Da Vinci Hotel
244 W 56th St, New York
Next, you’re going to need somewhere to stay as a base while you’re exploring this wonder city. And accommodation is a seriously tough topic for visitors to New York. I learnt a few things in my few years working as a travel consultant. You need a transit visa if you want to leave the airport on your 16 hour Air China layover in Beijing. You cannot go to Phuket over Christmas holidays for $1000 per person when you’re booking in November. If you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford your holiday either. No, the $1100 per person sale fares to Los Angeles are not available with Qantas in school holidays. And a week’s worth of accommodation in New York costs a fucking fortune. This was a stress point when we were booking our trip, because at that point I was no longer working as a travel agent and no longer had access to the slightly better prices afforded to us.
I spend hours on Google, checking out endless photos and reviews before I came across the Da Vinci Hotel. Reviews weren’t horrible, nor were they amazing. It seemed a solid 3 star hotel, clean and comfortable, although the rooms were small. Fine by us; I don’t give myself credit for much, but when I travel, I’m not a princess. I don’t need enormous rooms with fluffy bathrobes and room service and all that crap. I just need a bed and a clean bathroom. And this seemed to fit the bill. And the part that seemed too good to be true? 8 nights cost us only AUD$1250.00! For real!
So, it was with a little trepidation that we gave the address to our cab driver when we arrived into New York; we pulled up at a slightly old but cute building attached to an Italian restaurant, complete with the requisite tacky Italian chef statue out the front clutching the day’s special board. Only 3 blocks from Central Park, a few minutes walk to Columbus Circle and a few metres from Broadway, first impressions on location were fantastic. We ended up walking almost everywhere during our week long stay, so 10/10 for location of Da Vinci!
As for the hotel itself, honestly, I fell in love with it within 10 minutes of being there. The staff at the front desk couldn’t have been more lovely and accommodating, checking us in quickly and running us through some of the hotel amenities:
– 24 hour front desk
– restaurant downstairs, under the ground level of the hotel, which also provided room service!
– all rooms with private bathrooms and toiletries
– bar fridges in rooms
– free WiFi
– safety deposit boxes
Our room itself was more that sufficient, particularly for the price we paid!
It was clean and small but very comfortable. We had a fantastic heating unit that kept us warm through the snowy nights, and decent sized table in the corner of the room where I took this photo from which we were able to fit both suitcases underneath, and spread our crap out on top of. The bathroom was also really clean and had enough space to move around in pretty comfortably.
The other thing we really loved was the simple complimentary breakfast spread put on each morning; we were welcome to make ourselves a cup of tea or coffee, as well as grab a muffin or pastry on our way out each morning. Better again, because I love tea and it was almost impossible to get a take away cup of tea at the end of the night (seriously, even the McDonald’s on the corner near the hotel didn’t do tea! Incredible!), the lovely ladies at the front desk were more than happy to fill the kettle and boil some water for us when we got back in at the end of the night for a cuppa. Its those little, personal touches that make ALL the difference, particularly when you’re there for a week!
But everyone knows that the most important thing in New York is to choose accommodation in a good location. Approximate walking distances from the hotel to big ticket locations are:
– 12 minutes to Rockefeller Plaza
– 28 minutes to Empire State Building
– 23 minutes to Grand Central Terminal
– 15 minutes to Central Park Zoo
– 32 minutes to Central Park’s Great Lawn
– 10 minutes to MoMa
– 33 minutes to Madison Square Park
Also, it should be known that the pizzas they’re making in the restaurant under the hotel are not only an ungodly large size (as you can see below – that’s a large) and a great price ($16.00), but surprisingly absolutely delicious!
If you’re visiting New York, do yourself a favour and consider spending a little less on fancy accommodation so you can spend more money experiencing the city! I mean, how much time do you really wanna be spending in your hotel room in a city like New York anyway?! Da Vinci was the perfect base for a week in NYC, I’d recommend it to anyone and will absolutely stay here again on my next visit!