New York City Hotels

Where to stay in New York City – The Nolitan Hotel

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Plagued by jetlag the first day in New York after our summer in Berlin, I laid half awake and watched the black sky turn pink as the sun rose over the Chinese produce shop across the street from our hotel, the Nolitan.

Next to me, Dani was deep asleep on our cloud of a bed, cuddled up against the soft white pillows. This was just what we had both planned after our 29 hour door-to-door journey the day before, but here I was, wasting all that comfort, laying awake and frustrated.

As soon as it was light enough, I hopped up and grabbed the red foam Nolitan yoga mat and spent an hour doing sunrise yoga, getting energized for our first full day back in New York.

The Nolitan Hotel New York CityThe Nolitan is a boutique hotel without being precious, for better or worse. The building itself is stylish, with a mix of raw concrete ceilings and wooden floors, and the dark, sleek facade gives it serious presence on a corner on Kenmare Street in Nolita, or the area ‘North of Little Italy’. Just a five-minute walk to two subway stations, Kenmare is also the feeder street to the Williamsburg Bridge, which leads right over to the trendiest of Brooklyn’s neighborhoods.

Here in Nolita, you have a great neighborhood vibe in lower Manhattan without any of the tourist trap experience you might get with a stay in Midtown or Times Square.

Nolita Neighborhood from Nolitan Hotel

The Room

The rooms have a minimalist design with an open feel and a glass shower just next to the bed. The vanity area (sink/towels/mirror) was also open, but The toilet was in its own very private room, with a European-style wall flush. Nolitan-branded toiletries are of excellent quality, and I jumped right into the bathrobe and slippers each night after my shower. A typical minibar with drinks is in the small fridge in the closet with the yoga mat, robes and ironing board/iron. A second box of goodies with chocolate, nuts and a ‘lover’s box’ was on the bottom shelf of one of nightstands, which also had glasses for drinks.

The Nolitan Hotel ManhattanWe had a 6th floor balcony room which opened out onto Kenmare St. As the sun rose, the crescendo of sounds of the urban jungle rose with it and by 8am delivery truck doors were slamming, the occasional car was honking and a the staccato of the motorcycle mufflers as they thundered by. Any later than that in the room, and guests would be wasting their time in New York City anyway, and this urban soundtrack wasn’t an issue for us at all.

The Amenities 

Extras were thoughtful, if sparse, though we would have appreciated a coffeemaker in the room nor did we see coffee down in the lobby in the mornings, either. We had a folder jam-packed with restaurant menus to order in despite the onsite Cantine Parisienne restaurant, and there was no mention in the folder or from the front desk that breakfast was included and served at Cantine in the mornings.

The Nolitan Hotel and Cantine ParisienneWe loved the two-hour champagne and canapé reception each evening in the lobby, and always tried to stop back in for an afternoon rest. We read, ate cheese and fruit plates and Dani sipped champagne on the leather couch nooks. The sunken floor and tall bookcases give this area a fun, classic library feel.

The Nolitan Hotel LobbyThe Nolitan has bicycles available for guests, free of charge, and although we would have expected two solid city cruisers, we loved hopping on our shoddy hipster bikes and speeding across Manhattan each day during our stay. It felt great to avoid the subway, even if Dani had to do so entirely in first gear – we’ll take advantage of anything that makes us feel even more like local New Yorkers! We also could have taken out their two skateboards, but our attempt at skateboarding just out in front of the hotel was a mess. If the bikes are already taken, The Nolitan also has two annual passes for the new citibike bike-sharing system as well.

The Nolitan Hotel Dani Skateboarding

Highlight – The Rooftop

The hotel rooftop is the gem in this hotel’s crown. With views far and wide, standing up on the rooftop puts you right in the heart of the city. There are views all the way to the Chrysler building and the Empire State building. We stopped up at noon and could have stayed until the lights of the city began to sparkle, but alas we had to catch a flight.

