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Best budget hotels and hostels in New York City

Find budget hotels in New York, including stylish new hotels and hip hostels, with our guide to cheap accommodation in the city.

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Best budget hotels and hostels in NYC: The Bowery House

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Photograph: Wendy Connett

Best budget hotels and hostels in NYC: Carlton Arms Hotel

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Photograph: Michael Kirby

Best budget hotels and hostels in NYC: The Harlem Flophouse

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Photograph: Wendy Connett

Best budget hotels and hostels in NYC: The Jane Hotel

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Photograph: Courtesy 414 Hotel

Best budget hotels and hostels in NYC: 414 Hotel

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Best budget hotels and hostels in NYC: New York Loft Hostel

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Annie Schlechter

Best budget hotels and hostels in NYC: Pod 39

Whether you’re on a tight budget or just prefer to conserve your cash for sampling the best restaurants and seeing the top Broadway shows, consult our guide to budget hotels and hostels in NYC. Then take a look at other ways to enjoy NYC on the cheap.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to New York hotels

The Bowery House

Two young real-estate developers have transformed a 1927 Bowery flophouse into a stylish take on a hostel. History buffs will get a kick out of the original wainscotted corridors leading to cubicles (singles are a cozy 35 square feet, and not all have windows) with latticework ceilings to allow air circulation. It might not be the best bet for light sleepers, but the place is hopping with pretty young things attracted to the hip aesthetic and the location (across the street from the New Museum and close to Soho and the Lower East Side). Quarters are decorated with vintage prints and historical photographs, and illluminated by lightbulbs encased in 1930s and ’40s mason jars; towels and robes are courtesy of Ralph Lauren. The immaculate (gender-segregated) communal bathrooms have rain showerheads and products from local spa Red Flower, while the guest lounge is outfitted with chesterfield sofas, chandeliers, a huge LCD TV and an assortment of international style mags. There’s a 1,800-square-foot roof terrace, and an eatery serving eclectic small plates. To keep out the riff-raff and the rowdy, guests must be over 21 and reserve with a credit card.

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Nolita

Carlton Arms Hotel

The Carlton Arms Art Project started in the late 1970s, when a small group of creative types brought fresh paint and new ideas to a run-down shelter. Today, the site is a bohemian backpackers’ paradise and live-in gallery—every room, bathroom and hallway is festooned with outré artwork. Themed quarters include the Money Room and a tribute to a traditional English cottage. Roughly half the quarters have shared bathrooms. The place gets booked up early, so reserve well in advance.

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Kips Bay

The Harlem Flophouse

The dark-wood interior, moody lighting and lilting jazz music make musician Rene Calvo’s Harlem inn feel more like a 1930s speakeasy than a 21st-century B&B. The airy suites, named for Harlem Renaissance figures such as Chester Himes and Cozy Cole, have restored tin ceilings, a quirky mix of junk-store furnishings and period knick-knacks, and working sinks in original antique cabinets. There are just two suites per floor; each pair shares a bathroom.

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Harlem

The Jane

Opened in 1907 as the American Seaman’s Friend Society Sailors Home, the 14-story landmark was a residential hotel when hoteliers Eric Goode and Sean MacPherson, of the Bowery and the Maritime, took it over (some long-term residents remain). The wood-paneled, 50-square-foot rooms were inspired by vintage train sleeper compartments—there’s a single bed with built-in storage and brass hooks for hanging up your clothes, but also iPod docks and wall-mounted 23-inch flat-screen TVs. If entering the hotel feels like stepping on to a film set, there’s good reason: Inspiration came from various celluloid sources, including Barton Fink’s Hotel Earle for the lobby. The "ballroom," decorated with mismatched chairs, oriental rugs and a fireplace topped with a stuffed ram, evokes an eccentric mansion.

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West Village

414 Hotel

Critics' pick

This reasonably priced hotel truly deserves the boutique title. Nearly everything about it is exquisite yet unshowy, from its power-blasted brick exterior to the modern color scheme in the rooms that pairs gray headboards and red accents. Rooms are equipped with fridges, flat-screen TVs and iPod docks, the bathrooms are immaculate, and a working gas fireplace in the lobby is a welcoming touch. Twice as big as it looks, 414 consists of two townhouses separated by a leafy courtyard, which in warmer months is a lovely place to eat your complimentary breakfast of fresh croissants and bagels. The location in a residential yet central neighborhood makes it even more of a find.

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Hell's Kitchen

New York Loft Hostel

Situated in arty Bushwick, this budget lodging fuses the traditional youth hostel setup (dorm-style rooms with bunk beds and lockers, communal lounging areas) with a fashionable loft aesthetic. In the former clothing warehouse, linen curtains billow in front of huge windows, and there’s plenty of industrial-chic exposed brick and piping. Above the big shared kitchen is a mezzanine equipped with a large flat-screen TV (DVDs can be rented at the front desk). The spacious patio is the site of frequent summer barbecues and there's even a hot tub deck. Unlike old-school hostels, there’s no curfew; an electronically encoded room-key card opens the front door after hours.

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Williamsburg

Pod 39

The city’s second Pod occupies a 1918 residential hotel for single men—the space that was once the gentlemen’s sitting room is being reinvented as the Great Room, opening in early 2013, which will feature a fireplace, projection wall and ping-pong table. As the name suggests, rooms are snug, but not oppressively so; some have queen-size beds with room underneath to stash your luggage; others feature stainless-steel bunk beds with individual TVs and bedside shelves inspired by airplane storage. However, you should probably know your roommate well since the utilitarian, subway-tiled bathrooms are partitioned off with sliding frosted-glass doors. Travel-friendly, soft-packaged Fix products by NYC spa Red Flower match the functional aesthetic. Restaurant dream team April Bloomfield and Ken Friedman is behind the on-site taqueria and bar, Salvation Taco, and the roof terrace has a full-frontal Empire State Building view.

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Murray Hill

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