New York: City of dreams, skyscrapers and shake-in-ya-boots hotel prices—right? Not quite, especially if you know the best budget hotels to hit in NYC for solid amenities at super-affordable prices. Book into one of these gems and you’ll be able to save those pennies for tickets to Broadway shows, score tables at the best restaurants in NYC (and get the full chef’s menu—with wine pairing) and hit all the top New York attractions. Sleep in a budget hotel in NYC, and you won’t have to do the city on the cheap.
RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best hotels in NYC
Best budget hotels in NYC
The budget conscious funky hotel group Pod, has both a downtown and uptown location. The uptown joint offers visitors a choice of six “pod” types that sleep one to four guests and all rooms feature a trendy and colorful décor. Though cozy, the rooms are surprisingly well-appointed. Featuring flat screen TVs, desks and complimentary Wi-Fi, Pod 51 is a great pick for those that want to spend ample time exploring the city, but still want a comfortable place to rest their feet after a long day of hitting the pavement. The property boasts some stylish facilities such as a café for casual dining and a lively rooftop deck, ideal for sunbathing and imbibing on sunny days. Located just a few blocks from bustling Time’s Square, the location is great for those that want to stay in the middle of the action.
Claiming the title of “oldest hotel in New York,” this Broome Street spot once welcomed the likes of William Waldorf Astor and John L. Sullivan. These days, the guest list runs the gamut from students to backpackers and travelers looking for an affordable place to crash. A recent makeover has left some rooms with skylights, a yellow-and-blue color scheme, flat-screen TVs, exposed brick walls, and hardwood floors, but it still retains some of that old-school charm (hey, ceiling fans and no elevators). Still, the main draw is its location—centrally situated, use this hotel as a springboard to explore the nearby Little Italy, Chinatown, and SoHo.
What this 64-room location lacks in elevators (it’s a prewar pad) it makes up for with a prime East Village location and a price-tag that’s easy on the eyes. Smack dab in the action (the hotel is super-close to tattoo shops, wallet-friendly restaurants and kitschy souvenir stands) this well-positioned corner hotel is only a few steps from a subway station, in case you’re looking to make a break from the bustle. Modest it may be (rooms feature double beds, private bathrooms, WiFi, flat-screen televisions, and other basic amenities), but the ground-floor pizzeria and sports bar make the spot not only a comfortable stay but gives you a reason to return.
Note: This is definitely not a snazzy hotel with over-the-top perks, but the super-homey haven is located in the heart of the historic Chelsea, so at least the location is ace. The no-frills, 89-roomer is built for shallow pockets and is also close to the subways and walking distance from Madison Square Park. Here, function trumps over fashion (we’re looking at you, framed art posters and floral comforters). The amenities are simple and straightforward: small, run-of-the-mill rooms, mini fridges, WiFi, and wooden furniture, and an unassuming gray façade—and the rates are equally as modest.
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.
This midtown gem’s prime location a few blocks from Central Park, modern rooms and inspiring lobby, make it the perfect pick for an economical stay in Manhattan. The hotel’s sleek, yet whimsical aesthetic can be credited to famed designer, Philippe Starck, who created an airy lobby wonderland reminiscent of an ivy covered greenhouse. Another perk is the seasonal rooftop terrace with skyscraper views and Private Park, an outdoor space featuring a stylish mix of contemporary and antique furnishings. Though the property’s starting room types are small, with minimal options for leisurely lounging, patrons will have plenty of space to roam the expansive public areas. Hudson bar, a popular lounge frequented by trendy locals and visitors alike, is the ideal spot for both a relaxed evening martini and dancing to DJs deep into the early morning hours. The boutique property is also home to the cozy, leather and wood swathed library bar. While Hudson Common, a beautifully designed beer hall, offers casual burgers and brews.
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. The wood-paneled rooms were inspired by vintage train sleeper compartments—there’s a bed (or bunk bed) with built-in storage and brass hooks for hanging up your clothes, but also iPod docks and wall-mounted flat-screen TVs (in the Captain’s Cabin). 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.
What started as a high-rise office building in its past life is now a 21-story, 197-room boutique hotel nestled in the Upper East Side. Here, sweeping river and bridge views from oversized windows cohabitates with flat-screen TVs, iPod docks, and other modern chrome-and-wood accents. Take a stroll by the East River—just a few steps away—then cap off the evening with a drink or tasty grub (Italian-inspired sushi rolls, toro tartare with wasabi olive oil, Long Island duck sliders, fried artichokes with a lemon aioli, to name a few) at the rooftop restaurant clad with hanging orb chandeliers, gilded chairs, and stunning aerial sights.
Situated in the heart of Manhattan’s hippest hood, Orchard Street Hotel is perched next to some of New York City’s most fashionable boutiques, galleries and restaurants. What the fifty-room Lower East Side property lacks in amenities, it makes up for in location and price point. Though the no-frills hotel’s facilities are sparse and free of an eatery and fitness center, it includes a comfortable lobby, second floor lounge and a rooftop terrace with skyscraper views. Guests will love the sleekly designed rooms covered in white, that provide sweeping sights of Manhattan’s lively downtown area.
Situated within the epicenter of glitz and grime, Row NYC is ideal for those that want to stay within arm’s reach of Times Square. The contemporary hotel’s price point is a bargain and boasts a stylish New York City vibe. It’s also home to City Kitchen, an indoor food market where guests can peruse staples such as Luke’s Lobster rolls and Dough donuts. Guests can also enjoy La Colombe coffee at District M for a morning pick-me-up and hand-pulled Neapolitan pizzas at night. While facilities include a modern fitness center, a cycling studio and even an express hair style bar. The rooms are simple, yet sleek, and swathed in white with pops of bright color reminiscent of the hotel’s neon surrounds.