Aug 03, 16

How to Get a Cheap 4-star Hotel in NYC

modern luxury hotel
RILUEDA / Getty Images

Setting up alerts on online booking services, for “the cheapest price of the coolest room”, has helped me many times to get one. However, during my stay at the iconic “Empire Hotel”, I discovered a new way to get a cheap 4-star hotel in NYC.

This is a funny and somewhat horrifying story, with a real tip after the review

What You Would Not Expect at a 4-Start Hotel in NYC

Traveling for 31 hours are not the best way to prepare for a job interview. I thought a quick shower, a power nap and a big fat coffee would help look like a human again, but things got in the middle.

I arrived at the Empire Hotel earlier, so my room wasn’t ready and I had to wait in the lobby for an hour. That is on me. What was not my fault, was not knowing the real commodity to get a cheap 4-star hotel in NYC.

Once in my room, I entered the bathroom and I noticed someone else was using it: a cockroach.

How to Get a Cheap 4-star Hotel in NYC: with a cockroach in the bathroom
The corps of a cockroach in a bathroom at The Empire Hotel.

I went downstairs to the front desk, and I told one of the ladies that I had found a cockroach. She replied:

“Oh, I’m sorry, it must be a water bug.”

“No, it isn’t”, I insisted, “It is a cockroach.

“Yeah, water bugs are common with this weather”, she replied as she was typing on her computer.

I was too tired to engage with this type of people, the ones who appear to not know how to listen. So, I simply smiled at her; and she added,

“Can I offer you a breakfast?”

“No thank you, don’t worry. Just please send someone to take the cockroach away”, I replied. 

“Maybe a drink?”

I said yes to that, and I didn’t mind she hadn’t listened that I only needed the cockroach to be removed.

She gave me two coupons for drinks in return. Cockroaches? Keep them coming!

The Commodity to Get a Cheap 4-star Hotel

On Sunday night, after having attended a Stand Up show at the Gotham Comedy Club (which was “meh”), I headed over my room, I opened the closet to hang my clothes and to my surprise, once again, someone was already there. 

How to Get a Cheap 4-star Hotel in NYC: with a cockroach in the closet
A cockroach in a closet at The Empire Hotel. The one that got away…

This one really pushed me to edge. It was 1am, I was exhausted, and I couldn’t kill the poor creature. I knew I wouldn’t be able to sleep knowing that she could climb over my bed, maybe even with her family.

And …, do I need to put an emphasis on the fact that I was at 4-star hotel?

I took a photo (again), and the lawyer in me said, “take it with you.” So I left it opened and enlarged on my iPhone, and then I headed over the front desk.

There was a young man this time. He said,

“Good evening! What can I do for you?”

“I found a cockroach the other day, and now I found a new one” I replied putting my iPhone on his face, like a kid showing his first drawing to his parents.

“Oh, my God”, he said horrified, “That’s not a water bug!”

“No. It isn’t.”

“I am so sorry!”

Before I could add another word, he switched me to another room (bigger one, with a view!) And he added, still horrified,

“What else can I do for you?”

“The new room will do, thank you.”

“No, no, what else can I do for you?”, he insisted.

“It’s ok, don’t worry.”

“Let me give you a breakfast, two breakfasts!”


“And a drink! Do you want a drink?”

“No, it’s ok, really.”

“I’ll give you a drink, two drinks… How many do you want?”

“Two are fine.”

“I’ll give you four! Please let me know what else can we do for you.”


Customer service at The Empire Hotel do not listen when you need something, nor when you’re ok with not accepting something more and better. Hence it is hard to find a balance so that I can express an opinion. 

But, bottom line is that staying at the Empire Hotel, is an “Orange is the New Black” kind of situation. Who needs money when you can trade rooms, meals and drinks for roaches?

Tip: If you can’t afford a 4-star hotel, and you are in NYC, check your account during the day. Rooms that haven’t been occupied, get released at really cheap prices for one or two. You can seize these opportunities to treat yourself with cool amenities and photos to show off on your Instagram grid.


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