Pod 39 Hotel
In an elegant brick building in Manhattan’s Murray Hill, this excellent budget option opened following the success of sister hotel, The Pod. It trumps the elder sibling – now renamed Pod 51 – as all its rooms are en suite and it has a fabulous brick-pillared rooftop bar serving tacos and a warm atmosphere amid fairylights and stunning views. The rooms, some with bunk beds, are called pods given their compact size and may not suit everyone. But with prices among the most competitive in Manhattan, budgeters will be happy. Other nice touches include free passes to customised group walking tours of the city, held four days a week by guides Streetwise New York.
• Doubles from $95 room only, 145 East 39th Street, New York, NY 10016, +1 212 865 5700, thepodhotel.com
BKLYN House Hotel
Proclaiming itself “a Bushwick-inspired hotel”, this no-frills boutique property opened late last year on the fringes of the neighbourhood long dubbed “the new Williamsburg”. It features works by Brooklyn artists on rotation and has joined forces with local businesses for things such as coffee. The 116 rooms are good value – and Manhattan is only 20 minutes away by taxi or subway. The immediate surroundings feel urban – the hotel is by a high-rise public housing project while the nearest commercial street is under elevated subway tracks – but Bushwick’s best bars and cafes/restaurants are nearby. The minimally furnished, wood-floored rooms have a cool, sparse style; some have decent views of the distant city skyline. The project will benefit from a planned rooftop bar and front terrace, but could also do with an additional elevator (housekeeping and guests currently share one).
• Doubles from $99 B&B, 9 Beaver Street, Brooklyn, NY 11206, +1 718 388 4433, bklynhousehotel.com
Hampton Inn Brooklyn/Downtown
A chain hotel, but not as you know it. This Hilton brand subsidiary was opened two years ago near the busy and slightly out-the-way approach to the Manhattan bridge. Given its Brooklyn setting, the 117-room property has tried to avoid the cliched soullessness attached to many franchise hotels. Hence the full-service fireside bar, local photography and artwork on the walls, and gourmet chocolate-covered pretzels by local firm Fatty Sundays as arrival treats. A pair of top-floor terrace rooms with wraparound patios offer stunning Manhattan views – the kind you’d pay far more for on the other side of the bridge.
• Doubles from $136 B&B, 125 Flatbush Avenue Extension, Brooklyn, New York, 11201, +1 718 875 8800, hamptoninn3.hilton.com
The Brooklyn – A Hotel
This boutique offering opened in 2015 and is in the fast-gentrifying Bedford-Stuyvesant area. It is a 30-minute subway ride from Manhattan, and, as the name suggests, it’s going all-in on the famous borough’s brand, stencilling summaries and images of its neighbourhoods on walls amid modern and minimal decor, such as polished hardwood ceilings. The hotel does not offer room service, and its location on a big, perpetually busy road may prove too noisy for some, but it does offer in-room fridges, microwaves, Nespresso coffee machines, and continental breakfast. Atlantic Avenue can feel a little shady at night but, hey, it’s proper “Brooklyn”.
• Doubles from $139 B&B, 1199 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11216, +1 718 789 1500, thebrooklynny.com
Z NYC Hotel
One of several hotels to open recently in Long Island City, Queens, Z NYC beats out its competitors with unrivalled views of the Manhattan skyline from many of its 100 west-facing rooms, a few blocks from the East river. Floor-to-ceiling windows maximise the views – though the direct sunlight streaming in can leave the somewhat antiquated air-conditioning units struggling to keep things cool. The rooms – a touch overly sleek (black headboards and red leather couches) are nonetheless welcomingly big for New York. A spacious basement bar-restaurant is in the process of a revamp, while a sprawling rooftop bar opens in the summer. A handy complimentary shuttle service between the hotel and Manhattan leaves every hour in both directions 7am-11.30pm.
