We first learned about the Hotel Wales in the years B.C. (Before Chloe), from actor friends who always stay there when they visit New York. It’s on the Upper East Side, in the Carnegie Hill neighborhood, with great access to Central Park and some of the city’s most wonderful museums. It’s also affordable, which is crucial even for well-established actors. Get yourself on the hotel’s e-mail list, and you’ll be offered really remarkable deals (right now, for instance, we’re paying $168 a night).
What you’ll find is a small, European-style hotel with tiny rooms, two good in-house restaurants, and friendly service. Complimentary breakfast (nothing to write home about — mediocre bagels and muffins, yogurt, coffee, OJ) is served every morning on the mezzanine level, which also houses the (tiny) fitness center and business center (computers and a printer). There is a rooftop terrace, which I’m avoiding right now because it’s hot and soggily humid in New York this week.
Our room this time is slightly smaller than the ones I’ve had in the past, but they’re all petite. It’s attractive and clean, and the bathroom is spiffy (the hotel was recently renovated, and you can tell that they focused on the bathrooms). Try to get a room on the exterior, not on the ventilation shaft. I’ve eaten several times at Sarabeth’s, one of the hotel’s restaurants (and purveyors of the jams and preserves you may have seen in high-end groceries) — good food, huge breakfasts, don’t miss the Four Flowers Juice — and last night we had a superb dinner at Paola’s, the other on-site restaurant. The duck breast (seared, with whole-grain risotto, house-made apricot mustard and black truffle vinaigrette) knocked me sideways, but the whole meal was delicious. Please note that you can get to Sarabeth’s without leaving the hotel, which is nice to know when it’s bucketing rain.
Anyway, we love it here. Your first thought will likely be that the rooms are too small and, well, European (also, the hotel charges a daily fee for wi-fi, which is lame). I suspect that you, like me, will overlook those drawbacks when you think of the hotel’s location and price (and the bathrooms!). There is a one-time, non-refundable $75 pet fee.