New York City is known for its famous and expensive hotels. A trip to NYC, even a 48 hour stay, can set you back hundreds of dollars. But, did you know there are other options? There are thousands of NYC-area Courchsurfing hosts to choose from that will cost you nothing (although I’m a big fan of gifts for hosts). Airbnb is another awesome option, especially if you’re traveling with a group or as a couple. Of course, there are even a few hostel options. One of the largest hostels in North America is located in NYC. Hostelling International, or HI NYC is located in a historic Victorian Gothic-style brick building on the Upper West Side between Columbia University and Central Park. The massive hostel can sleep up to 672 people. The basement level of the building contains the check-in and information desks that are open 24/7, perfect for those who have late night flights into the city like I did. After receiving your keycard for your dorm room, you then have to swipe your card to cross into the common and sleeping area. There is plenty of common room space decorated with an international flare and a small cafe open during daytime hours.
The hostel offers various types of rooms and packages ranging from private rooms to small dorm rooms to the large dorm rooms. There are two different packages: the economy with no frills and the premium that includes shower slippers and a continental breakfast. The hostel has single sex or co-ed dorms with 4, 6, 8, 10, or 12 beds. The more beds the cheaper the price will be. A bed in a female 4 person dorm room with the premium package costs $69 a night. The cheapest option is the 12 person dorm economy package for $57.99 a night (and sometimes even as low as $49/night). Since this hostel is run by Hostelling International you do need to be a member to get the cheapest option or non-members can pay an additional $3.00 a night. An international adult HI membership costs $28 a year and is worth the investment if you plan to stay multiple nights a year in a HI-branded hostel. The membership comes with several benefits including a free night coupon, which I used during my stay at HI NYC. I saved myself about $60 with that coupon! Because I’m cheap, I chose to stay in the 12 person female dorm room. The dorm rooms aren’t bad, but they definitely aren’t amongst some of the best hostels that I have stayed in during my travels. The bunk beds were stable and the mattresses weren’t terrible. The hostel provides you with a set of fresh sheets, blanket, and a decent pillow. Each bunk has an assigned locker next to it for your belongings. Just bring your own lock. The lockers aren’t huge so if you’re traveling with a large suitcase you need to slide it under your bed.
My bed was located right next to the window. I did enjoy the nice fresh breeze from the open window, but the noise of the NYC streets did keep me awake for a while. I’m just not used to a lot of noise since I don’t live in a city. The hostel itself seemed rather quiet and the girls in my room kept mostly to themselves. The hostel does offer free activities everyday so check the calendar for daily activities if you’re looking to my friends and see NYC. Overall, I think HI NYC is average. If you’re in NYC and looking for a budget option then I would recommend considering HI NYC Hostel. The cafe food was good and relatively inexpensive. The beds were comfortable and clean for hostel standards. The bathrooms were clean as well. The location wasn’t too bad but a bit off the beaten path if you’re looking to stay closer to downtown Manhattan. At least NYC has an extensive public transportation system that will get you just about anywhere you want to go.
HI NYC Hostel Quick Facts
- Location: 891 Amsterdam Avenue, NYC
- Room Types: Private to dorm rooms (4, 6, 8, 10, or 12 person options)
- Costs: As low as $49/night up to about $70/night
- Hostel has a full kitchen, laundry, and game room
- Cafe with breakfast and lunch menus is open daily
- Free wifi
- Check-in time begins at 4pm, but hostel is open 24/7
- Located near several subway lines