• Doubles from $145 room only, 11-01 43rd Avenue, Long Island City, NY 11101, +1 212 319 7000, zhotelny.com
The Boro Hotel
Another of the recent additions to the Long Island City hotel scene, The Boro opened in the middle of 2015 on a predominantly residential street a couple of subway stops into Queens. Contemporary by design, guests arrive to a beautifully airy glass-walled lobby, where fresh pastries and good coffee are served alongside other continental breakfast offerings. A rooftop deck has expansive views of the growing Queens skyline nearby, as well as Manhattan and the iconic 59th Street bridge in the background. Rooms, described as “industrial chic”, also feature floor-to-ceiling windows. A small number of guest reviews have complained of rowdy rooftop parties, and problems heating rooms in the depths of a New York winter. But the overwhelming majority praised the hotel’s cool aesthetic and friendly staff.
• Doubles from $153 room only, 38-28 27th Street, Long Island City, NY 11101, +1 718 433 1375, borohotel.com
CitizenM New York Times Square
This is the first US location for a Netherlands-based concept hotel chain – CitizenM – that specialises in what it refers to as “affordable luxury”. The 21-floor hotel, which opened in 2014, features self check-in at its 230 compact but comfy rooms via touchscreen “MoodPads”. A soaring, art-filled lobby is styled like an oversized living room by Swiss furniture brand Vitra, while Amsterdam’s leading creative bookshop, Mendo, also has an outpost here. There’s a rooftop bar with panoramic views, a 24-hour grab-and-go cafeteria, a stylish cocktail and coffee bar, and an area with communal iMac workspaces. Although New Yorkers avoid nearby Times Square like Londoners shun Leicester Square, all the lights, cameras and action can make it a fun tourist experience.
• Doubles from $170 room only, 218 West 50th Street, New York, NY, 10019, +1 212 461 3638, citizenm.com
A new boutique option in less-visited uptown Manhattan, the 11-floor Edge towers over a hodgepodge of adjacent brownstone houses, apartment buildings and churches. The exterior is unexciting but the hotel comes to life in its 54 small-but-stylish rooms, complemented by splashes of colour, wood finishes and great views of the Hudson river to the north and the city to the south. The surrounding Washington Heights area, traditionally home to Latino communities – particularly those originating from the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico – is well worth exploring. Among the highlights: the recently restored High bridge, New York City’s oldest standing bridge connecting Manhattan and the Bronx; the Met Cloisters, featuring medieval European art and architecture in beautiful Fort Tryon park; and Malecon restaurant, serving authentic Caribbean food.
• Doubles from $179 B&B, 514 West 168th Street, New York, NY 10032, +1 212 543 0005, edgehotelnyc.com
A good, new boutique choice in lower Manhattan – rebranded in 2015 from a previous incarnation as Be Hotel – Leon is well liked for its affordability, location and 40 stylish rooms with handmade furniture. The hotel is named after Leon Moisseiff, a Latvian immigrant and one of the architects of the nearby Manhattan bridge, and puts you close to the bars and restaurants of the Lower East Side and Nolita, but also on the edge of Chinatown. Worth visiting there: Nom Wah Tea Parlor, its oldest and still finest dim sum spot; the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory, for unusual flavours such as red bean and black sesame; and Mr Fong’s, which the New York Times calls “Chinatown’s unlikely new ‘it’ bar.”
• Doubles from $175 room only, 125 Canal Street, New York, NY 10002, +1 212 390 8833, leonhotelnyc.com
Visitors eager to stay in the heart of Manhattan should try to snag one of the bargain-priced rooms at this boutique hotel that opened in the garment district in 2014. Rates run the gamut from great value to expensive; some start from as low as $179 a night (if prepaying in full). Rooms are small but tasteful, with nice touches such as exposed brick, and smartly laid out, with storage space beneath beds. Some have close-up views of the Empire State Building (a few blocks to the south), and of the city’s quaint wooden water towers ubiquitously atop tall buildings. Spyglass, the trendy outdoor bar at the top of this 22-storey brick, glass and steel structure, has the same view south, as well as great cocktails and a limited, but inventive, mix of snacks and small plates to nibble at. Ground-floor restaurant David Burke Fabrick offers fancier dining.
• Doubles from $199 room only, 45 West 38th Street, New York, NY 10018, +1 212 719 4100, archerhotel.com
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