Flights may probably not be the biggest expense to worry about on your trip to the Big Apple. New York’s real estate prices may have stagnated or even crashed for the market, but for tourists, that’s exactly what’s going to burn the hole in your pocket! Surprisingly enough, looking outside Manhattan does not exactly make the cost issue go away. For my trip to New York, I got lucky with the most budget-friendly accommodation for my 4-night stay. I stayed at Hi NYC, a youth hostel run by Hostel International USA, with only 1 property in New York City.
Here’s a detailed review of my stay at the property.
Hi NYC Hostel Location
Hi NYC is located on Amsterdam Avenue on the Upper West Side in Manhattan, New York. The nearest Subway station is 103 Street. The property is a 7-10min walk from Central Park The hostel is at a10 minute’ walk from Broadway Street. However, getting to Midtown or Downtown where most tourist attractions can be found takes 30-40 minutes by Subway and even longer if you’re walking.
The hostel is surrounded by supermarkets and all kinds of eateries.
4 Bed & 6 Bed Female Dorm Rooms
I first stayed in a 6-bed female dorm and then a 4-bed female dorm. Both dorms were ventilated with large windows, and air purifiers for temperature control and improved air quality. Linens and towels were both provided on the bed at the time of check-in. Fresh linens and towels could be requested at no additional cost. PS. The beds were allotted by the staff/ system at the time of check-in.
Hi NYC Hostel | 4 Bed Female DormBoth dorms did not have an in-room bathroom and a shared bathroom and toilet were available to use on the floor. Lockers were provided for each bed and locks could be bought from the reception.
In-room facilities included charging points and individual reading lights for each bed. While the rooms were perfect to sleep in, for any other task, the common room was the go-to option.
Comparison: However, unlike my experience in Philly, the 6-bed female dorm had a bigger area, and was more spacious, bright, and pleasant to stay in. On the other hand, the 4-bed female dorm was a much smaller room, with curtains for each bed, which added to a claustrophobic feel in the room. Between the two, pick the 6-bed dorm.
USP of Hi NYC Hostel
- Stay in New York, especially in Manhattan can get super expensive! Hi NYC in Upper West Side offered budget stay options with safety and access to all amenities.
- This property is a lane away from Central Park. Especially in the summer, you’ll enjoy unwinding here at the end of the day!
- Community, much like any other hostel is one of the best offerings at Hi NYC. The hostel has a range of guests from solo travelers to large groups. Every evening, you can find in-house activities such as tours, Introduction parties, stand-up gigs, etc. These activities give you the opportunity to meet fellow travelers and make new friends.
- Sustainability is an important focus of the hostel, with water filters to avoid plastic bottles, a community kitchen,s and showers that indicate your water usage with timed lights.
Hostel Amenities: Free & Paid
Additional amenities at Hi NYC Hostel include:
- 24×7 check-in: The reception is manned 24×7, making check-in possible at all hours. They also have an express check-out counter which can be used for a quick check-out, unless you need to store your luggage
- Air purifiers in each room/dorm, ensure better air quality and temperature control within the room
- High-speed Wi-Fi across the property
- In-house café: A fully functional café with coffee, juice, and sandwiches, and snacks available in-house and operates between 6 am- 11 pm except on Sundays, ensuring there’s always an in-house option to eat/ grab a coffee.
- Common Area: The common area also includes ample seating space, a billiards table, board games, foosball table. You can sit, work, eat, connect with fellow travelers, or enjoy your downtime in the lounge. Additionally, there are also multiple outdoor seating areas that are best suited for spring and summer and can be used for smoking
- Theatre room: You can watch TV in the theatre room with ample comfortable seating
- Daily events: Hi NYC organizes daily events such as Introduction Party, Stan-up Gigs, etc. every evening in the lounge area of the building.
- Community Kitchen: A fully equipped kitchen with utensils, electric stove tops, electric kettle, fridge, and storage area is free to use from 5 am-10 pm daily. They also have a microwave for you to heat your food.
- Vending Machine: You can also buy a quick snack/ drink from the vending machine in the kitchen area
- Luggage Storage: If you arrive early you can store your luggage for free in the luggage room. However, you need to pay a fee of $5 per luggage for 24hrs to store your luggage after checkout.
- Shared Bathrooms: There is liquid soap/shampoo in every cubicle, also a hair dryer to use for free. The hostel has men’s, women’s, and all-gender bathrooms on all floors.
- Towels/ Linen: You can request fresh towels/linens anytime during your stay for no extra cost
- Laundry: The hostel has a washing/drying machine, with detergent for $5 per load.
PS: Smoking and alcohol consumption are not permitted in the hostel building
The cheapest bed per night is $57 in a 12-bed Male/Mixed Dorm. The most expensive room is the Private room with a capacity of 2 for $250. Prices may vary on weekdays and weekends (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday). These costs can differ around the year (season, demand).
In addition to your bed charges, you also need to hold a membership of Hostel International America, which costs USD 18 per year in which you can stay at the affiliated properties for 21 nights a year.
You can buy the membership here: https://hiusa.app.neoncrm.com/np/clients/hiusa/membershipJoin.jsp (The membership becomes active as soon as you make the payment, so you can buy it even at the last minute or while checking in at the property)
Alternatively, you can pay USD 4 per night of your stay in addition to your stay costs, directly at the property.
Before you book your stay…
- Blankets provided by the hostel aren’t thick and warm enough for cold days, especially when you tend to feel colder than others. Request for an extra blanket at the reception.
- It’s a huge hostel, navigation can be a task. Especially getting to the bathroom/ toilets, if you have been allotted a corner room.
- There is one big elevator that can take forever to come. Then again, the stairs aren’t the easiest to find. (This hostel could do a lot better with added signboards). So, getting to and out of your room is a relatively time taking process.
- Beds are allocated at the time of check-in, and while you can request a top/bottom bunk, the system tends to follow the order.
- Unlike most hostels, you cannot store luggage for free after checking out even if it is for a couple of hours. You must pay the USD 5 fee for storing each piece.
- The commute from Upper West Side to every other touristy place in NYC is a minimum of 30 minutes by Subway. Account for that timing while planning your day in the city.
- Getting to the airport can be tricky with the lack of dedicated air shuttles. Taking public transport would require an average of 90mins of travel time costing you anywhere between USD 12- 22. A cab on the other hand takes time through the traffic and costs around USD 95-120.
Hi NYC was overall an amazing place to stay for my trip to New York, given the cost of my accommodation compared to the rest of NYC! Given the cons, this is potentially the best deal you can get for the price. However, it’s a great property, well-managed, and a wonderful place to stay!
Book directly from the Hi USA website for a better deal. You can book your stay at the Hi NYC here: https://www.hiusa.org/find-hostels/new-york/new-york-891-amsterdam-ave
Tip: Pick the free earplugs from the reception if your roommates are noisy!