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Opera house, movie theater, nightclub; the building at 436 East 149th Street in the Bronx (which turns 100 years old on August 30th) has lived through many incarnations. It can now add boutique hotel to that list.
Earlier this month the 60-room Opera House Hotel, run by the Empire Hotel Group,opened in the South Bronx and, for budget-minder visitors to the city, it's a pretty good deal.
We've mentioned how expensive hotel rooms can get, especially in Moscow. Where luxury hotels like the Ritz-Carlton can fetch upwards of $17,000 per night for a super flashy suite, it makes sense for an affordable hotel to come to the city center and give options to the masses. Enter, Sleepbox Hotel Moscow, the city's first capsule-style accommodation.
It's not the first Russian capsule hotel, but it is the first in the high-priced city. Sleepbox opened up it's first trial capsules in Moscow Airport ready for long layovers and weary travelers. Now, the boxes have come downtown to one of Moscow's most vibrant areas forming a hostel-like hotel of multiple pods.
Opened last month, the Sleepboxes offers small 'semi-self-contained' boxes that come in various sizes from single, twin, double and a family right in the heart of the Tverskoy District. Each 'room' comes with a TV, free WiFi and unlimited use of the hotel's iPads.
Starting rates of 2,600 Rubles ($86 USD) per night for a twin capsule with bunkbeds is affordable enough for those that are backpacking through the region or even hipster travelers that want a new experience on a dime. If you're traveling with a family and need to reserve some Rubles, the family capsule goes for 4,900 Rubles ($162 USD) per night.
The area is known for a wealth of history, so this place might be the best option for you and your Comrades if you would rather spend your money at the Bolshoi Theatre or other neighborhood culture. And if Sleepbox hopping is your thing, the airport is only 35 minutes from the main train station just a few blocks away.
[Photo: Sleepbox Moscow Facebook]
With plenty of subway lines still down in NYC, we decided to take a ride around Brooklyn yesterday afternoon on our bike. Lo and behold, cruising down a small side street in Greenpoint, what do we find, but an adorable little boutique hotel tucked away under the Pulaski Bridge, the northernmost section of Brooklyn.
Though we've never heard of it, the Box House Hotel has in fact been open for a year and a half, and is just now starting to get some attention. For starters: the shout-out they got in this weekend's travel section of the NY Times. The Brooklyn hotel scene, says the Times, is blowing up, with certain places (ahem, King & Grove Williamsburg) charging about as much as the average Manhattan hotel.
Our first question, therefore, was how much does a standard room here go for during the off-peak: $159/night. Not bad!
So what's it like inside?
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There's tons of New York hotel news flying around this week and we don't have time to give each and every story the love and attention it may deserve, so you will have to settle for some news briefs.
· Times Square Just Can't Get Enough Hotels: The previous statement happens to be very true this week, as both stranded travelers and commuters have become desperate for a place to stay in midtown. But in this case, we're not talking about Sandy at all—a new $2 billion project going up at 701 Seventh Avenue is making headlines this week as the next big thing to hit Times Square. And as The Real Deal reports, the development will almost definitely include a 500-room hotel that will sit on top of a 24,000 sq ft LED screen, the largest in Times Square.
Needless to say, hotels are falling over themselves to be chosen for the space.
Looking for a cheap new place to stay in NYC? You might want to take a look at newcomer Tribeca Blu, which opened back in May and has slowly been building itself up as a basic, convenient option for folks needing lodging near Soho, Tribeca, Chinatown, or any other of Manhattan's trendy downtown nabes.
The hotel's amenities are what we'd call..."limited." No restaurant, no bar, no business center, no refrigerators, no fitness center. But the one perk TB does have going for it is low rates—and for many cash-strapped travelers, that's a big perk.
We logged onto the website this morning and found rates of just $169.15 (WiFi included). For that kind of money, who needs room service?
Since the beginning, we've been keeping track of the vibrant hotel scene in New York—where to get killer views of Central Park, where the best rooftop bars are, and how to save money by staying in outer borough places like Brooklyn and Queens.
But until now, we've heard very little from that other NYC borough: the Bronx. A real estate developer has been busy working on a new 61-room hotel with kind of a cool historical background: the building originally opened as the Bronx Opera House in 1913, and hosted acts like Harry Houdini, George Burns and the Marx Brothers over the years.
