New York City, the Big Apple, NYC, the City that Never Sleeps – call it what you want, New York is most definitely one of the most exciting cities to visit in the world.
We’ve all grown up watching bits of New York life on our TV and cinema screens, so much so that anyone traveling to New York probably has a long list of ‘must visits’ while in the city.
Travelers need to spend more time planning their daily itineraries rather than stressing about where to stay in New York. This is why we’ve created the ultimate New York accommodation guide – to make your planning process a little bit easier!
We’ve covered all the bases for the best places to stay in New York City – from budget-friendly hotels and vibey hostels to hip hotels and apartments. Browse through the below New York accommodation tips to help make the best choice on where to stay.
Where to stay in New York: The Five Boroughs of New York City
If you want to stay in the city, you need to learn about the different areas.
New York City is composed of five boroughs – The Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island and Manhattan. Manhattan and Staten Island are islands, while Brooklyn and Queens are geographically part of Long Island, and the Bronx is attached to the US mainland. These are all linked by bridges, tunnels, and ferries.
Each borough has its unique features and attractions. Where you end up staying in New York will depend on your budget and what you are looking to experience in the city. Depending on how many days you are spending in the city, it could be a good idea to move between two or three boroughs to experience the different vibes. Otherwise, with public transport its easy to hop around and experience all of the city.
Manhattan is where it’s happening. Most of the city’s tourist sights are located around midtown and downtown, including the Empire State Building and Central Park, therefore accommodation here can be quite pricey. If you’re keen on being in the center of the action, then start your NYC accommodations search here and see if you can find something within your price range. For somewhere still central, but a bit quieter, look for accommodation near Central Park.
For those with a high budget, the Upper East Side may be your vibe. This posh, residential neighborhood is known for its wealthy residents, fancy restaurants and designer shops along Madison Avenue. It’s a pretty neighborhood and also home to The Metropolitan and Guggenheim museums, along with Frick Gallery.
Other popular neighborhoods in Manhattan include the Meatpacking District, Chelsea, East Harlem, Chinatown, Battery Park City, Greenwich Village, Harlem, Flatiron District, Lower East Side, Lower Manhattan, SoHo and Times Square.
Home to the New York Yankees, the Bronx Zoo and the New York Botanical Gardens, along with being the birthplace of hip-hop. The Bronx is gritty, vibey, and full of attitude. Discover the neighborhoods of City Island, Fordham, Arthur Avenue & Belmont (aka ‘Little Italy’), Woodlawn, and South Bronx’s Grand Concourse.
From art lovers and foodies, to outdoors folks and sport lovers, there’s something for everyone to love in Queens. Sports fans will go crazy watching a New York Mets baseball game at Citi Field along with going to the venue where the US Open hosts the world’s best tennis players. Foodies will love the various cuisines that can be found on the streets – from delicious Greek cuisine to authentic Chinese food. For the art fans, there’s MoMA PS1 and Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City. The beautiful Queens Botanical Garden is ideal for travelers who love the outdoors.
Neighborhoods in this side of the city include Astoria, Corona, Flushing, Forest Hills, Jackson Heights, Jamaica, Long Island City, The Rockaways and Sunnyside.
Brooklyn offers something for every kind of traveler. There’s Williamsburg for cutting edge entertainment, live music, and awesome vintage shops. Downtown Brooklyn is then home to Barclays Center, where you’ll find pro hockey and basketball. Families with young kids enjoy Prospect Park and the sidewalks of Park Slope. Not to mention the famous Brooklyn Bridge, which every visit to New York needs to include.
Renowned for its museums, beaches, parklands, and historic landmarks – Staten Island shouldn’t be forgotten about when planning a trip to New York. It’s home to the city’s largest forest preserve – the Staten Island Greenbelt. Baseball fans can watch a game at Richmond County Bank Ballpark, while history buffs can experience colonial life at Historic Richmond Town. Even if you aren’t planning on staying on Staten Island, you should at least take advantage of the free Staten Island Ferry. It’s an attraction in its own right.
Where To Stay In New York City
Now that you’ve got a bit more knowledge about the areas of New York, let’s start looking at New York accommodation options. From easy on the budget hostels and quaint boutique hotels to high-end luxury hotels and funky apartment rentals – we’ve covered a wide variety of places to stay in New York.
If there’s something specific you’re after, like somewhere with an interesting history, then check out our unique NYC accommodation guide that highlights a few hotels with unique features.
