in a private room in a hostel on the Upper West Side.
The entrance for the Hotel Giraffe is a spacious and light common room, the Grande Lobby, with a grand piano, a complimentary continental breakfast in the morning and a complimentary champagne, wine, and cheese reception in the afternoon.
My hostel had a small room off the entrance that smelled of smoke and had no place to sit even if you wanted to watch the small portable TV that entertained the night clerk.
My room at the Hotel Giraffe was not their smallest room but a small suite with a king-sized bed, free wi-fi (always my favorite) and a small library of half a dozen books and of course a bathroom.
My room at the hostel included a free towel (but I had to go down to the front desk and ask for it) and a bathroom down the hall.
My room at the Hotel Giraffe had a living room with a 27″ flat screen TV and a stereo.
My room at the hostel… did I mention the towel was free?
The Hotel Giraffe sits on Park Avenue. My room had a lovely view and there is also a rooftop terrace.
My room at the hostel had a window with a view of the other building in the hostel 3 feet away. It also had a small window air conditioner. After sleeping there I woke up with a sinus infection and have been sick for a week.
The Hotel Giraffe offers complimentary passes to NY Sports Club for its guests.
My hostel had no elevator so I got my work-out by climbing the 4 floors to my room.
My room at the Hotel Giraffe was comped by the hotel in exchange for writing this review but rates for this hotel start at $215 a night. My private room in a hostel on the Upper West Side cost $80 which was one of the most affordable rooms I was able to find in Manhattan after about an hour searching (staying in a dorm room would have been cheaper but I snore). For additional comparison, the last time I was in New York City on business I stayed in the W in a smaller room than at the Hotel Giraffe, without breakfast and with a broken TV for $500 a night.
My hostel room was cheaper than the Hotel Giraffe. But sometimes less is simply less. One of these hotels I would love to return to. Can you guess which one?