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The Melva Inn - Harlem

2.5 out of 5.0

Recent guest reviews

The construction plan of the room (Baldwin) was a bit odd and strange: like a long corridor led to the bed at the end of the room. And no place really to put a suitcase, except for maybe underneath the chest of drawers - if the suitcase isn´t too thick. The bed was not made everyday (don´t know if it was supposed to) and bring your own soap/shampoo. Also notice that you will get the codes to get in by email, and you can´t check in before 3 pm. I don´t think there was any AC in the room, just a fan in the ceiling. The free wifi connection was excellent and on the whole I found it good value for the money.

The worst experience, I would not recommend this place for anyone, especially for a woman staying alone. It looks suspect and unsafe. I arrived followed the instructions given gained access to the foyer area which looks very suspect, as I headed to my room up stairs which was not very clean and appealing. The room that was assigned to me had holes I the door. The key left for me to access the room did not work to allow me access. When I phone I was told some one would meet me shorty to help me get access to my room. 30 minutes later and standing in the heat outside (because inside the foyer area was hotter) no one showed up. I phoned again she said they are on the way. I called an uber and while waiting on my uber no one showed up. I requested a full refund because Melva Inn breached the contract. They gave me a refund minus my deposit and when I requested my deposit back because of they're failure to fulfill the contract they stopped all communications by phone and email. I had to file a fraud complaint on my credit card and provide the documentation (emails, videos and photos I took while inside Melva Inn) to be made financially whole again. I had to find other accommodations on such short notice.

Me and my best friend (both 21 from Europe) booked the James Baldwin room for a stay of 5 nights. After Reading these comments we were nervous especially because people were having problems with the door codes. After we arrived at 9 PM we punched in the door codes and within 5 seconds we were in, no problems whatsoever. Our roomkey was in an envelope on the door en before we knew it we were in. The Innkeeper checked with us How we were doing and after that we didnt see her anymore. The room was small but perfect for 2 people. We had our own shower, toilet and sink wich is pretty unique for that price in a great neighbourhood in Manhattan. Our windows were drafting but we put a tower before the curtain so the wind would stay out and we put on the heater. We brought our own towels wich was a good choice since we didnt get any roomservice, but we didnt care. Location is great, 5 min. From the Subway to midtown and 10 min. From the main Street in Harlem with shops and a supermarket. Harlem is such a warm and Unique area in Manhattan, we loved it! My friend and I don’t understand the negativity about the Melva Inn. It was a great room and a great location for that price in such a good location. We didnt intend to be in our room 24/7 in the Big Apple and maybe that saved us, we dont know. We would definitely recommand The Melva Inn to others!!

The Melva Inn has gotten some lousy TA reports, and indeed it does have some problems – which could be easily solved with a bit of imagination on the part of the owners. However, when all is said and done it offers very good value for money given the generally extortionate room prices in Manhattan. To deal with the problems first, obviously based on my own experience of a three-week stay:- There is no reception, which is probably fair enough for a small place: that would be a major expense. Over the first couple of days I had problems with the door codes not working and, judging from other TA reports, I’m not alone in this. To be fair, after the initial teething problems, they worked fine, but nothing induces more anxiety than not being able to get into your building late at night: the system needs to be foolproof, and at the moment it clearly isn’t. The back-up system involves contact by email or telephone, but here again response is patchy: it shouldn’t be difficult these days to ensure that somebody is on electronic hand to reply instantaneously to queries from what is only ever a handful of guests. Housekeeping is another area in which costs are saved – and again fair enough: visitors wanting to save money are probably happy enough not to have fresh towels and their room cleaned every day. The problem is that there is no obvious or announced schedule: my room was cleaned on days 6, 8, and 13 of my 20-day stay. It would be better to announce that rooms would be cleaned every three days, or on Wednesdays and Saturdays, or whatever, so that everybody knew what to expect. One last complaint:- The place obviously has pretensions, as the use of the wholly inappropriate term ‘inn’ suggests. The rooms are named after writers, a nice enough idea except that the rooms have no identifying features: I thought I was staying in the Zora Neale Hurston room, but halfway through my stay it turned out I was in the Maya Angelou room. For a small outlay there could be nameplates outside the doors, and a framed photograph and perhaps short biography in the currently rather featureless rooms. But I do also want to underline the positive aspects of the place. I don’t think you’ll find rooms this cheap with a private bathroom so close to downtown Manhattan. And given that space is at a premium in New York, the rooms are large, as one would expect in a handsome old brownstone. High ceilings too, which is important if you’re spending much time there: even expensive hotel rooms downtown can quickly get claustrophic. The bathroom is small but adequate, likewise closet space. The bed is big and comfortable. Wifi is free and worked perfectly for all three weeks. There’s a good size TV and a fridge. (It’s something of a puzzle, however, that in such a big room there is no armchair or desk: a bit more thinking is needed on the interior design.) The other major advantage is the situation. The neighborhood is quiet and safe. Across the road is the best coffee-shop in Harlem (Il caffe latte). There are twenty decent restaurants within a ten-minute walk; and a Whole Foods five blocks away. Four blocks away is the express subway (2 and 3). After a couple of early hiccoughs, I felt that this was exactly the right place for a fairly lengthy stay on a tight budget.

