You won't find conference rooms or a health club, but you will find that this family-owned hotel has been thriving for over a century right in the heart of downtown New Haven. The hotel is situated just steps from Yale University and the thriving dining and shopping located on Chapel Street. Don't ... More
Property information by Wcities, Inc
You won't find conference rooms or a health club, but you will find that this family-owned hotel has been thriving for over a century right in the heart of downtown New Haven. The hotel is situated just steps from Yale University and the thriving dining and shopping located on Chapel Street. Don't expect to find trendy comforts here other than cable TV, because the hotel boasts more character than luxury, but it is a steadfast favorite with those who truly want to escape the harried rush of today and enjoy the comforts of yesteryear.
a very classic hotel, a number of steps above a cheap motel, but no 5 star resort. we were very pleased with the service and our stay at this hotel. take the great marble staircase or a very classic hand operated elevator up to your room.
I've stayed at the Duncan two years in a row now. If the conference I attended these past two years wasn't moving to another city in 2011, I'd stay again.
The location is great, the price unbeatable, the service excellent (especially from the elevator operator, who has a far better education than 99% of his passengers), and while the building is old and a bit tatty, it's not unpleasant. I think that's called character, actually.
The lobby is fabulous, and I wish I had a weekend to spend just sitting there with coffee, book and time to watch people go by. My room was clean, the bed fresh (except the duvet, but those are never any good in hotels) and the washroom at least as clean as my own at home. This was true both times I stayed at the Duncan, and was true for my two travelling companions in their rooms as well.
Unless you want to be an accidental tourist, a travelling armchair who dreams of being at home, this is a fine place to stay. If you want to immerse yourself in the place you travel to, stay at the Duncan. It's part of New Haven's history, and part of its present. Heck, you might even loosen up and enjoy yourself.
Not particularly cheap.
Located close to yale, but so are other better hotels.
The quirky lift and the guy taking you up and down was the only ok part.
Room stank of cigarettes, and in need of desperate revamp.
Ancient heating system that clanked all night long. Clank for the hour warm up, hiss hot steam into the room for an hour, then clank for an hour warming down. We contacted lobby to inform them of noise and steam and were assured that the heating wouldn't be on again that night so there was nothing to worry about. This was untrue, and we woke every 2 hours. Horrible for two adults, horrendous for a baby!
Next morning, staff were unperturbed by our lack of sleep and could only offer an insincere apology.
For a few extra dollars, say somewhere comfortable. What was once I'm sure an authentic yale hotel with character, is by now a dump.
Likes: Was the cheapest hotel around which is why I stayed here and it was pretty close to the green, bus stops, downtown clubs, and eateries. They locked the doors at night as well but you just ring a bell and they let you in.
Dislikes: Well like I said it was a cheaper hotel of the bunch. I came in and although the bed sheets were nicely folded you could tell they weren't so clean. There was a box of trojan condoms in a drawer next to the bed. If they really did clean and check the place that would have never been left there. The tub still had hair (looked like female) in it.
Any hotel assumes you're going to have at least TWO people stay in the room. I had some friends come over one night as I got ready to go to the club and I received a call from the front desk saying that they would charge me per person if the people spent any more time in the room! What kind of crap is that? I couldn't even have a friend stay with me in the same room because they bumped up my nightly rate which I could not afford.
Overall they did help me when I needed help or directions but due to the room for improvement in cleanliness and the greed from not allowing other people in the room I cannot recommend this hotel. If management changed then maybe things would get better.
i found duncan old and unclean. the carpet was greasy, bathroom floor had blood (!) stains, and the noise from the cooler (not ac) was earsplitting. one day, the cleaning person forgot to replace the trash bag and clean the bathroom. moreover, i found a bag of melted mozzarella cheese that earlier guests had left in the fridge. sometimes the front desk person was friendly, but other times the person on shift was not as nice. i live in it only because it is probably the closest to yale (and cheaper than the study hotel next door). other than that, i cant think of any particular reason to stay here.
