On my recent trip to New York City, my husband took charge in finding a place for me to stay on my last night in the city. NYC’s hostels didn’t come at rock-bottom prices, and for just a bit more, he took a friend’s advice and booked a room for me at The Jane, a funky boutique hotel that’s been around in some form since 1908.
New York City is a hotbed for hotels, and while I’m sure many of them are very nice, this one is particularly memorable. It was originally built for sailors with its tight, cabin-like rooms, and in 1912, survivors of the Titanic stayed there. Throughout the years it has been a YMCA and a standard hotel, but in 2008, it was renovated and today reflects its original “at sea” theme.
When I arrived at The Jane, a bellhop in a turn-of-the-century outfit with thick gold buttons helped me with my bag. I checked in and was given my key, a heavy metallic item that I returned to the front desk each time I left the hotel. I approached and stepped into the elevator and was met by a uniformed gentleman who asked me what floor I was staying on. He closed a metal door and then a grated one and cranked the elevator up by hand. In an age of quick technological advances, I was impressed by this attention to detail.
The hallways of The Jane are thin, dark and wind confusingly around each floor. It very much felt like walking through the bowels of a ship. I stayed in a standard cabin; at 50 square feet, it was cramped but reminiscent of a cabin on a boat. I had a small, capsule-like room with storage space beneath my bed and a large mirror on the wall opposite of that. It was enough space for me, but I tend to pack light.
Even though quarters are cramped, they aren’t treated like second-class citizens. Rooms are outfitted with flat screen TVs, an iPod docking station and free wifi (though I didn’t have my laptop with me so I can’t confirm how well it worked).
And what about the bathroom? Well, if you stay in a single room like I did, or a bunk cabin (my room with an additional bed on top – yikes!), you have to share a communal bathroom. There are a few of these on every floor, and I found those on my floor to be clean, accessible and never crowded. There was even body wash and shampoo in the shower stall!
The Jane has an environmental policy that runs in part on the heavy-duty keys that guests are issued. When I entered my room, I had to insert my key into a slot that allowed me to use the electricity (read: television and air conditioning) in my room. Though it was a bit humid in my room when I first moved in, this policy makes sense and, I’m sure, saves a lot of money and power. I couldn’t figure out how to control the air conditioner once it was on, though, and I absolutely froze at night.
Located in New York City’s meatpacking district, The Jane is adjacent to the Hudson River and is a bit out of the way from the heart of the city. The closest subway station is on 14th Street, where guests can catch the A, C and E trains.
Standard single rooms at The Jane run $89.00-$99.00 per night, which is pricey by any other city’s standards, but this is New York City. Considering the charm of the hotel, this price is a steal.