If you have an old-school IHG Select co-brand card, you know that the free night certificate is only good at a hotel priced at 40,000 IHG One Rewards points or less. If you’re looking for a hotel in New York City, that can be a challenge. If you’re looking for a hotel in Manhattan, it’s difficult but I previously learned it’s not impossible.
We were planning a three-night stay in New York where we’d be seeing plenty of Broadway shows. While we’d like to stay near the theater district, we also know it’s not hard to get to mid-town from any area of the city by subway or taxi.
I felt it was a great opportunity to use our IHG free night certificates. For our stay, the points cost for each night were 52,000, 47,000 and 38,000. I used a Select free night for the 38,000 night, an IHG Premier card free night plus 7,000 for the second night and 52K points for the third night. Due to the quirks of the IHG program, I had to book each night as a separate reservation, which ended up working out to our advantage when we needed to delay our trip due to Hurricane Ian hitting Florida.
We spent a quick weekend in New York (quicker for me than for Sharon) and got to experience the Holiday Inn NYC Lower East Side. Yes, we stayed at a Holiday Inn-branded hotel.
While the hotel’s address is on Delancey Street, the entrance is actually on the side of the building, off Suffolk St. As the hotel claims, it’s at the foot of the Williamsburg Bridge. Our taxi driver from LaGuardia passed it on the first try and had to go around the block to drop us off. Due to the price and location, I wasn’t expecting much from this hotel.
Upon arriving, we walked into a basic lobby area.
We had two nights booked under two reservations. When I called in advance, the person on the phone said all I needed to do was let the front desk know when I checked in.
It took a while to get us sorted since we were booked into two different room classes but eventually she said we wouldn’t have to move rooms during our stay, just that we’d need to get new keys after the first night. Our room wasn’t ready but we were allowed to leave our carry-on bags so we could head to Broadway. We wouldn’t return until late in the evening, after our second show on Saturday night.
When we got back to the hotel, we got our keys and the bags we checked that afternoon. The elevators are just right behind the check in lobby.
We walked past a substantial grab-and-go area that was just past the check in desk.
There’s a decent outdoor courtyard if the weather is nice. Just not much of a view besides the surrounding buildings.
There’s also a business center with 2 older iMacs and an HP printer. I used one of these to print my Spirit boarding pass.
The hallways kept the brighter color pallet on the carpet with neutral walls.
We were given a room near the elevator on the 5th floor. As the room was only somewhere for me to crash for one night and for Sharon to stay before heading out to shows on Sunday, we didn’t care.
As far as hotel rooms are concerned, this was on the smaller side. But I’ve seen much smaller rooms in NYC. If you’re only staying for a few nights, it’s fine. But if you’re staying for a while, this could feel cramped.
We were in a room with a king-size bed. There was room for nightstands on both sides of the bed but it was a tight fit getting into the bed on the side with the air conditioner.
We also had a desk with an office chair and several drawers to hold clothes. You know, everything you used to have in a hotel room. The television wasn’t huge but at least it was aligned with the bed for proper viewing. The cabinet had a refrigerator and coffee maker with a microwave on top.
There was a closet next to the bed if you needed to hang clothes or wanted a place to put your jacket besides leaving it on the back of the office chair.
The bathroom was spartan but functional. I’m not a fan of the 1/2 glass shower but we weren’t staying here for long so I made due. At least the toilet wasn’t in the shower.
The Elephant in the Room
I can’t write a review about this hotel without mentioning the neighborhood. The hotel says that you’re staying on the “Trendy Lower East Side.” I’m going to tell you that as people who grew up in the NY Tri-State area, the neighborhood gives off a sketchy vibe.
When our subway train was delayed to a medical emergency, we were diverted to a station several blocks away which meant we needed to walk several blocks to our hotel at midnight instead of getting off at a station 1 block from the hotel.
While we were surrounded by people walking their dogs or groups walking home from dinner, we both had our senses on high. It might be a New York thing, but you just know when it’s best to keep total awareness of your surroundings. This was confirmed when was discovered our hotel had a nighttime security guard at the door when we returned.
If you’re a tourist in New York and are not familiar with the city, I can’t recommend staying here. There are plenty of other neighborhoods to stay in that are closer to the sights and won’t make you feel uncomfortable walking back to your hotel after dark.
While the hotel itself was fine, there are just too many negatives for us to stay there again.
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This is the kind info that’s good know. Thx.
At night things may seem a little sketchy, but that is a solid SoHo neighborhood. SoHo is considered a very desirable area to live. Katz’s Deli, the Tenement Museum, Chinatown, are all within a few short blocks from this Holiday Inn. My mother’s childhood home was in Alphabet City which is also a short walk from this HI. Alphabet City is another desirable area to live because it is quiet, and doesn’t feel like Manhattan.
As a person who grew up in New Jersey, I wasn’t scared while staying there. But for those who are visiting NYC for the first time, I couldn’t recommend the hotel or the neighborhood. Besides the general vibe, there’s a lack of things that a tourist may need, like a drugstore or somewhere to eat. Since it’s more of a neighborhood, those places have normal operating hours and might not be close by.
I recently redeemed IHG points in Manhattan and it is nigh on impossible! I had rooms from 210,000 points to a minimum of 71,000 points per night. Even the HI in midtown were at ridiculous redemption rates so I understand why you went with that location. And on many nights I wasn’t even able to find a points available property. So much for the trite “thank you for your loyalty” that rolls off everyones tongue!! Most neighbourhoods feel a little sketchy at the moment although I am not sure if they are or the media is making as feel like they are although one’s perception is ones reality! Thanks for the article.
Well, it’s only two blocks from the Delancey St · Essex St subway station. A quick trip to the tourist district. I can see your point if your first trip to NYC, but at 40K points a good deal for a returning traveler.
We had a similar neighborhood analysis in CapeTown, South Africa which is a great city to visit. We just took ubers door to door — problem solved. We have considered this hotel–last time we stayed at Radisson accross from Radio City. We will likely stay at the IHG next time and uber. Our NYC friends also say no problem–that it is a good neighborhood.
I was actually able to stay at the InterContinental – Times Square on a Thursday night back in August using my legacy IHG card certificate. The stay was great, especially the Diamond Elite breakfast!