Hotel 91 NYC: Good, basic accommodations

Chinatown New York
Last minute hotel bookings always get me down: I seem to find the priciest hotel in a given area, rivaling the Ritz, or a shady motel that looks unsafe or unclean, or both.
New York City was the locale for a last minute WriteSpeakCode conference documentarian gig, and it was one I’d been hoping for. My main concern was nearness to the venue at Pace University (near the World Trade Center), and knowing that lower west side hotels come at a premium, I didn’t want to trek across the city (or a bridge) to get there.


Hotel 91 (1 E Broadway, New York, NY 10002) seemed to hit all my needs: A basic, clean and convenient spot in Chinatown, on the lower east side. Buses were ~15 minutes and walking was ~30, which was ideal. My first foray into Hotel 91 was confusing, as you enter a long hallway, and reception is on the second floor. The elevator wasn’t working (only on this day) so the freight elevator was used, thankfully.
The room was a bit strange, with a long unused section, a tiny desk, and only 2 beds but no other seating. It was quite a tight fit to get around the beds, and there was a TV as well as a confusing temperature control that powered a blower near the bathroom. The room wasn’t as loud as I’d expected, with the Manhattan Bridge right nearby, but it didn’t actually bother me.
The hotel was clean and sparse, though my sheets seemed to have been changed only once in a six-night stay. The room was tidied each day, though it didn’t seem the bathroom was cleaned but rather straightened up.

Staying in Chinatown

The neighborhood is really not for the feint of heart; there are numerous food stalls selling fruit and fish and it can get rather fragrant. I wouldn’t call that Chinatown’s “charm,” but for $120/night, it felt safe, rather clean and always, always fascinating to wander through. Since I adore Chinatowns and the opportunity for inexpensive, delicious meals, it was probably ideal.
My ultimate verdict? I would return, though I’d be sure to ask again for a quiet room. Don’t expect a view, and the (instant) coffee and tea are all you’ll really see in terms of breakfast “amenities.” But in a city like New York, Hotel 91 served my solo travel needs to a T.

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