Location is everything when trying to visit your children at Yale. All the hotels in the area raise and lower their prices at the drop of a hat when they know parents are arriving. Forget about Parent's weekend and move in day! If you didn't book ayear aheard you're out of luck or paying $400-600 per day.
The Duncan is not the Ritz but is nice enough for a few nights. I spend the days visiting and sightseeing, so a clean and friendly place is great. The beds could be better, oh well...
Booking is only a month or so out.. so you can get a room in the heart of campus when all else is sold out.
I love the staff and get great service.
People seem to either love or hate the Duncan. Unfortunately, I'm in the latter category. I've stayed at this hotel twice (once in 2007 and once in 2008), and I had a miserable experience both times. The rooms are in poor physical condition. My air conditioner was noisy, the door handle broke, the bathroom door wouldn't close all the way, and I could hear people coming and going in the stairwell all night.
More problematically, the hotel staff seems angry and sullen. When I called in advance, the person answering the phone claimed that garage parking was available down the street at an additional nightly rate. But when I checked in, the garage attendant had already left for the night even though the garage was still open. I asked the the clerk at the Duncan what I needed to do to make sure my car was okay there, and he snapped "I don't work there, so why the hell would you ask me about it?" They also insist on making you leave your room key at the front desk every time you leave the hotel. This was annoying at best and personally invasive at worst. They also threatened to charge me for bringing another guest back to my room to watch television for half-an-hour.
On my most recent trip to New Haven, I stayed at the Super 8 in West Haven. Yale was a 10-minute drive away, but at almost same price as the Duncan, the service was 10 times better and totally worth it. In sum, until the owners of the Duncan get with the times, I wouldn't recommend it to anyone.
First, let me say that the only time a maid has ever thanked me for a tip was at the Duncan. The bellhop seemed genuinely surprised to be tipped for taking my bag to the room door, and the concierge was helpful and friendly enough, both on the phone and in person.
I came across the Duncan when my son took me to the Thai restaurant in the basement. I’m glad I noticed it, because when I wanted a reservation for Yale Parents Weekend, every other hotel was blacked out—and this four months in advance! The Marriott had one room around $350 a night which may be a song for many Yale parents, but certainly not this one. I got a room for $100 a night at the Duncan and was quite happy with it.
The location is perfect. It’s on the part of the Yale campus that houses three art museums, the school or architecture, and the school of drama. It’s only a half mile from Ezra Stiles, my son’s college. There are lots of restaurants (including Louis Lunch), shops, and attractions nearby. The Duncan doesn’t have wifi, but there are several places within a block or so where you can grab a cuppa, open your laptop, and catch up on emails. Staying at the Duncan, rather than a low-priced motel out of town, allowed me to take a shuttle from JFK rather than renting a car, a big plus for me.
Sure, some of the nooks and crannies were dusty. It’s an old hotel, which means a lot of the pipes and electrical are not hidden in the walls. Those things attract dust. I live in an old house that has lots of dust catchers. The essentials were clean, though—carpets, bedding, towels (and they gave me more than enough), furniture. I found the room comfortable enough to watch TV or read. Besides, I like old places with character. I can picture Barbara Stanwyck striding across the lobby or Madeleine Kahn riding up the elevator. Or maybe Gloria Swanson sweeping down the staircase.
A word on the visitor policy: I had read in a few reviews that they do not allow visitors in the rooms. When my son wanted to see my room, I asked the concierge if it would be all right. He had no objection at all. It’s rowdy parties they want to avoid, not one or two quiet visitors.
For big events such as Yale Parents Weekend or graduation, they don’t take reservations until a certain date. Then they start at 8 a.m. EST and are full by 9, so if you are looking for a place for these must-have dates, it can be a nail-biter waiting for that day and redialing again and again until you get through. Both times I needed a room, I got one, but you have to jump through that hoop. The reservation is contingent on a deposit by check (you can pay the remainder by credit card when you check out). I followed up with a phone call to make sure it was received.
I have booked two rooms for graduation, and am looking forward to enjoying the ambience of the hotel and neighborhood once again.
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