The Nolitan Hotel Rooftop

Room for improvement – Communication

The Nolitan has loads of neat extras included in the room rate – the problem was finding out about them. Missing out on a sunset up on the roof was really a shame, there was the breakfast we didn’t know about, plus use of iPads and available daily passes to a nearby 24-Hour Fitness we only found out about later which would have been great with our health kick.

The Nolitan Hotel

Room for improvement – Weak Wi-Fi

A sight warning to digital nomads and business travelers, the wi-fi signal was weak in our 6th floor room, not sure if other floors had the same issue. Bring an extender if you’re looking to do internet-heavy work or any streaming.

The Nolitan – Overall Experience 

With those sexy city views, a great location, its young vibe and enough extras to entertain everyone from skateboarding yogis to cycling suits, The Nolitan has the potential to offer a truly quintessential New York experience.

The Nolitan Hotel in New York City

The Details

Location: 30 Kenmare Street | New York, NY 10012
Price: Special offers starting at $269 per double room
LGBT Friendly: Yes
Digital Nomad Friendly: As long as your room is near a wi-fi router, yes.
Amenities: Complimentary wine and cheese reception in the afternoon, rooftop terrace, free breakfast in the morning, yoga mats in each room, fitness passes for 24hour Fitness available, iPod docking stations, complimentary newspapers, Cantine Parisienne restaurant on the ground floor, wi-fi included, bicycles and skateboards free for rent, laptops and iPads available for rent, 1pm checkout
The Nolitan Hotel NYC

You can book the Nolitan Hotel via


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Hotel Tip of the Week: The Library Hotel | Manhattan, NYC

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Getting right to the point – if we had to choose our favorite New York City hotel, it would be the Library Hotel. Taking its inspiration from the iconic New York public library just one block down the road, this hotel executes its library theme perfectly. The design is based on the Dewey Decimal System,with each floor a different category (Social Sciences, Languages, Philosophy) and each room a different subject within that category. We were located in the Law Room, a corner suite on the Social Sciences floor. So many legal tomes lined shelves and were stacked  on tables and the nightstand that had we booked a few more nights here, we may have checked out ready to pass the bar exam.

library hotel new york city booksA Manhattan monsoon pounded down during our stay, and so I spent much of the evening perched at the window, thumbing through law books and peering out at the picturesque yellow cabs whizzing by on Madison Avenue below as if this were a moving painting hung on my wall at home. The next morning, the image changed again, as thousands of walking suits gripping coffee cups dodged delivery men, school children and the usual smattering of New York crazies as they filed in to the surrounding skyscrapers.

library hotel new york citySet within a slim midtown building, rooms at the The Library vary in size from tiny to small, with some so small they only sell as a single. With limited room space located on prime real estate, rates here are not cheap, and guests are paying as much for convincing style as they are for comfort and location. The over 6,000 used books rescued from a nearby used bookstore (not the library, as you might think) fill the sixty rooms on ten levels as well as the massive bookcases in the Reading Room where both breakfast and the nightly wine & champagne reception takes place.

library hotel new york city guest roomAs with all hotels in the Library Hotel Collection, The Library offers a lavish free continental breakfast every morning and a three-hour wine & cheese reception in the evening with cheese, crackers, breads, olives, fresh vegetables, nuts and red, white and sparkling wines, plus tea and coffee. Snacks and drinks are also available here 24 hours a day, as is the free wi-fi throughout the hotel. Guests at the Library also receive free daily passes to nearby New York Sports Clubs.

library hotel new york city breakfast and evening receptionStand Out Feature at The Library Hotel: Public Spaces

