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Overnight at a JFK Airport hotel

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We are arriving from the West Coast to JFK at 4 p.m. and are flying out the next day to London at 6:45 pm. Don't know what to do! From what I read, the airport hotels are not in an area where we can easily go out to eat and there's nothing to do in the area the next day (We don't have to be at JFK until 3:30 pm). On the other hand, we're not travelling light (we'll be at the end of a 6 week trip in the States so we'll have two suitcases etc..), and dragging the luggage into Manhattan and back for a 24 hour stay seems illogical. We are not landing at or leaving from the terminals with luggage storage, so that's out.
We had an option to spend 2 nights in NY before flying to London but since we're going to be in NY for 4 days at the beginning of our trip, we didn't feel that it was necessary. On the other hand, we don't want to waste our time just sitting around the hotel. That's aside from the fact that we just want a clean (important!) basic hotel and it's hard to know what the hotels are like from the reviews I've read. Most of them get mixed reviews (towards to negative.) If I have to pay $160 - $200 to get a decent hotel in the area, I'd rather go into New York.
Has anybody had a recent experience with this situation?

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