Related Read: Guide to Renting a Holiday Home
Budget-friendly hotels in New York City
We get it. New York is EXPENSIVE! If you’d rather save your dollars for pizza, dancing, and museum hopping than a fancy place to stay, these hotels are for you. We haven’t gone completely back-end alley hotel vibe, but rather hunted down some awesome budget-friendly New York hotels that aren’t riddled with cockroaches and strange smells.
Ameritania at Times Square
While not the most budget-friendly hotel when looking at the whole of New York, Ameritania at Times Square is probably one of the cheapest (nice) hotels in the Times Square area. Located right in the heart of the Theatre District, next to The Ed Sullivan Theater – the location is hot! The rooms are spacious with fun and colorful décor. It’s also less than a kilometer away from Central Park.
There are a few Pod hotel’s across New York City and Brooklyn. Pod 39 in particular is located 500 meters from Grand Central Terminal and features a restaurant, lounge, and seasonal rooftop bar. There’s also a games room with table tennis! The rooms include all the basic amenities that you’d need – free Wi-Fi, air-conditioning, cable TV, and an ensuite bathroom. Though, as the name would suggest, they are small. Some (though less budget-friendly) also have views of the Manhattan skyline.
Hostels in New York City
You’re young, fabulous, and looking to socialize. Cool. A New York hostel is where you should be looking to stay. We’ve found a few of the best hostels in New York, browse through the below and see which one matches your travel style.
P.S – check out our guide on staying at a hostel.
HI NYC Hostel
Housed in a landmark historic Victorian Gothic-style building in the famous Upper West Side neighborhood in Manhattan. HI NYC Hostel has the largest privately-owned patio and green space in Manhattan – and it’s located near Central Park, so you’ll find plenty of greenery in the concrete jungle when staying here. They host a few free programs and events to get to know fellow travelers as well as the popular tourist attractions. Shared facilities include kitchen, laundry facilities, game room, common room and fun rooftop area. Both male and female dorm rooms are available, along with family rooms.
Vanderbilt YMCA has an amazing location in Midtown Manhattan, just a 10-minute walk from the Grand Central train station. Rooms are basic but include a flat-screen TV with cable and a refrigerator. Shared facilities include a kitchen, lounges, and bathrooms, along with two swimming pools, steam rooms, saunas, and a fitness center.
Jazz on Columbus Circle
Right next to Central Park, Jazz on Columbus Circle has an ideal location in the heart of New York City – surrounded by restaurants, bars, clubs, shops, and cultural attractions. All rooms, either shared, private or family, have daily housekeeping, a private bathroom, lockers, towels, and linen. There’s also a lounge area and coffee bar, plus the staff organize events and outings to get to know the city better.
Boutique hotels in New York City
Quaint, cute, friendly and just an overall lovely stay. If you love a personal approach and prefer a smaller hotel over a large hotel chain, then you’re probably a boutique hotel kind of traveler. Here are a few of the best boutique hotels in New York.
The Ravel Hotel
Located in Long Island City, The Ravel Hotel overlooks the East River and Roosevelt Island. The main highlight here is the 9,500 square foot Penthouse 808, an outdoor/indoor rooftop restaurant and nightclub. This is one of New York’s popular hot spots for dinners during the week, late night parties on the weekends and bunch on Sundays. Guests get free use of their shuttles to local subways and restaurants.
Hotel Giraffe is located in a tall and skinny building on Park Avenue and 26th Street. The 72 guestrooms feature 10-foot ceilings, original 1920s and 1930s artwork, leather headboards, and balconies overlooking the Flatiron District. The rooftop garden is popular amongst guests and is where you can get a complimentary breakfast as well as free cheese and wine with live music each evening. Quaint Giraffe accents can be found throughout.
The 10-story, 56-room Hôtel Americano is located in the heart of Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood, amongst top-class art galleries and New York’s famed High Line Park. Besides the spectacularly decorated rooms, the hotel also features La Piscine – a rooftop restaurant offering coastal Mexican cuisine and a bar specializing in tequila and mezcal. There’s also The Americano which serves Latin-inspired French cuisine. Guests are welcome to make use of the hotel’s bicycles to explore the surrounding neighborhood.
Luxury five-star hotels in New York City
You’re only in New York once right? Well maybe not, but there’s nothing stopping you from acting like it. Why not splash out and experience some of the most lavish and luxurious hotels in the world. We’ve found a few of the top luxury five-star hotels in New York for you to check out.