Obviously, space here is limited, and the Reading Room offers a wonderful spot to spend time. There are hundreds of books and newspapers available, and a wall of windows with great views below. Just down the hall from this relaxing room is the best hotel business room we have ever seen. In fact, the room looks exactly like an office. This fully-functioning space has two desktop computers at spacious elbow-shaped desk, a quality printer, telephones, pens, paper and even paperclips. Upstairs on the top floor, the Writer’s Den and the indoor/outdoor bar, Bookmarks Lounge, are quiet and comfortable, while the outdoor Poetry Garden offers a contemplative space, perhaps to reflect upon all the knowledge gained either by reading or inevitably by osmosis.

library hotel new york city poetry gardenStand Out Feature at The Library Hotel: Location

The public library, Grand Central Station, Bryant Park, the Garment District, Times Square, the MoMA and many more museums, restaurants and nightspots are within easy walking distance of the Library Hotel, including Madison & Vine, one of Midtown’s most popular restaurants,  located directly in the hotel’s ground floor. If you are in New York for shopping, Bergdorf Goodman, Bloomingdale’s, Barney’s New York and many other boutiques and department stores are conveniently located right on Madison Avenue.

library hotel madison & vine restaurantRoom for Improvement: ….this has never happened before…

As much a blessing as a curse, the two of us can be pretty critical when it comes to hotels, after all we stay in enough of them! Even at the best of places we can usually pick apart a couple of threads to expose some room for improvement. Not here. No matter how hard we tried, there is nothing that we can realistically recommend for improvement at the Library Hotel. Sure, rates are high and rooms are small, but that is price you pay for the best location in the best city in the world.  But service here is impeccable, the theme is perfectly executed, and they really have thought of everything. The hotel caters as much to business travelers as to new brides (check out this Tripadvisor review of Honeymooning at the Library Hotel), and everyone else in between.

library hotel new york city hk hotels

Location: 299 Madison Avenue at 41st Street, New York, NY, 10017
Price: starting at $200
LGBT Friendly:
Yes, this hotel is everyone-friendly.
rooftop terrace, restaurant on-site, complimentary wine & cheese reception, extensive book & DVD library, free wi-fi, gym pass for nearby fitness club, breakfast included.

Like this hotel? Book it on here.

Some other Hotel Tip of the Week articles you might enjoy:

1. Casa Valeria | Samara Beach, Costa Rica (budget beach hotel)
2. Belmonte Vacanze | Tuscany, Italy (moderate-range, Tuscan farm holiday)
3. The Orlando | Los Angeles (stylish West Hollywood boutique hotel)

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Hotel Tip Of The Week: Hotel Casablanca in Manhattan, NYC

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Welcome to our Hotel Tip of The Week series. Being on the road every day of the year means we stay in countless hotels, and at over 500 days as nomads, we have stayed some of the best (and worst) accommodation the world has to offer. We cover everything from budget to luxury accommodation, and believe that any hotel worth recommending must be comfortable and clean, offer good value for money and treat people as guests, not clients. We have personally stayed in every hotel we recommend to you here on

With our feet up and a glass of wine in our hotel room after a long New York City day, Dani and I spotted the flashing lights from the world famous Broadway & 7th reflecting in the windows of surrounding skyscrapers and were pleased at the feeling of being in the center of it all. We loved so many aspects of the Times Square hotel, but staying at Hotel Casablanca is truly all about the location.hotel casablanca new york cityThis Moroccan-themed hotel was the third of four HK Hotels we stayed in while in New York City, and as with all hotels in this boutique hotel group, the attention to detail and customer service are par excellence. Although we were just steps from the heart of New York, the African feeling feeling inside stretched from the rooms through the spacious sitting room and lounge: dark, rich brown and orange colors mingle with bronze lion statues, peacock feathers, exotic potted plants and beautiful tiles decorating ornate columns.

