Holiday stay in NYC? Try an apartment!

The first question we asked ourselves while considering a Christmas Holiday in NYC was this:  Can we afford to stay in the city at the busiest time of the year?  And the question remains a valid one.  In a city where real estate prices are outrageous, hotel stays can quickly wreck a travel budget.

Although we’d never experienced Airbnb, HomeAway, or any residences advertised by owners, we were game to try.  Fortunately, TripAdvisor came to the rescue.  With 192 listings for Specialty Lodging all rated by guests, TripAdvisor offered an unbelievably extensive selection.  And thus it was that we stumbled (fortunately for us!) upon The West Townhouse on the Upper West Side.

On previous trips, we’ve stayed near Times Square in a chain hotel, but never in a residential area.  But we’ve found we like the Upper West Side so much, we’ll probably return.  Not only was the apartment spacious and affordable, it was conveniently located in a quiet area, only two blocks from Central Park and NYC subways and buses.

An unexpected bonus of renting at The West Townhouse? Interaction with Monica, one of the owners, who “from the git-go” emailed info concerning transportation from the airport to the apartment and arrival instructions.  Biggest bonus of all? Well-marked maps for navigating the city and how to obtain a MetroCard for a week.  (Best $31.00 we spent!) She handed us a listing of area markets, restaurants, and nearby sites on the West Side most tourists relish (Think Central Park, The Dakota, and Museum of Natural History.) and then sent us to explore on our own.  Our kind of vacation.

So, for a week, we felt as if we were blending in with the locals.  (With Southern accents, we knew better, but it was fun trying.)  We walked the streets and admired the architecture and appointments of the homes in the area.  We bought fruit from stands, sipped coffee in little shops, and stopped in for a drink at a local pub.

Pros for the stay:  quiet neighborhood, helpful landlords, proximity to public transportation, kitchen for eating in, and tips on seeing the city in affordable style.

Cons — Well, there aren’t many.  Since this wasn’t our first trip to NYC, we were fine not staying near the heart of downtown action.  In fact, we liked the quiet, the expedient public transportation to the “other places” (the subway more so than the bus) and the safety.  But you may have other preferences, especially if you’re headed to the city for the first time. Or you may like the idea of a big hotel with breakfast on site and a ready concierge.

One bonus for an apartment stay: walking through neighborhoods, getting to know the lifestyle.

One bonus for an apartment stay: walking through neighborhoods, getting to know the lifestyle.

So, think about alternative housing.  And think about searching the Internet. Who says you can’t stay in NYC?!

For more information:

The West Townhouse, West 85th Street and Amsterdam Avenue, Upper West Side, Manhattan, New York, NY;

Hope you’ll follow us along in our Travel Series:  Christmas Holiday in NYC!

We’re Southern folk in awe of the Big Apple!

Rusha and Bert



About Oh, the Places We See

Met at University of Tennessee, been married for 47 years, and still passionate about travel whether we're volunteering with Habitat Global Village, combining work at Discovery with pleasure, or just seeing the world. Hope you'll join us as we try to see it all while we can!
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10 Responses to Holiday stay in NYC? Try an apartment!

  1. Rusha, we are huge believers in staying in apartments whenever possible, and we’ve done it all over the world. Not all experiences are perfect, but they always work out and having an apartment almost always gets us into neighborhoods where locals live so we get a much better feel for the place. All the best to you and Bert for a fun, relaxing and healthy holiday. ~James

  2. dawnkinster says:

    Thank you for this! I’ve been to the city twice…but never stayed inside the city. Would love to try this!

    • Hope you will, Dawn. I’m not sure I mentioned one of the best perks: this apt. was less expensive than almost any hotel room we could find. So, with the quiet and the savings, it was a winner for us. Best wishes for happy holidays!

  3. I have wanted to try renting for a while but have been concerned about some negative reviews you read. Did you go through a particular company after you read reviews on Trip Adviser or just dealt with the owner? Thanks.

  4. annastraveltribute says:

    Looks Awesome!

  5. cindy knoke says:

    sounds divine! Merry Christmas to you both~

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