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Hotel Edison, New York City -- Times Square

Go Back In Time to New York's Classic Hotel Edison

by Shannon Caldwell

Edison Hotel Wireless Rates
30 Minute : $3.96
24 Hours : $9.96
3 Days : $24.96
5 Days : $34.96
1 Month : $44.96

New York is known for many things: great Broadway shows, fashion, television industry, Wall Street, Little Italy, Chinatown and…expensive hotels. Therein lies the challenge for both business and leisure travelers.

Finding something to do in New York is not a problem. Finding an affordable hotel is. Unless of course you stay at a place in a neighborhood that is lit in red or requires a black belt in karate just to make it to your room. Neither sounds appealing, so the hunt goes on for a hotel that is cost effective, in a great location, and has the amenities that keeps travelers happy…all in the heart of Manhattan. No such place, right? Wrong. Not only have we discovered a hotel that offers all of the above we've discovered one that has history, charm and character…called Hotel Edison.

Driving by, even walking by, you may not notice it. Although it's smack dab in the middle of Times Square, it's tucked away on a side street -- 228 West 47th Street to be exact -- just off Broadway. And even though it houses more than 800 rooms, its façade is amazingly deceptive. Sandwiched between an expensive W Hotel and a clothing store, it's barely noticeable unless you're looking for it. The depth of deception is dizzying. The monstrous building is nearly a city block in diameter but because of the way it was built in 1929, it snakes its way backwards and upwards hiding its bulk between neighboring buildings. As a result, rooms offer more peace and quiet than one might expect from the traditionally noisy 24-hour New York chaos, especially in the heart of Times Square.

Lobby of Hotel Edison, New York CityTwenty-something stories tall, an entire floor has been remodeled every year since the late '80s. The cool thing about this annual construction is that each floor is designed a little differently so one stay could be in a room of modern motif while the next is surrounded by an original '20s flare, leaving you feeling as if you've traveled back in time.

The lobby is magnificent. Completely remodeled to reflect the art deco period of the '20s, this architectural delight embodies a culture and time so rich they had to rope off the seating area to preserve it, allowing guests only the pleasure of sitting and viewing the artistic wonders surrounding them. Luggage, food, and drinks are not allowed beyond the stanchions.

The marble hallway leading to Sofia's, a fine Italian restaurant tucked away in the back of the building, is lined with original fine art, spectacular lighting ornaments and mirrored reflections of a time gone by. This entrance most certainly made it easy to imagine what travelers staying there in the '20s and '30s might have felt as they walked these beautiful hallways. I hope they appreciated them then as much as we do now.

While New York is loaded with hundreds of wonderful restaurants, the Hotel Edison has every selection a traveler could want without having to leave the building. Sophia's provides an old-world elegance for intimate dining while at the other end of the spectrum is the Café Edison, a real old-fashioned family-owned diner with real down-home cooking. The Rum House, located on the lobby level, provides a lounge atmosphere with weekly live trios, while only two doors down The Supper Club offers an old-fashioned dinner show.

We know that many people visit New York just for the sightseeing so eating inside may not be ideal. After all, getting out and about to see how this part of the world ticks is the main attraction. Well aware of travelers needs, the Hotel Edison provides a comprehensive, full-service sightseeing desk in the lobby to accommodate visitors with maps, attraction recommendations, shuttle services back and forth to the airports, sightseeing bus schedules and yes, even other restaurants. In fact, New York's famous 'Restaurant Row' is only a a five minute walk away.

Hotel Edison workout roomHotel Edison also has a sizeable gift shop and an extensive gym with some of the most state-of-the-art equipment I've seen at a hotel in a long time and plenty of it, too. Within a relatively short distance of the hotel are the Broadway Theatre District, Empire State Building, United Nations, Rockefeller Center, Radio City Music Hall, Grand Central Station and Jacob Javits Center. Most can be reached by foot with a good pair of walking shoes while others are easily accessible with a short cab ride.

The rooms are spacious and comfortable. The room in which I stayed had a small bathroom with limited counter space but was well worth it in order to experience the ambiance of the 1920s. Each room has a desk for the comfort of business travelers and although high-speed Internet access was not available at the time I stayed, management assured me that it was in near-future plans. Suites have two television sets and sleeper sofas for additional guests.

Hotel Edison guest roomThe only challenge I found with my room was the shortage of electrical outlets. Being built in the '20s, the rooms had fewer outlets than their contemporary counterparts, but it wasn't impossible to function or hook up my laptop. Also, the now-customary hair blowers and ironing boards that come with most rooms in newer hotels were not standard with the Hotel Edison. That said, bring your own hair dryer. Ironing board and iron can be requested from housekeeping.

The overwhelming history and character of the Hotel Edison coupled with its great location completely outweighed the few small sacrifices that were made during my stay. Suites are a tad higher but well worth a visit if you're trying to make a big impression on a small budget.

The Hotel Edison is not a fancy-schmancy 5-star hotel with all the trappings of modern miracles that a typical $500 Manhattan hotel room provides. But it does have something the 5-stars don't -- starting with a journey back through time. You can't help but wonder if Humphrey Bogart, Katherine Hepburn or Clark Gable walked the hallways, slept in the rooms, or danced at the local Supper Club.

The Hotel Edison stirred my imagination and left a smile on my face every time I entered its magnificent lobby. In a world of no holds barred - anything goes, it was nice to be reminded and vicariously experience a time when the world was a nicer place. Especially New York City.