The second floor lounge is where the lavish daily continental breakfast and nightly three-hour champagne evening reception are held, plus nibbles, coffee and tea are available here 24 hours a day. This excellent service is offered across all four HKHotels, but there was one further detail that really impressed us: the coffee bar. It was a sweltering 90 degrees during our time in New York, and the hotel had step-by-step directions for do-it-yourself iced coffee available, including large plastic takeaway cups and plenty of ice  to keep us caffeinated, even in the heat. All of this – the breakfast, the evening reception and the takeaway coffees, is included in the price, as is the high speed wi-fi.hotel casablanca roomThe rooms themselves are not large, which is not surprising considering the central Manhattan location, but between the comfortable beds, iPod docks, large flat screen TVs with DVD players and DVD library at the reception and a large bathroom, we felt more than at home.

hotel casablanca new york city bathroom

Stand Out Feature: Location, location, location

Hotel Casablanca is located around the corner from Times Square and within walking distance to the Empire State Building, the theater district on Broadway and of course countless restaurants, bars and things to do in New York City. In fact, book now for New Year’s Eve 2012 (this year is already nearly booked, but there are more neat hotels in NYC to choose from), and watch the fireworks and the ball drop from the comfort of Hotel Casablanca’s roof!

hotel casablanca new york city terrace

Room for Improvement: Air Conditioning

As most older buildings in Manhattan, Casablanca has window air conditioning units rather than central air conditioning, and these machines were too loud for us to leave on and comfortably watch TV. Luckily it had cooled off quite a bit in the evenings, but this could have been frustrating for us. For those who are less noise sensitive, this may not have mattered at all.


Hotel Casablanca is an oasis of calm in the heart of New York City, especially if you are in town for a Broadway show or just looking to dive right in to the hustle and bustle of Times Square.

hotel casablanca new york city loungeLocation: 147 West 43rd Street, New York, NY 10036
Starting at $224 per night 
LGBT Friendly:
Digital Nomad Friendly:
DVD players in every room & DVD library, free wi-fi, complimentary wine & cheese in the afternoon, breakfast included, free gym passes, 24 hours complimentary snacks & coffee, gratis newspapers.

Like this hotel? Book it here.

Although we received complimentary accommodation, the opinions expressed here are strictly our own.

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Hotel Tip of the Week: Hotel Giraffe | Lower Manhattan, NYC

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Welcome to our Hotel Tip of The Week series. Being on the road every day of the year means we stay in countless hotels, and at over 500 days as nomads, we have stayed some of the best (and worst) accommodation the world has to offer. We cover everything from budget to luxury accommodation, and believe that any hotel worth recommending must be comfortable and clean, offer good value for money and treat people as guests, not clients. We have personally stayed in every hotel we recommend to you here on

The late afternoon summer sunlight layers over the beige couches in the lobby and a warm glow fills the room – a tremendous feat considering the hotel is surrounded on all sides by the mountains of steel that make Manhattan. Diligently re-filling glass after glass of champagne, our server weaves around the grand piano as we nibble on a selection of cheeses, fruits and pastries, enjoying the three hour daily wine & cheese reception which happens nightly here at Hotel Giraffe. Light music plays in the background as most families and couples laugh and relax after a day of sightseeing, or shopping, or both. Dani and I are, of course, on our laptops working, and appreciate the nice touch of wine and cheese to help us with our motivation.

Hotel Giraffe New York City Cheese & Wine reception

Wi-fi is available throughout the hotel, so we could easily work from our room, but we enjoy the vibe down here. Unlike most luxury hotels, Hotel Giraffe (indeed all four boutique hotels in the HKHotels collection) offers the three-hour evening reception and a full continental breakfast (bagels, cheese, yoghurt, jam, honey, cereal, oatmeal, teas, coffees) in an open space where guests also mingle without any sort of forced awkwardness at all.

Our room is on the 10th floor, where the long marble desk and comfortable chair certainly serve as a good work station. However, we find it hard to get work done with the 40-inch flat screen TV on a swivel tray pointed at the queen-size dream of a bed. We spend the few hours we do have using the room as a cinema, not for work.

hotel giraffe new york city room

Upon entering the room, attention is instantly drawn to the sweeping red drapes covering the 10-foot floor to ceiling windows, which have French glass doors that open grandly out onto a fair-sized Juliet balcony overlooking Park Avenue. It’s just enough to stand out and take in the sounds and smells midnight or morning in Manhattan, but high enough up to remain an anonymous observer of New York life.

