Manhattan still offers the most comprehensive range of NYC hotels. Growth areas include the Financial District, which is getting a new lease on life as the World Trade Center site's redevelopment nears completion. In summer 2010, upscale chain W Hotels debuted its flashy new property, which includes residences as well as a hotel, directly opposite the WTC, and stylish Hilton offshoot Conrad New York took up a riverside spot in Battery Park City in spring 2012.
RECOMMENDED: Complete guide to Manhattan
Hell's Kitchen is popular with a trend-seeking gay clientele—the city's first gay "urban resort," The Out NYC, opened in 2012—and anyone who wants to be near the Theater District. The British team behind capsule-hotel brand Yotel recently introduced a supersized variation on the concept in the neighborhood. Hip mini chain Ace Hotel colonized an area at the northern edge of the Flatiron District, which is emerging as a hotel (and restaurant) hot spot—the long-awaited NoMad Hotel, from the same developer, debuted in spring 2012 with a restaurant helmed by high-profile chef Daniel Humm. There is now more choice in boutique hotels in desirable areas like Nolita, Chelsea and Greenwich Village, with the arrival of the Nolitan, Hôtel Americano and the Jade Hotel, respectively.
Best NYC hotels in Manhattan
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. Rooms: 22.Read more
Art is the new hotel buzzword, but displays are usually limited to some eye-catching lobby installations or forgettable in-room prints. Not so at the James, which maintains a substantial showcase of local talent. The corridor of each guest floor is dedicated to the work of an individual artist, selected by a house curator and complete with museum-style notes—which makes waiting for the elevator a lot less tedious. This is one of many thoughtful touches at the stylish Chicago import. Instead of merely replicating a successful formula, the owners have given the property a distinctly Gotham vibe—even the door staff sports rakish uniforms (designed by NYC-based Brit Andrew Buckler) that look straight out of Gangs of New York. Although compact, bedrooms make the most of the available space with high ceilings, wall-spanning windows, and glassed-off bathrooms (modesty is preserved by an artist-embellished, remote-controlled screen). Natural materials (wooden floors, linen duvet covers) warm up the clean contemporary lines, beds are piled with eco-friendly pillows, and bathroom products are courtesy of Intelligent Nutrients (the organic line created by Aveda founder Horst Rechelbacher). Although the attractions of Soho and Tribeca beckon, the hotel offers tempting facilities: a seasonal three-level “urban garden,” which houses an outdoor bar and eatery (one of two restaurants on site), and a rooftop bar that opens onto the (tiny) pool. Rooms: 114.Read more
Be sure to pack your totem: Staying at the latest property from hotel wunderkind Vikram Chatwal may make you wonder if you’re in a dream within a Dream. The expansive, tree-shaded lobby, furnished with curvy, metallic-lizard banquettes, and presided over by a DJ nightly, provides an overhead view of swimmers doing laps in the glass-bottomed pool on the terrace above. Housed in the former annex of the New York Maritime Union (now the adjacent Maritime Hotel), the surreal building is riddled with round windows. In the upper-floor rooms, these frame elements of the Manhattan skyline, such as the Empire State Building, in intriguing ways and are picked up by circular mirrors and wallpaper motifs. Quarters combine classic elements (white chesterfield chairs or sofas, Tivoli radios, Turkish rugs) with futuristic touches like shiny steel bathtubs in some rooms. The hotel recreates a "beach club" experience on its pool deck with a sandy patch and suites that lead directly on to the pool area from ivy-concealed private spaces. To complete the indulgent vibe, guests can even book massages or other spa treatments in one of the outdoor cabanas. Also channeling the feel of a luxury resort, the rooftop PH-D (short for Penthouse Dream) bar-nightclub has a lushly planted terrace running the entire length of the building and overlooking the pool. Rooms: 316.Read more
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. Rooms: 75.Read more
