Disadvantages Too many to list here.
Most of the following is an excerpt from my write-up of a holiday Tommy and I went on over the last two weeks. I’m going to go through it quickly to ensure it’s okay to post on here because it really needs to be posted – and quickly – in order to act as a warning to others who might consider staying at the West Side Inn on West 107th Street, New York City…We booked the West Side Inn through accommodationspecials.com, part of hotels.com and since they have funky adverts out at the moment, we thought it was pretty trustworthy. We also checked out their official site on www.westsideinn.com and found it to look surprisingly smart for $80 a night. We booked two nights and then found tripadvisor.com… The reviews were less than hopeful: of the thirty on the site there were twenty-seven negative reviews and three saying things along the lines of “it’s not that bad if you consider that it’s a hostel.”
When we walked through the door into the dimly lit lobby, one the lines from the reviews instantly came to mind: “The lobby smells of death.” There were a few Spanish-speaking girls sat on chairs near reception just looking at us, muttering stuff that Tommy said was probably something along the lines of “I wonder how long it’ll be before these suckers check out.” Or possibly, “I wonder if they’ll be our next customers…”The guy behind the counter seemed amiable enough and presented Tommy with the key after taking a photocopy of his passport. We had room 4-0-hell and climbed the cracked and dirty marble stairs to have a look.
The smell was unpleasant but not unbearable, it had high tone of urine with a musty low tone and the olfactory detail was made up of decaying insect and poo and possibly rotting rubbish. As we got closer to our room, we started to notice the long, dark halls, decorated (if that’s what you can call it) with brown carpet and wall-coverings that split in places, showing the crumbling plaster behind it.We opened the door to our room and I was still kind-of hoping that maybe the door would open and it would be like the picture on their official website, which is, according to one tripadvisor’s review, pictures of the manager’s apartment. The door swung uneasily open and we were confronted with a room that, should you allow a foreign national to stay in it, would be subject to a war crimes inquiry.
I’ll start with the door, because it’s what we saw first. It was a patchwork of fibreboard painted brown on one side and white on the other and the door itself had had a terrible argument with the doorframe and refused to go anywhere near it. That is to say that dwarfs and giants alike were able to see into our room through the gaps at the top and bottom. The carpet seemed to be littered with little white bits that were maybe impervious to vacuum cleaners, but I doubt it. The beds were in bits that didn’t fit together and moving things around to make it better only caused the plastic-covered mattress to stick out here and there, exposing Tommy’s best find of the day: a conspicuous tissue that was bunched up in the middle for reasons unknown. Tommy refused to touch it; wise move.There was air conditioning in the room, however it consisted of a fan propped up against a cracked window, out of which was a lovely view of a fire escape and a wall. We didn’t feel at all secure in this room and since we were transporting the laptop with us all the time, we didn’t feel we could leave it in this room, especially with so many dodgy people roaming around.
The beds were covered with lightly stained sheets, some of which also sported burns and pubic hair. There was a plastic holder on the wall which was where even the smoke detector had had enough and fucked off from this disease-ridden fleapit. A strange dried yellow substance was encrusted on the coving on the ceiling along with evidence of substances having leaked from above. I spent a while looking for the toilet – they weren’t en suite, two to a floor – and found it, along with the bath, which was coated in a thick brown mystery material that I went nowhere near. I went for a sheepish wee because there were gaps at the top and bottom of the bathroom door as well and I could hear people running around, screaming and a strange hacking cough coming from an adjacent room.When I returned to the room, Tommy had decided do investigate the dodgy tissue. He saw it had nasty off-white stains on it which put it into one of two categories: snotty or jizzy. Then there was the hair attached; I think you’ve guessed it wasn’t a nasal hair …so it was established that it was most likely a jizz-rag discarded by someone playing the penile piano. We came to a swift and unanimous decision to leave, losing our money automatically but anywhere, even sleeping in Central Park, had to be better than this.
We marched downstairs and Tommy handed the key to the guy behind the counter; it wasn’t the same guy as ten minutes previous, he'd probably been rushed to hospital with tetanus.
“You checking in or checking out?”
“Checking out; we can’t stay here, it’s disgusting.”
“Okay, fair enough, have a nice day.”
About the website: a great deal of what is seen at www.westsideinn.com is complete fallacy. The rooms don’t look that nice, the bathroom is not as clean as you see in the picture and information about fully-equipped kitchenettes is frankly bullshit: Tommy and I passed a kitchenette on our way up to our room and found it to be an empty room with a filthy floor and a sink – no more. The video in the site is just as misleading as the pictures and the rooms are far from ‘clean and contemporary’.At first we’d hoped that the reviews we read on tripadvisor.com – now strangely missing – were all from one disgruntled customer who’d had a major run-in with the proprietor or something, however our hearts really sank when we realised that these really were twenty-seven other people who’d fallen into the same trap as us. There are no early check-outs, no refunds and only one way to escape this hideous experience: stay well away from the West Side Inn. Furthermore, fuck hotels.com and accommodationspecials.com, in fact, leave them all alone. If you’re going to New York City, buy a respectable guidebook and check out their recommendations for accommodation, after all, we tipped $160 down the brown-stained toilet for the sake of taking notice of something which cost £8.99.
It’s not all doom and gloom, by the way: We had a fantastic time in the city and it’s just a shame that some of the time during our short stay was wasted by the West Side Inn incident. We rode the Staten Island ferry, which gave us unprecedented views of the Manhattan skyline and the Statue of Liberty and was free! We also went on Brooklyn Bridge and went up the Empire State Building twice – it’s amazing up there – and we also visited Times Square a few times and that’s just dazzling. Tommy and I would both enthuse anyone to go to New York; it’s such a diverse city with so many attractions and famous places and people, so much to do… So go. Now. Book it.
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