PLEASE READ BEFORE BOOKING A ROOM HERE! First, this should not be called the Melva Inn, it should be called the Messy Inn. I booked the room a few months in advance and tried to call the place a week in advance before my trip and could not reach ANYBODY.  They already had my deposit and I was very concerned. The number on their website goes to a Google number and no one answered but my friend found a different number and we were able to reach a THIS LADY (C) by phone, who assured us we would receive the door code the Tuesday or Wednesday before our trip. Well, Tuesday passed and on Wednesday, I did not receive a code. We had to call her and email her SEVERAL TIMES before we received the code. This incident here set a tone for the travel day of our trip. And I felt we should have received some type of email confirmation from them. We get to NY and our ride did not come through so we had to take a billion subways to get to the room. Well after finally finding the room, we get there and the code DOES NOT work. I entered the correct code several times and we are standing in (C) rain and it did not work. My friend decided to call and after speaking to THIS LADY the code worked. So I personally think she activated it at that point to make sure we were actually coming. As we were leaving the room, before we shut the door, I wanted to make sure it worked and again, it DID NOT work and we had to call her AGAIN to get it activated but after that, we had no more issues with the door code. She knocks on our room Saturday morning to do some fake discussion on our plans for that day (this was for a reason but I will get to that later). We kind of tell her but I had an uneasy feeling about her (which turned out right). After about 5 minutes of polite conversation, she then proceeds to say, she needs to charge my room 3% fee total because of some NY hotel tax or whatever.  I proceed to tell her that fee is not on the website nor can she charge that fee without my approval. She stated if I gave her CASH, I could avoid the fee. So my homegirl and I whispered what our next move will be (thin walls) and she suggested I get a money order because this lady I had an uneasy feeling about was NOT getting cash from me. I needed a paper trail in case she tried something funny. We are sitting in front of the brownstone enjoying the beautiful neighborhood (the brownstone is in an excellent location and it is really pretty there) after a long day of sightseeing and the C lady coincidentally walks by. She comes back outside and proceeds to do that fake talk of how were we enjoying NY blah, blah, blah. So I then interrupted the fake talk and said, “ I got you a money order.” She started to stammer, “But, but, but….” Me: “It’s not made out to anyone so you can put whatever name you want on it.”  She calmed her behind after that. Now mind you, WE don’t know her and we are consumers and she treated us like we were one of her relatives.   As were leaving to go sightseeing on our last day, she proceeds to meet us at the foyer door (there are cameras above the room and she lives downstairs) to get the money order. I was floored! I had it in my backpack because there was no way in He DOUBLE HOCKEY STICKS I was going to keep anything of monetary value in that room because her energy did not speak well to me. This one here is the biggest. As we were literally sitting on the plane to go back home (she thought we were country bumpkins and could use her big city hustle on us), my friend gets a fraud alert on her text messages stating that someone tried to use her credit cards to make purchases at an orthodontist, child care services and to try and get like $250.00 out of her account. She used a third party vendor in Thailand to try to get these transactions to go through. So my friend can’t even relax going back home because she had to call from the tarmac about these charges. She waited for us to leave and started using them once at 7:30 and again at 7:45 that morning. Per her bank, the lady either wrote down the numbers or made copies of the card. My friend called and cussed this lady out for using her CC.   I am writing this long review hoping to save people aggravation and theft. We were on vacation, sightseeing and it was always in the back of my mind whether this lady was going to cut of the code and we can’t get in the room or was she going to steal from us (which she did. Energy does not lie). We should have enjoyed ourselves wholeheartedly but we could not. My friend and I snapped at each other because of this lady. I am thinking of all the tourists who may come from overseas to visit and she takes their things. If she was so brazen to do it with us, she may do it with anyone.  The room is cheap for a reason and customer service is so bad when trying to get  in touch with someone. Prior to booking the room, I had no issues reaching anyone and whoever answered the phone answered all my questions and concerns. BUT DO NOT GET A ROOM HERE. You cannot buy peace of mind. From here on out, I will always stay in hotels. My first and last time doing this. If you choose to book a room here, make sure you do it through Expedia or Travelocity or a website where you know you will get your money back.

