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Harlem hotel guide: The best places to stay in the area

Our Harlem hotel guide highlights a couple of cozy B&Bs and the neighborhood’s first boutique-chain property.

Harlem’s rich history, lively bars and a growing number of hot restaurants attract young, adventurous visitors—the target customers of Starwood Hotels’ Aloft Harlem, which opened in late 2010. But our Harlem hotel guide also includes our favorite longstanding B&Bs, which will give you a taste of local life.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Harlem, New York

Aloft Harlem

Starwood Hotels' fast-expanding Aloft brand pitches to a young, design-conscious traveler whose budget might not stretch to fit a room at one of the company's W properties. Launched in December 2010, Aloft Harlem was the first hotel to open in the area since the early ’60s. The public spaces combine high-tech amenities (a pair of iMacs, in addition to free hotel-wide Wi-Fi) with colorful, contemporary decor (a scrolling news ticker above the elevators, a pool table in the lobby-lounge). The industrial-edged w xyz bar hosts DJs and karaoke nights, while a slick, open-plan convenience store, re:fuel, dispenses coffee, sandwiches and snacks around the clock. A minimalist approach mitigates tight space in the bedrooms—despite 275-square-foot dimensions, standard quarters are outfitted with king-size beds (dressed with deluxe cotton sheets and recycled-cork headboards) and 42-inch flat-screen TVs, while bathrooms feature oversize rainfall showerheads and products created by W collaborator Bliss Spa. Rooms: 124.

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Washington Heights

The Harlem Flophouse

The dark-wood interior, moody lighting and lilting jazz music make 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, glamorous chandeliers and working sinks in antique cabinets. Rooms 4.

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Located near Marcus Garvey Park on a landmark, tree-lined street, 102Brownstone features six substantial suites, all renovated and individually themed by proprietor Lizette Lanoue, who owns and lives in the 1892 Greek Revival row house with her husband. (We love the tranquil Zen and dreamy Luna quarters.) Lanoue aims to be unobtrusive and to make guests feel as though they are in their own apartment—an apartment with a Jacuzzi, that is.
Rooms: 6. Credit AmEx, DC, MC, V.

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I'm curious as to why the majority of your "best in Harlem" reviews are all west Harlem establishments...After recently moving into east Harlem I was hoping for a little more incite on some of the places I should be checking out.