NEW YORK CITY: The Lucerne - A Great Hidden Gem

Some time ago, I was asked to attend a seminar in New York City. In keeping with our corporate policy, I booked a hotel near the seminar site using our corporate travel agent.

As the time of the seminar grew closer, I grew increasingly uncomfortable with the $439 per night rate this large chain hotel was charging. Yes, I know it was New York and I knew it was the Christmas season, but the rate still seemed too high. So, a few days before my trip, I checked the web site of a hotel at which I'd stayed on the Upper West Side and, to my delight, found that staying there would save my company about $150 over the chain hotel our travel agency recommended. As quickly as I could, I cancelled the reservation at the chain and booked a room at The Lucerne.

Their rate for a standard queen room: $310. The savings well offset the subway fare I paid to get from the 79th St. and Broadway station of the 1,2,3 line to my meeting near Wall Street.

But even better than the savings (because it wasn't coming out of my pocket, after all) was the way I was treated at the Lucerne. I've stayed there several times since discovering this hidden gem in 2000 and have been treated like a welcome guest every time. This time, I was upgraded from a room to a King suite, which made me feel like I never wanted to leave!

Plus, the Lucerne is located in a real neighborhood where people actually live. This makes it a great place to be if, say, you want a bowl of Matzoh ball soup at 11 p.m. (Artie's Deli at 83rd & Broadway is my favorite) or a down-and-dirty NYC hot dog (Gray's Papaya, 72nd & Broadway, open 24/7). The hotel is right across the street from Coppola's Restaurant (as in Francis Ford Coppola), and is within easy walking distance of several other good eateries.

If you're going to be in New York City, you owe it to yourself to at least look into the Lucerne.

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Photo by Carl Dombek
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