Guest Author - Julia Reed Zaic
The San Carlos Hotel is located at 150 East 50th Street in Manhattan. This neighborhood is a truly pleasant area to stay in while on business because of its proximity to restaurants, bars, churches and the New York sites. It is within walking distance to subway stations and the area has a high concentration of cabs.
Despite my overall positive experience at the San Carlos, my recent stay was my first time there, and it did not start out smoothly. I had made my reservations on their website about three weeks prior to my trip. The rates were good for the location of the hotel, and in comparison to other hotels in the city of the same level of luxury and amenities. The hotel also had received excellent reviews on TripAdvisor.com, which I find to be very helpful when investigating new properties. My motivations were simple: Stay away from the chains and try to feel like a New Yorker. Like Carrie Bradshaw, or like Sally - from When Harry Met Sally.
Unfortunately, upon arrival, there was no record of my reservation. Even when given my confirmation number, nothing. I was sure of my Sally-like preparations for my trip, i.e., the details were intricately planned and followed up on. It was explained to me that this rarely ever happens and the staff was quite helpful through the process, and clearly quite concerned and embarrassed. They did everything they could to accommodate me.
For the inconvenience, I was upgraded to a one bedroom suite without hesitation. So, I stayed positive. The room was on the second floor with direct access to the business center which also had a small sitting area for reading the paper or working. The hotel is an older one, so the hallways were narrow. However, my room was ‘roomy’ and comfortable.
The one bedroom suite layout includes a kitchenette with coffeemaker, a mini fridge, sink, dishes, and fresh coffee. There is even the equivalent of a breakfast nook which can double as a desk. There are televisions in both the suite area and the bedroom. It was a great space to work in between meetings and into the evening because work materials could stay in one room away from the bed so when it was time to go to sleep, there was no rearranging or even thinking about it.
The suite area has a sleeper sofa, which would make the property a great option for bringing the family, giving everyone enough room. My only comment on that would be this. While traveling for leisure, it may not be a plus to be on the second floor attached to the business center. For business travel, it certainly was an advantage, but it may be an annoyance or heavy traffic area under other circumstances.
The rate quoted ($340/night – in November) was certainly reasonable for New York, especially for a suite. I had originally booked an executive suite, prior to being upgraded. This is quite reasonable for Manhattan hotel suites, especially considering the location.
Attached to the hotel is a very unique restaurant in which I regret not having spent more time. It is called Mint, and it features wonderful selections of Indian food in an upscale trendy atmosphere. When I say selection, I mean from samosas to curries, and every sort of spiced meat combination available. If you enjoy Indian fare, your knees will buckle when the aromas flood your nostrils. It also seemed like a terrific little bar comfortable for meeting friends as I could sense there were more locals present than travelers. No Carries or Sallies, but maybe a few Mirandas, or assistants to Devils who wear Prada.
Overall, I would recommend the San Carlos. The staff was pleasant, the rooms were nice, the price was right, and the location doesn’t get much better. The building is old with a few floorboards that creaked, but it had character, was unique, and a good choice for feeling like a local.
So, in a very 'When Harry Met Sally' way, I pass along a new discovery in New York of which I hope you partake: The San Carlos Hotel, with Mint, “on the side”.