The Greenwich Hotel
One of the best features of The Greenwich Hotel is its prime location in TriBeCa. Its luxurious 88 rooms and suites feature décor from around the world including Tibetan silk rugs, Swedish bedding, and Moroccan tile – only the best of everything. The rest of the hotel features a Japanese-inspired Zen atmosphere, topped off with poolside yoga, full-service spa, and Japanese art and design throughout the common areas. You can dine like a true celebrity by ordering off the menu of the nearby Locanda Verde while relaxing in the Drawing Room & Courtyard.
The Mark is famous for being the top spot where many celebrities get ready before attending the Met Gala each year. Located in the Upper East Side, this hotel is all about luxurious elegance. While the string of high-end luxury boutiques on 5th-Avenue is nearby, guests don’t really need to leave the hotel to indulge in some shopping. The Mark offers room service prepared by renowned chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, sweet treats by Ladurée, a Frédéric Fekkai salon, and 24/7 access to Bergdorf Goodman for its penthouse guests. Expect nothing but top-class service, facilities, and features.
The St. Regis New York
Staying at The St. Regis New York is a dream for many travelers to New York. This iconic hotel is the epitome of fashion and glamour, starting with its gold and marble lobby and grand entranceway. The luxurious interiors extend to the specialty themed suites inspired by Dior (pictured here), Tiffany & Co., and Bentley. The features and amenities are second to none, including private butlers and use of the Bentley House car.
New York Accommodation With….
…an interesting history
Paper Factory Hotel
The Paper Factory Hotel is housed in a 100-year old paper factory building, located in the heart of Long Island City. It’s a bit further out from the main Manhattan highlights, but it’s not far from a subway station which makes getting around easy to do. The décor is quirky and interesting, incorporating as much of the original repurposed material as possible. Expect vintage hammered metal doors, expansive factory windows and exposed pipes. There’s also an on-site bar with delicious cocktails and the in-house restaurant, Mundo, serves Peruvian and Argentinian cuisine
…an eco-friendly policy
citizenM New York Times Square
citizenM New York Times Square is less than five minutes on foot to Times Square, 10 minutes to Central Park and close to all of the Broadway shows. The rooms are built to meet BREEAM and LEED sustainability standards, this means smaller rooms with awesome technology to help lower the carbon footprint. Each room has a mood pad where you can control the lights, air-conditioning, curtains, and entertainment system. You can even select a mood, like party or business, and the mood pad will automatically set everything to create the ideal mood. Other eco-friendly policies include full size shampoo and soap bottles, and rain showers.
…A unique design
The NoMad Hotel
The NoMad Hotel is a French inspired boutique hotel in the Flatiron District. The central location is surrounded by walkable areas like Madison Square Park, Gramercy Park, and Union Square. Inside, guests are transported to Paris with décor including mahogany French desks, elegant artwork, chandeliers, old school free standing bathtubs, and other custom-made furniture and linens. Every room offers a view of the atrium or New York City. There are seven dining spaces available, including the Atrium, The Parlour, The Nomad Bar, The Elephant Bar, Fireplace, Library, and Rooftop. Breakfast is included in all rates.
The Jane Hotel is a living work of art, once home to sailors and Titanic survivors. The rooms in this boutique hotel are designed as ship’s cabins with warm colors and period furnishings. The common areas are decked with period décor, creating a warm and unique atmosphere – guests feel like they’re living in an old-fashioned ship. The Jane is in the super trendy Meat Packing District, close to both Soho and Chelsea.
…a true New York experience
The Ludlow Hotel
The Ludlow Hotel is the Lower East Side’s hip new living room with a singular, loft-like feel and welcoming vibrant public spaces. Designed by New York hoteliers Sean MacPherson, Ira Drukier, and Richard Born, this hotel has a distinct New York atmosphere. The design evokes the neighborhoods history – including the ‘Gangs of New York’ era, the Jewish immigration and the wild art and music scenes. The rooms have a lofty industrial vibe with large windows overlooking the New York skyline and modern, yet cozy, interiors.
And if you’re budget can’t afford any of the above hotels, you can always try CouchSurfing! We hope that this post has helped you with deciding where to stay in New York.
Looking for more info on planning a trip to New York? Check out these posts:
- 10 Things to Do in New York With Kids
- Top Free Things to do in New York City
- Tips for Visiting the Statue of Liberty, New York
- Hiking Mohonk in New York’s Hudson Valley
- How to Be a New York Tourist: Do’s and Don’ts
Prices correct at time of writing.
Travel tip shared by Bridget for Travel Dudes