Monday, May 16, 2005

There's budget... and then there's Habitat

This Friday past saw me headed into Manhattan after work with co-worker Watermelanie (aka Mel). The reason? Co-worker Lynn's surprise birthday party at Dip. Mel had approached me a couple of weeks before to see if I would be interested in getting a room so that we would not have to drive back to our far away homes. Back in the days of Belleville, a late-night drive back to the Jers would take 20 minutes. But living in Djibouti (aka Morris County or Sussex County as the case may be) it takes closer to an hour. Not a whole lot of fun at 2am. I agreed to the plan, and you have read about my hotel room woes with Priceline in the last two weeks.

I'm going to skip the details of the ride and the parking irritation that always accompanies a trip to the Isle of Manhats and go straight to the funnies. I had gotten us a room at the budget
Habitat Hotel on East 57th Street between Park & Lex. We entered the building and took an elevator ride to the lobby where we were given our room assignment. There was a strangely loud bar/club adjoining the lobby called Opia. Mel pointed out a small sign at the front-desk that read "Strobe lights and smoke machines available here." Errr, okay.

We headed up to our room on the 10th floor which was more jail cell than hostel room. I have stayed in "European style" rooms before, people. I was not expecting anything great from this place. But let me just say that Europeans would be appalled at this joint being pooled into their style.

The room was about 8 x 10. Once you opened the trundle bed, though, you could not walk across the room. The windows are sealed shut, which is particularly rough since it was stuffy and smelled like feet. There was a sink, a box of tissues and a cable television. The bathrooms were typical stalls… but looked like they hadn't been cleaned. Ever. I lived in a dorm for three years of college and so, I am perfectly accustomed to somewhat grimy stalls, but this really takes the cake. Also, there were no sinks in the bathroom, so you had to head back to your room if you wanted to wash your hands. I won't go into the showers because I thought it'd be safer to bathe in New Jersey.

When Mel and I returned to our room around 2am, we quickly realized that there were no towels and we would have to dry our faces off with tissues. Good. Times. To be honest, I can't remember what we were laughing so hard at, other than Mel's terrified "Oh no! I knocked your tooth brush into the sink!" Yes, the room was that dirty. The entire place was that dirty. And the lighting in the hallways was straight out of Silence of the Lambs.

For a good laugh, read the
Trip Advisor comments. "Filthy," "creepy," and "worst hotel I've been to" get thrown around. Apparently, there are residents at the hotel who are not far from institutionalization, but I didn't see any of that.

If I had paid $25 for this room, that would be one thing. But clearly, Manhattan is out of control if this place can charge $100 on a Friday night. On the bright side, every place from here on out will probably feel like it's four stars.

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