Nobody goes to the big apple to sit in their hotel room. Pod 39 New York City knows this, providing guests small yet sleek and functional spaces at a budget-friendly starting price of $119. Part of BD Hotels, who own 25 properties in NYC, designer Vanessa Guilford focused on the “form follows function” model. Here, guests receive something of value that’s also fun and goes beyond simply being trendy — not to mention encouraging guests to get out of their rooms to experience and discover the amenities throughout the property.
This begins with the ground floor. From the lobby — where you’ll find a window box check-in desk, concierge table with local information pamphlets, iPad-clad walls and funky chairs resembling game pieces — you can walk straight into the Play Room. Pod 39 is located within the landmarked former Allerton House from 1916, and this space served as the “Gentleman’s Sitting Room,” still featuring original terra cotta floors. Overall there’s a bohemian vibe, with a ceiling decked out with colorful Chinese lanterns, bright vintage couches, handmade Moroccan rugs, floor-to-ceiling shelves of pastel books and stained glass windows. A Moroccan tiled fireplace and candlelit tables add warmth.
Here is where you’ll find ping-pong, board games, and cocktails and bites from the delicious Salvation Taco. Basically, it’s a bar, restaurant, workspace, game room, library and community gathering center all in one.
Speaking of Salvation Taco, continue walking through the Play Room to the connecting restaurant, multi-colored stools and lampshades adjoining a bar illuminated by small Christmas lights. The taqueria and cantina — which pays homage to the space’s former life as a Salvation Army, and now serves breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner — is the brainchild of Michelin Star Chef April Bloomfield and her partner Ken Friedman. They serve Mexico food with an innovative international twist. Think kimchi and pork belly pozole (a traditional Mexican soup of red chiles, hominy corn and meat), Korean barbecue-stuffed tacos, and Moroccan lamb roti with cucumber pico de gallo and crema. Pair it all with their signature “Salvation Margarita,” made with pueblo viejo blanco tequila, Combier L’Orange, lime and guajillo chili salt (big pitchers available for larger groups!).
The 366 rooms are also noteworthy, six categories differing only by size (the average is 100 square feet) and bed type, ranging from single to queen. Larger groups and families can adjoin bunk and queen rooms to maximize space. Moreover, all rooms have wall-mounted flat screen televisions, safes, under-the-bed storage drawers and cubbies, desks, tech units for plugging in (you can hook phone to TV to hear Spotify or watch Netflix!), bed-side charging stations, durable Phenolic furniture, free Wi-Fi and self regulating climate control. In the bathrooms, expect en suite smoked glass showers, large mirror walls creating an illusion of extra depth and, soon, their own custom line of bath products. There are also plenty of things to do with the kids in NYC so you won’t be bored!
You’ll notice art woven throughout the hallways, bursts of color and design beckoning you to wander the halls to see the entire creations. There’s also a fun color twist, with floors alternating between teal, blue and red as the main hue scheme, which you’ll notice on the carpets and comforters (the perfect place to snap a selfie).
The stay highlight is undoubtedly the 17th-story rooftop, where you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to Europe with terra cotta columns, sprawling ivy over brick walls, and brick arched widows and doorways. This is not only a popular spot for guests, but locals looking to pair Salvation Taco drink and food — they’ve got a food cart up there — with stunning views of the Empire State Building, One World Trade Center, the Chrysler building and the East River.
When you’re ready to explore beyond Pod 39 all that you need are your own two feet. The hotel is located in Murray Hill near Grand Central, with attractions like Bryant Park, the famed New York Public Library, Times Square, The Theater District and Rockefeller Center all within walking distance. If you’d like a guide, Pod 39 offers free walking tours to guests, including a street art tour on Tuesday, Brooklyn on Thursday and a High Line/Chelsea/Meatpacking/West Village tour on Fridays. Guides are from Streetwise NY, who hire guides that are also comedians, guaranteeing a quirky but fun excursion.
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*Feature image courtesy of Todd Quackenbush, Unsplash