Close the doors, and nothing is heard of the noise below. Back in the room, black and white photographs decorate the platinum wall coverings so that a bit a glamor is felt no matter where we look.

Hotel Giraffe Room & BalconyRelaxing outdoor space in Manhattan is hard to come by, which is why we appreciated the peaceful Rooftop Garden upstairs on the top level. Look out for the giant giraffe, perhaps the hotel’s namesake, up here in this airy space perfect for enjoying a drink or a coffee. We didn’t get the chance to sample the Bread & Tulips Italian restaurant upstairs, however, but the food that we saw looked delicious.

hotel giraffe rooftop new york city

Stand Out Feature: Room size

With only seven rooms on each floor, Hotel Giraffe was designed to maximize room space for guests. We immediately felt how spacious the room was compared to other NYC hotels and appreciated it not only inside but the extension of the space out onto the balcony.

Even the bathroom, which is across from the main door,  is spacious and adequate, with plenty of towels and soaps, a hair dryer and plenty of little extras to make sure we had everything we needed.

hotel giraffe bathroom new york city

Room for Improvement: Public spaces

On the flip side, the public spaces at Hotel Giraffe are very limited. For example, printing is only possible from a communal laptop placed casually on one of the lobby tables, and there is often a wait to use it. Additionally, while we adore the lavish evening reception and breakfast, it felt a bit odd to have it right down in the lobby, grand or not. This is our personal opinion though, and other guests might not feel the same way about it.

Overall, however, the Hotel Giraffe offers guests just the right mix of glamor and practicality for a very comfortable, relaxed stay in a super location in Lower Manhattan.

hotel giraffe lobby & breakfast new york city

Location: 365 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10016
Starting at $239 per night.
LGBT Friendly:
Digital Nomad Friendly:
Free wi-fi, complimentary hors d’oeuvre in the afternoon, breakfast included, free gym passes.

Like this hotel? Book it here.

Although we received complimentary accommodation, the opinions expressed here are strictly our own.

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Hotel Tip of The Week: Hotel Elysée | New York City

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Welcome to our Hotel Tip of The Week series. Being on the road every day of the year means we stay in countless hotels, and at over 500 days as nomads, we have stayed some of the best (and worst) accommodation the world has to offer. We cover everything from budget to luxury accommodation, and believe that any hotel worth recommending must be clean and comfortable, offer good value for money and treat people as guests, not clients. We have personally stayed in every hotel we recommend to you here on

We emerged out of the subway with two uncharacteristically heavy bags prepared for a possible long slog, but lucky for us, the Hotel Elysée is perfectly located between Park Avenue and 5th Avenue in the heart of Midtown Manhattan (the Museum of Modern Art, Central Park and the Rockefeller Center are within walking distance). Although the building doesn’t look like much from outside, the minute we passed under the Elysée awning and into the lobby we were instantly enveloped by Parisian charm, and despite a distinct lack of a French accent, the front desk staff were equally charming and made our comfort their ultimate priority – who doesn’t love that!

hallway & sofas elysee hotel new york city

We stayed in one of the hotel’s eleven suites, which had a full living room, an office area and a private bedroom with en-suite bath. The antique European furniture and decor throughout the room (and the hotel) made us feel as though we had a Parisian pied-à-terre. In fact, looking out the window in the morning, we almost expected to see the shops along the Champs-Elysées in Paris, not the skyscrapers of Manhattan. While it could be presumed to be pretentious, this Parisian hideaway is actually friendly, laid-back and has a super varied clientele. We saw luxury retirees mix with young couples, families and even backpackers during the evening reception.