You won’t find any Talavera tiles in Grupo Habita’s first property outside Mexico. Mexican architect Enrique Norten’s sleek, mesh-encased structure stands alongside the High Line. The decor evokes classic midcentury American style, interpreted by a European (Colette designer Arnaud Montigny). The minimalist rooms have Japanese-style platform beds, iPads and, in one of several subtle nods to U.S. culture, super-soft denim bathrobes. After a day of gallery-hopping, get an even more elevated view of the neighborhood from the rooftop bar and grill, where a petite pool does double duty as a hot tub in winter. There’s also an airy ground-floor eatery and two subterranean bars. Rooms: 56.Read more
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.Read more
Designed by Benjamin Noriega Ortiz, who created cool cribs for Lenny Kravitz and gave the Mondrian Los Angeles a glamorous makeover in 2008, the downtown spot formerly known as the Mondrian Soho has a distinctly un-Gotham vibe. An ivy-covered passageway leads to the 26-story glass tower, set back from the Crosby Street. Inspired by Jean Cocteau’s La Belle et la Bête, Ortiz has created a fanciful interior in which lobby coffee tables have talons and floor lamps are shaded with petite parasols. Trippy, saturated-blue hallways lead to rooms that combine white minimalism with classic elements such as china-blue arabesque-print upholstery and marble-topped vanity sinks that perch outside the bathroom. Floor-to-ceiling windows give rooms on higher floors spectacular vistas, especially in suites, where double banks of glass provide a panoramic sweep. Going one better than Wi-Fi, every room is equipped with an in-room iPad that also connects to hotel services.Read more
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. Rooms: 208.Read more
The sprawling, 618-room, Affinia Manhattan opened as The Governor Clinton Hotel in 1929. The vast lobby retains some of its Jazz Age opulence; original details such as carved bronze elevator doors are juxtaposed with new elements including a dramatic chandelier in the shape of the Manhattan skyline. The white-and-gray guest rooms were given a casual, contemporary redesign by the ubiquitous Rockwell Group, with retro Anglepoise reading lamps perched on faux-leather headboards and playful splashes of orange and chartreuse. The hotel offers some novel perks: Select your pillow from a "menu” of six pillow types including buckwheat, Swedish memory foam, and even one that emits soothing sound. The white-tiled bathrooms are conveniently stocked with full-size shower gel, shampoo and conditioner. All the suites have kitchens, making it a good base for an extended stay, and some have large, if sparse, terraces with great views down 7th Avenue. The pristine gym is equipped with more than a dozen machines, plus free weights, and there's even a coin-op laundry room.Read more
This Meatpacking District pioneer is now known for its rooftop-pool-lounge playgrounds at two NYC locations (Gansevoort Park Avenue NYC opened in Gramercy/Flatiron in 2010). By day, you can soak up the sun, and the Hudson River panorama, on a lounger by the 45-foot heated open-air pool. After dark, the wraparound terrace bar becomes a deejayed outdoor party with a glittering Manhattan backdrop. If you prefer a quieter night, admire the view through ample glass in your room—many feature contemporary bay windows or mini balconies. When it’s time to turn in, electronic blackout blinds descend at the flip of a switch by your bed. The guest quarters recently received a glam makeover that brought fuchsia, plum and metallic accents, and Studio 54–inspired photography that plays on the hotel’s reputation as a party hub. Plush feather beds atop excellent mattresses and marble bathrooms—stocked with Cutler toiletries—amp up the luxury. Jeffrey Chodorow’s Asian fusion joint, TOY, turns dinner into a spectacle, with sumptuous raw-bar “towers” and burlesque shows most nights. Counteract the damage with a Core Fusion barre class—a workout incorporating ballet, yoga and Pilates—in the subterranean Exhale spa. If that sounds like too much effort, book a signature Flow Massage, which gets in deep to ease tension using a pain-minimizing “wave” technique, then unwind in one of the soaking pools in the candlelit, industrial-style sanctuary. Rooms: 186.Read more