Manhattan’s upper west side is truly the New York City of the movies – attractive tree-lined streets, grand buildings and families walking their dogs.
The Belnord, on West 87th Street, is squarely in keeping with this atmosphere – and we have spent some wonderful days and weeks at this hotel.
However, this lovely part of New York City certainly pre-dates the era of Age-Friendliness. And the Belnord was no exception.
The hotel is about three blocks from Central Park and amongst the restaurants, community stores, supermarkets and cafes that line Broadway and Columbus and Amsterdam avenues.
Zabar’s, NYC’s famous food emporium, is about seven blocks away and it’s a short stroll to museums and similar attractions.
In short, the Belnord’s location is superb.
The hotel does not carry the luxury tag, but is certainly in keeping with its surroundings; spotlessly clean, modern, neat, tidy and understated. It is definitely NYC.
The hotel’s foyer is unpretentious, clean and no-frills. The hotel is in a particularly quiet area of NYC, largely free of wailing city sirens and general street noise.
How quick and efficient was the hotel check-in?
Staff are friendly, efficient and service oriented, without intruding.
Sign-in was quick and pleasant and we are given a map of central Manhattan and directions to the 86th Street subway station, which is located close to the hotel.
Did we feel welcomed by the Belnord staff?
Certainly. The Belnord is relaxed, but the staff team is willing to go that extra distance to ensure your stay is as enjoyable and smooth as possible.
For our most recent stay, we were at the hotel for 19 days and found the staff so helpful that we even left a small travel gift to show our appreciation.
When we used a nearby laundry, the hotel staff delivered our freshly-pressed clothes back to our room.
Were we offered help with our luggage?
Yes, but the hotel lifts were so roomy and efficient that we chose to handle our bags ourselves.
Did the hotel offer wifi – and how did it work?
The Belnord has an excellent free wifi for guests. On arrival, we were given the password and it was clearly explained when it would change and how to maintain the service.
The system worked without a hitch throughout our stay.
This was a huge plus, as we were not forced to seek out wifi at coffee shops, restaurants etc.
The room experience
Our double room was ready when we arrived and was a typical NYC size – tight, but very well presented and immaculately clean, with modern decor.
There was a comfortable double bed with individual readings lights; a flat screen TV set; wardrobe; ensuite and breakfast bench. .
The cable TV worked perfectly – but the lack of a bar fridge, tea and coffee facilities and the showed without a curtain took a little adjustment.
We overcame the lack of a bar fridge by liberal use of free ice from the hotel’s ice machines. We purchased a humble kettle – and we never really became accustomed to the lack of a shower curtain. However, the bathroom was a decent size and, although the floor could be sodden after each shower, it wasn’t really a hassle.
This is increasingly becoming important, with phones, iPad, iPod and the like all requiring charging, as well as the usual requirements for electric razor; hair dryer etc.
Our Belnord hotel room had numerous points – all in handy positions, so there was no problem charging devices.
Room service was prompt each morning, but was not intrusive. If it was obvious that if you were still in the room, service staff would wait as long as possible and then eventually knock on the door to check when it would be suitable to enter. Like all Belnord staff, they were friendly and polite.
Towels and bathroom accessories.
These were soft and fluffy and were left daily, if you needed them. It was a similar story with bathroom/shower accessories.
Like many NYC hotels, the Belnord does not have a restaurant, but is located right in the middle of an ‘Eat Street’ section of Broadway. Restaurants and coffee shops offering an array of meals are scattered throughout the area.
Would we stay again?
Yes, without hesitation.
Our Age-Friendliness Rating
6/10: Unfortunately, most of the wonderful old buildings in this part of the Upper West Side are set back and up from the street. From our experience, there were about five steps from the footpath to the hotel doors. The steps didn’t worry us, but we not sure how a wheelchair would cope. Inside, the reception, lifts and corridors were level, roomy and easy to negotiate. The room doors were simple to use, the floors were level and the hotel’s central location offered easy, comfortable walks to the many restaurants, attractions and shops along Broadway and other streets. The Belnord is also particularly close to a metro station for easy transport throughout Manhattan and beyond. The hotel’s website is modern and was found it a simple task to book a room.