room hotel elysee new york

All 86 bedrooms come with down blankets, 100% Egyptian cotton linen, flat screen TVs, DVD players and MP3 docks, while the gorgeous marble bathrooms come with signature bathrobes, slippers and Gilchrist and Soames toiletries. In our suite, the living room had a comfortable couch, sitting chairs, a second, large flat screen TV, a phone and several lamps for perfect lighting. Guests receive complimentary bottled water and a bar of chocolate from Leonidas chocolate shop (just up the road) upon arrival. In the morning, I grabbed my free gym pass got in a good workout at the nearby gym while Dani got some morning shots of NYC.

bedroom hotel elysee new york

As with all four HKHotels, Hotel Elysée offers a lavish free breakfast spread each morning with bagels, rolls, cheese, hard-boiled eggs, fruits, yoghurt, cereal, tea, coffee, milk and juice, plus the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and other magazines and newspapers to read. From Monday through Saturday, the hotels offer a three hour complimentary cheese and wine evening reception. At the Elysee this is held in the Club Room, and includes delicious nibbles, the Prosecco is cold, and because the reception lasts three hours, we never felt like we had to race back to the hotel to take advantage of this great little snack time. In fact, coffee and tea, water and snacks are available 24 hours, so we were able to grab a small bite to eat no matter what time we were up working or getting home from a night out.

hotel elysee breakfast & snacks

The free wi-fi throughout the hotel works like a dream. Hotel Elysée is not a business hotel, but we were able to get plenty of work done here in addition to some major relaxing.

Stand Out Feature: The Club Room

Whether its a luxury hotel room or a budget dive, we don’t spend much time inn our hotel rooms, and almost never in a hotel’s public spaces, but we were so drawn to the Club Room at the Elysée that the first thing we did after discovering it was grab a cup of strong coffee and read the newspaper for nearly an hour. The Elysée’s Club Room, which serves as the breakfast and wine and cheese reception area each day, is such a comfortable and relaxing space that guests are reading or working here nearly all hours of the day on the cozy red velvet cushions. In addition to the newspapers and magazines made available each day, there is an adjacent library room with a great book selection, plus a piano and computer, all free for guest use.

hotel elysee club room new york

Stand Out Feature: Value for Money

What is so excellent about Hotel Elysée is that when you lock into your room rate, there is no up-sale. Everything else is included in the price: the breakfast, the wi-fi, evening reception and the coffee, and you can have as much as you’d like (within reason). The further up the luxury accommodation ladder we climb, it seems, the less that comes included in the price. A guest house in Costa Rica or a B&B in Scotland will include breakfast, all day coffee, free wi-fi and water in the price of the room, whereas an international hotel chain we recently frequented charged $6 for a bottle of water and did not provide in-room wi-fi. Hotel Elysée is the perfect combination of luxury and welcome. It has been a long time since we have felt so much like guests in a four-star hotel (rather than constant deflection of the over-price up-sell) – a testament to the great policies in place at the Hotel Elysée.

hotel elysee breakfast & snacks new york city

Room for improvement: Variety of foods at the evening reception

Yes, we are fishing for something to include here, as there was almost nothing we would suggest for improvement. Each night, the evening reception has exactly the same cheese and hors d’oeuvre available, but after a few nights as a guest, a little variety would be appreciated. That’s it.

Overall, Hotel Elysée is a comfortable yet elegant, luxurious and welcoming Midtown Manhattan hotel offering some of the best value for money accommodation available in New York.

hotel elysee new york bed

Location: 60 East 54th Street, New York, NY, 10022
Starting at $225 per night. Book online in advance for the best deals.
LGBT Friendly:
Digital Nomad Friendly:
Free wi-fi, complimentary hors d’oeuvre in the afternoon, breakfast included, free gym passes.

Like this hotel? Book it here.

Although we received complimentary accommodation, the opinions expressed here are strictly our own.

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