this place should be called: "the messy inn" because, my child hood friend and i booked this reservation back in october of 2016, for our memorial day weekend trip may 25th to may 28th of 2017. when the week arrived for us to travel to new york for the very first time, we waited for an email to be sent to us about the key code to check into the room of the day of our arrival. we call several times and was told that an email would be sent within two hours which was the day before we leave to travel for new york. we did not get the email until late evening after 6pm on may 24th of 2017. once we arrived, we stood outside in the rain trying to put in this pin code and the code did not work. we call again and spoke with a lady name cheryl, who must have been the inn keeper of this establishment. no hospitality or apologies at all, she gave us two different pin codes and they did not work. finally the pin code she gave us from the email that we had originally worked. we figure she had just activated the pin code at that time, with hopes that she could run a scam on us. we got into the room and it was very small and the bathroom was very tight to get into, ignored to use it. before we left out of the room after getting settled in, we wanted to make sure that this pin code would work, before leaving out. once again the pin code stopped working. we called the same contact number and spoke with this lady name cheryl over the phone, telling us that she will make sure that the code is working by the time we return back from our site seeing of new york. this made us worried and uneasy about this establishment. when we return from our visit around harlem new york, the code did actually work, the next morning around 930am or 10am, we heard a knock on our door room, and it was the actual lady cheryl at the door, holding a laptop in her hand, asking did we get in okay. we know had a face to the unprofessional innkeeper of this home, what a look that we saw, we already stated to our selves this will be the last time we will ever do a b&b or rent a room out to an locals of a city again that we travel too. she then was asking us for the payment of our remaining balance of the room already and we had not been in the room for only one night. she stated that there was a 3% fee added to the melva inn system that they use when customers use credit or debit cards. my friend immediately stated, "wow this was not mention on your website" cheryl then stated" well we really accept cash". so we then explain to her that we would have to go to our bank, which was located around the corner to get, once we got dressed before site seeing, would that be okay? cheryl then inform us that be okay. once we closed the door and continue to get dressed for day 2 of our visit in new york, we decided to get a money order instead of the cash and that we planned to pay her on saturday, which would be the last night of our stay in new york, before sunday check out time. all because she seemed suspicious and unprofessional of how she handle the whole situation. we never got an apology of how the unprofessionalism of the email pin code and how the codes did not work, the first day of our arrival. it just seemed fishy and unprofessional. before we left out of the room, i left one light on inside the room, so we could actually see before entering after our return of site seeing, well, when we came back, we decided its friday night , lets sit out side on the stoop and just watch the neighborhood of the area of harlem new york, cheryl walked right up on us, and asking for the balance of our stay. we handed her a money order and acted funnythat it was not cash. the money order was not made out to the melva inn and we left it blank. when we return to room, we noticed that the light we left on was turned off. we knew someone had been inside our room. we checked out, sunday may 28th as we arrived to airport, a text alert came in on one of our phones, fraud alert, cherly made a copy of a debit card and charged of 300 dollars with our debit cards, she had invaded our privacy. nypd have been contacted and papers will be served to this innkeeper ms. cheryl. Thanks for your feedback! There is a problem. Please try again.

