Our recent trip to New York City was a bit of a last minute decision thanks to some unexpected comp time from our day jobs. Not wanting to waste that precious time sitting at home, we decided to make a long weekend trip to the city – a place I have surprisingly never visited before. With only a few weeks before our intended departure date and a desire to save a bit of money on the weekend trip, we turned to an unlikely style for our accommodation – an apartment. As it turns out, finding an apartment in New York City is not as hard as you’d imagine, as there are thousands of individuals looking to sublet their units for often as minimum as 2-3 days booking and in much more enticing locations than the expensive chain hotels and hostels.
The hunt began.
Finding an Apartment in NYC
When we book hotels and hostels, we always go through the struggle of balancing amenities and location with price. We’ll always pay a little extra for a few specific amenities and always consider location to be our number one priority to minimize transportation costs and maximize our time while in any particular city. Then we were faced with the challenge of booking a hotel in New York City, one of the most expensive cities in the world for accommodations.
Not wanting to stay in a dorm or outside the popular areas of the city, our attention turned to the potential of renting an apartment for the weekend. Upon researching the apartments available on the booking website Roomorama, we discovered that a large selection of units were available throughout the city and often at prices equal to or less than the price of a comparably sized hotel. Considering most hotel rooms are even smaller than studio apartments, it seemed like the right thing to do to get more space and a more intimate experience with New York City itself.
Booking an Apartment with Roomorama
Searching for an apartment on Roomorama was one of the easiest parts about booking our trip. The process is a bit unique from standard hotel booking sites as in this case you are often booking a room or apartment from an individual owner, and scheduling conflicts could be possible. Even with that said, booking with Roomorama was a straight forward four-step process:
- Register an account on Roomorama
- Search for rooms/apartments on your dates
- Send an inquiry in to the owner to see if the apartment is available
- Book if the inquiry comes back as available and pay the corresponding deposit/bill.
That’s all there is to it!
With our booking coming in very close to our departure date, about 6 weeks out, we sent several inquiries in to apartments throughout the city. The website shows a calendar that each apartment owner can update to show availability, but this is not always 100% accurate as someone may book just before you send an inquiry in or the owner may not utilize the feature properly. While the wait for the inquiry turn around for that oh-so-perfect apartment is painful, we really like this feature as we know that our request is going to an actual human. The same human we would likely meet in the city to pick up our keys from, and the same human who would be benefiting from our payment – not a big box chain. In that respect, we were happy with a 24+ hour waiting period. When we got word back about a great studio apartment being available, we jumped at the chance and booked it right away.
Our NYC Apartment
That studio apartment we booked was a medium-sized unit located right in the heart of Greenwich Village. While we would have preferred booking a larger apartment, there is something about a great location that always has us caring less about the size of the room. To properly review this studio, we must comment on the four features of any Roomorama apartment that we consider to be important: the host, the apartment, the neighborhood, and finally the cost. Only in knowing these four things can you be sure if an apartment is right for you!
- The Host: We think having a good host is almost as important as having a good apartment itself. After all, your entire stay will be dictated on how one to two people take care of their personal unit. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that we booked our apartment partly due to the number of great reviews of the owners, and when we made our booking we immediately knew we would not be disappointed.
Within just a few hours of booking our host had contacted us with their address, personal cell phone number, and email address that we could reach them at for scheduling our key pickup. As you are dealing with an individual or couple when booking an apartment, sifting through the reviews for the right match is an important part of the apartment booking process just so you can rest easy that your host is reliable. I could tell from the first email that the couple we were renting from were going to be great, and were pleasant to deal with throughout our entire stay; even meeting us at 11pm to drop off the key when we got in to the city on our delayed flight.
- The Apartment: What is there to say about a studio apartment that is approximately 375 square feet? Well, for one, 375 square feet is significantly larger than most hotel rooms and for that reason we felt we had a great little unit! Our apartment had a loft style sleeping bed, requiring us to climb up to a higher level on a ladder to go to sleep. Angie had a bad case of vertigo one night and made for our only minor complaint with the loft arrangement, so we slept on the comfy futon the last two nights. The other features of our studio included a mini fridge, fully stock stemware and glasses, the pull out futon, and a modest bathroom space. Couple that with the location right on one of the main streets in Greenwich Village, just 5 minutes walking from a subway and right above one of the best shwarma places in the whole city, and you have a perfect combination to live like a New Yorker!
- The Neighborhood: Greenwich Village is one of our favorite neighborhoods in NYC, primarily due to the fact that it is less crowded than the other neighborhoods, still relatively close to those bigger neighborhoods, and has tons of the city’s greatest restaurants that we were dying to try. With just a few more minutes walking to the more active and much larger neighborhood of Soho, we found ourselves exploring the side streets and unusual restaurants nearby more than we ever anticipated. We didn’t eat at many of them, but what is more unique than an oatmeal bar (yes, oatmeal), a rice pudding dessert shop, a restaurant completely dedicated to hummus, and just about every ethnic cuisine imaginable? Nothing, that’s what.
- The Cost: The studio apartment we stayed at in Greenwich Village was $718 for four nights after tax or roughly $180/night. The apartment’s rental page mentioned a $100 cash security deposit that would be returned at the end of our stay, but the owner did not ask for this from us. Comparable hotels in the area ranged between $750 and $1,100+, making renting the studio apartment quite a cost effective option.
When it was all said and done, we couldn’t be happier with our choice to stay in an apartment in New York City. Not only did we get to experience what the city was like for a local, we got to try out a new accommodation type that we absolutely love and will try again several times in the future and highly recommend it for anyone looking for more space on your next trip out in the US or abroad!
To search for your own apartment rental with Roomorama, check out the booking widget located on our sidebar. While thousands of apartments are available in a large number of cities from around the world, not everywhere is currently represented on the booking website. As word gets out on the service and more individuals look to rent out their apartments while they are away, we expect Roomorama to grow in ways you cannot believe – a true benefit to travelers everywhere.
Thanks to our friends at Roomorama for providing a great apartment for our stay in New York. All comments included in this review are our own and are based on our actual booking experiences with Roomorama.