I rarely hang out near Penn Station when I travel to New York but given how much I’ve been going to New York lately, it shouldn’t be a surprise that I’d find a hotel I hadn’t tried yet and an event would have me stay on the west side. In this case, it turned out in the end that while I thought my pow-wow’s and events would be on the west side, they all ended up being in mid-town and on the upper east side…..after I had made my reservation with Affinia.
The nice thing about Affinia is that they have a property on the east side as well, something else I didn’t discover until after my stay. The properties however are in fact different and while I didn’t check out the East Side property, my sense is that the Penn Station location is slightly older in feel and not quite as updated. While my hotel room looked somewhat like the below shot (minus the flowers on the walls), the room felt a little “dingy” albeit clean.
For the most part, this is a common complaint of mine with most Manhattan hotels – they tend to be a little dingy and due to expensive locations, the rooms are extremely small for the price. In this case, I had an adjoining living room area with a small but very functional kitchenette, which again did not look as bright and cheery as the photo below which appears to be a little more modern and spruced up than the room I had, which if I recall, was on the 9th floor.
- The rooms with the suites, if you can get a newer more modern one like the one above, gives you tons of space to work, ideal for business trips.
- The suites also have two bathrooms, the one which extends off the living room area is massive in size.
- The lobby is kinda cool – it appears that this hotel hosts conferences so it seems like a great hotel to stay in with decent flow if you’re considering them for an event.
- Location for business – given that it’s a stone’s throw from Penn Station, it’s convenient if you’re coming in from out of town on the train or have a lot of meetings on the west side
- Online prices were decent for the location and offering.
- Staff was friendly – while things may have felt disjointed at times and not particularly responsive, the employees were friendly and made the attempt to get things right. I felt this from the maids to the concierge to the front desk reception staff, which was so not the case at my last New York mid-town experience — the Paramount, and the rooms were crammed.
- The toilets in both the bathrooms in my room were a little loose so my guess is that its not the only room where that’s the case. Things need a little sprucing up overall.
- There’s a restaurant downstairs but the wine selection was one of the poorest I have seen in awhile by the glass. Oh, and it’s separate from the hotel, so while you can book a meal on your room, the Internet doesn’t extend to the restaurant. This is key for a business hotel. And so, I had to order a take out from the restaurant and eat it in my take out bag in the lobby in order to get wifi. Not all that ideal for savvy business travelers.
- Lack of great restaurants in general. I was told by many that my pickings would be slim and to count on more pubs with TV screens (think sports bars) than anywhere you’d want to spend the evening enjoying great food and wine. But, if sports bars and fast food options are your thing, then there are tons of them in and around 7th Avenue. And like most of mid-town, you can find some Japanese and Chinese options within four blocks or so.
Overall, I’ve stayed in better 4 star properties in mid-town but the online prices when I had booked was reasonable for the offering considering the location, if you don’t want to be right in Time’s Square and mid-town west side is where you want to be.
Affinia – Manhattan
371 7th Avenue, New York, NY 10001
Closest subway: Penn Station
Renee Blodgett is the founder of We Blog the World. The site combines the magic of an online culture and travel magazine with a global blog network and has contributors from every continent in the world. Having lived in 10 countries and explored nearly 80, she is an avid traveler, and a lover, observer and participant in cultural diversity.
She is also the CEO and founder of Magic Sauce Media, a new media services consultancy focused on viral marketing, social media, branding, events and PR. For over 20 years, she has helped companies from 12 countries get traction in the market. Known for her global and organic approach to product and corporate launches, Renee practices what she pitches and as an active user of social media, she helps clients navigate digital waters from around the world. Renee has been blogging for over 16 years and regularly writes on her personal blog Down the Avenue, Huffington Post, BlogHer, We Blog the World and other sites. She was ranked #12 Social Media Influencer by Forbes Magazine and is listed as a new media influencer and game changer on various sites and books on the new media revolution. In 2013, she was listed as the 6th most influential woman in social media by Forbes Magazine on a Top 20 List.
Her passion for art, storytelling and photography led to the launch of Magic Sauce Photography, which is a visual extension of her writing, the result of which has led to producing six photo books: Galapagos Islands, London, South Africa, Rome, Urbanization and Ecuador.
Renee is also the co-founder of Traveling Geeks, an initiative that brings entrepreneurs, thought leaders, bloggers, creators, curators and influencers to other countries to share and learn from peers, governments, corporations, and the general public in order to educate, share, evaluate, and promote innovative technologies.