We arrived at the Inn to see immediately how much they "doctored" the photos they post for advertising. Burned out light bulbs in the main hallway chandelier and very dingy entrance. Room was so barren...not a single bar of soap, nor a drinking glass in the bathroom. TV was on a table beside the bed so you couldn't sit anywhere to watch it. We arrived on a warm day in May and there was no air conditioner (they were sitting in the hallway) and no fan. Room was stifling and since we had to keep windows open overnight, got no sleep due to the constant street noise. When we emailed our concerns we received no reply. There is no staff on site so you have no options when things are a problem...such as very noisy guests that clearly don't care about other guests. Loved the area but would NEVER stay there again.

I booked a reservation on their website for 3 days that I planned to visit New York City. After submitted the deposit and the reservation was successful on their website, I received an email that contain the details of the transaction. After receiving the email, I noticed that I entered the wrong date. I needed to extend the reservation by 1 day, so, I called the phone number entered in the reservation. No one answered the phone, so, I left a detailed message. I also tried to send communication via their website, but no luck. The contact form on the website doesn't work. I get an error whenever I try submit the form. I waited a few days and no call received. I called the number again and this time someone answered the phone. They recommended that I use the contact form to make adjustments. I notified them that the contact form did not work. She took down my email address and said someone would be getting back to me. I waited a few days and received no phone call, so, I called the number again. I spoke with the same lady and I let her know I had not received any communication. She asked me what the issue was again and before I could explain it, she asked what dates I wanted to cancel the reservation. Before I started to explain to her that I only wanted to extend the reservation, I decided to NOT to. I went ahead with her story to cancel it since it sounds like that is what she wanted and due to the poor communication, I didn't want to experience this when I was actually in New York. I still have not received the refund for the deposit that she stated I would get. I would not stay here in the future because of 1) poor communication 2) poor technology (website errorring out multiple times) 3) poor attitude of staff 4) not keeping your word of refunding my depositl

tiny room with no wardrobe so nowhere to hang your clothes. Aircon worked ok tho a bit noisey as it was right next to the bed. No bathroom as such, just a sink in a kind of cupboard and a shower cubicle in the room and a WC in a tiny closet. Not ideal, but it was modestly priced (for NYC) Clean and functional. Handy for the subway. Nice quiet street.

In the cab jotted the front door pin codes on piece of paper quickly as did not print and mobile phone was about to die. Tired from the long flight could not make out my writing tried several times to input code - was getting panicky banging on the door - tried another digit which worked to my relief as first time to Harlem not familiar. I was expecting a receptionist! Room large, spacious with double bed along with a pull out single sofa bed which was both very comfortable on the first floor. I did find hair in the sink, slight stain on bedspread, underwear in two different places and a bit dusty under the bed. When I did see the ladies who were pleasant and accommodating I mentioned about the underwear and noise disturbance above in family room, that did not change as owners not there to monitor. The WiFi was great, had TV a fridge but NO kettle, a small microwave would be useful. The location was very good for downtown Penn Station, local restaurant, cafes and wine bar very friendly, lots of history and Brownstones architecture amazing. Despite the couple issues I would visit again. Make sure you print pin codes and telephone details :))

68 West 120 Street New York NY

Hotel highlights

  • Walking distance to Central Park and Apollo Theater
  • Free WiFi in rooms and public areas

The Melva Inn - Harlem places you in Harlem, within a leisurely stroll of popular sights such as Central Park and Apollo Theater. This 5-room bed & breakfast welcomes guests with conveniences like free in-room WiFi.


A TV comes with cable channels, and guests can stay connected with free WiFi. Limited housekeeping is available.

Property features

Guests of The Melva Inn - Harlem have access to free WiFi in public areas. Limited parking is available.

Room options

Standard Triple Room, Ensuite, Garden View (Maya Angelou Room)

Full 2 | Sleeps 4

Standard Double Room, Ensuite (Hot Room)

Queen 1 | Sleeps 2

Standard Double Room, Ensuite (James Baldwin)

Full 1 | Sleeps 2

Standard Double Room, Private Bathroom, Garden View (Zora Neale Hurston)

Full 1 | Sleeps 4

Reviews from Trip Advisor

Trip Advisor aggregated rating

% of guests recommend this hotel

Total of 28 reviews