The NY Daily News reports that now, the 1,920-seat auditorium, which has alternately been re-incarnated as a movie theater and then a Latin nightclub in the 60s and 70s, will find new life hosting visitors to Yankee Stadium and European travelers looking to save a buck (or a few hundred) on a hotel.
Orchestra seats in ye olden days used to go for just $1.50 (you can't even get WiFi for that little!). And though this place will be way more affordable than other similar places in Manhattan, you can bet rates have gone up since the 1910s.
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Here's a tale that's sure to warm your hearts on this dreary Friday morning, and then perhaps make you a little jealous: a New England couple that's been married for 60 years just celebrated their anniversary at the Waldorf-Astoria, the same place they spent their wedding night in 1952. The price they paid back then? $16.80. The price they'll pay this weekend on their anniversary visit? $16.80.
Apparently, old lady Waldorf has a policy of charging only the original room rate for returning guests who are celebrating a special event. According to the NY Daily News, who wrote Wednesday's piece on the New England couple, about two or three couples make use of the perk every year.
Which tells us there must be plenty of happily married couples out there who have a super cheap stay waiting for them at the Waldorf-Astoria, and who aren't making use of it. But we know someone who might be interested in taking the reservation off their hands...(us!)
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Though we had these five hotels originally on our radar for 11/11/11, we thought it would be helpful to throw in some more options. Most hotels seem to be having fun with the lucky date—and if they're having fun, you may as well have fun too.
Like the sale going on at Sonesta Maho Beach Resort & Casino and Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort & Casino for $111-per-night rooms. The deal only lasts from today through Sunday, and requires a two-night minimum, though you've got until December 29 to stay there. Which leaves us plenty of time for dancing around skulls in LA. Rate code: 1111
It's a scenario most New Yorkers would only dream of: stumbling upon a historic hotel built in 1909 that's still in good condition, and then learning you can stay there for free. For three nights! The New York Times picked up a story this weekend about the Bossert Hotel, which is allowing certain guests that exact privilege.
Unfortunately, the hotel, located near the Brooklyn Bridge, is only targeting Jehovah's Witnesses who have done international missionary work and need a place to stay. D'oh! You didn't think it would be that easy, did you?
According to the article, prospective
freeloaders guests must submit an application, and, if accepted, be willing to integrate into the Brooklyn Jehovah's Witnesses' community—the group's world headquarters lies only a few blocks from the hotel.
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It isn't easy, but there are ways to navigate the twisting, poorly-lit labyrinth that is the Bowery House Hotel. Just walk very carefully and slowly, remaining aware that any of these doors could fly open at any moment, knocking you off your weary feet and into another person's cabin. Also, shine your smartphone for additional light. It helps.
To call the cabins at the hotel 'compact' would be an understatement. But for all of its 'personal space' issues, this place also has a ton of charm. Dorm-style "bunk rooms" are available for people traveling in groups (same-sex only), but the real winners are the "original cabins." Once you've imprinted the floor layout into your mind, all that's left to enjoy is the tiny, dollhouse-like room, which barely fits a bed, dresser, and some (minimal) luggage. See below for photos from inside!
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It isn't often that a hotel lets you have a say in the price of your stay. But that's exactly what Victoria BC's Hotel Grand Pacific is offering for the next two weeks. Running through next Friday November 11, prospective guests can visit the PayWhatYouWantVictoria site, answer some survey questions, and enter a price that they feel best reflects the "worth" of a one-night stay at the waterfront hotel.
When we first heard about this, we immediately thought of when Radiohead released In Rainbows in 2007, becoming the first band to ever release a digital album without an actual price—customers chose how much they wanted to pay, and that was that. By doing so, the band was challenging the conventional record distribution process, and the aging music industry in general. But in this case, the motives are a little more complex.
We recommended the FItzpatrick Grand Central back in 2008 for its warm, Irish flavor (it comes with a built-in Irish pub!), Wi-Fi, and general bang-for-your-buck service. Now, two long years, plus $3.5 million in renovation costs later, the hotel is finally ready to show off its new digs.
Owners have worked on freshening up the old lady with warmer lighting, new artwork, and a re-arranged lobby that completely does away with the Reception counter (who needs it?). Instead, upon arrival, guests are greeted at the door, invited to plop down in front of a "large desk" (pictured), and converse with a hotel staff member in a more personal setting. You know, true Irish style—a glass of Jameson, a bowl of Lucky Charms, and a shower of four-leaf clovers.