November 4, 2000
If you're female, you can request a women's dorm room when you make a reservation, but remind the front desk of your request at check in.
The rooms have no air conditioning, but you can open your window in the summer and/or bring a small fan with you to stay comfortable. The hostel will provide clean sheets and pillows for an extra charge, but you can bring your own bedding, too. As of Summer 2000, rooms were $30 each plus tax, so you can't beat the price. Hopefully, you're not in NYC to live in your hotel room, anyway.
The Aladdin has shared bathrooms on each floor and only one elevator, but two separate stairways. Sometimes it's faster and easier to just take the stairs.
There are lockers on the first floor for an extra couple of bucks. There is also Internet access for around one dollar for three minutes! If you must check your e-mail, you can go to the Visitors Center a couple of blocks towards Times Square. It's free and the lines go pretty fast.
There is a smoking lobby in the hostel, as well as the regular non-smoking one. If you want to meet the international students (the main hostel clientele), you either have to be a smoker or at least be able to handle the smoking lobby because most of them hang out there.
Overall, the experience was very good. It provided a true New York-native feeling that you wouldn't find at a chain hotel. And anytime you want to be pampered, without spending $200+ per night, walk two blocks down to the Marriott Marquis. You can order a cup of coffee in the lounge area and soak in the elegant atmosphere before turning in for the night.
From journal Tour Without Being a Tourist