Best cheap hotels in Manhattan
Hudson Hotel’s jaw-dropping location may make you do a double take at the room rates. For a fraction of the cost of some other hotels in the area, you get access to Central Park, Columbus Circle, Hell’s Kitchen and the rest of Midtown Manhattan. Inside, the hotel swings sleek yet playful, as is designer Philippe Starck’s MO. The airy lobby is similar to a greenhouse, blanketed in lush ivy. Make a beeline for the seasonal rooftop bar and terrace, Private Park, with coveted skyline views. Hotel rooms are small, but the hotel makes up for it with location and public spaces like Hudson bar and Hudson Common, where you’re likely to get one of the best burgers in town.
One of the more historic buildings in New York, this budget hotel has a salty past. Opened in 1907, the 14-story landmark building was home to the American Seaman’s Friend Society Sailors Home. Rooms leave much to be desired, as they measure only 50 square feet (inspired by vintage train sleeper compartments), but the hotel is under direction of Eric Goode and Sean MacPherson of legendary NYC hotels the Bowery and Maritime, so you know you’re in modern, comfortable hands.
It doesn’t get much more NYC cool than an address on the Lower East Side, where grit meets glam in the most understated way. Get in on the action with a stay in the heart of it all at the Orchard Street Hotel, where you’ll be rubbing elbows with some of NYC’s hottest boutiques, galleries and restaurants. The 50-room property isn’t exactly bursting with amenities, but it more than makes up for that with its rooftop terrace with skyscraper views and A-list location.
Whoever said you can’t find a good room in Manhattan for under $100 a night has never heard of Pod 51. Not only are you right at the doorstep to the Upper East Side, but you’re staying in funky style. This cheap hotel has a choice of six pod-style rooms that sleep one to four guests. “Cozy” might be a kind term for room size, but you certainly won’t feel cramped with the trendy and colorful decor. Rooms have flat-screen TVs and free Wi-Fi, while the hotel offers facilities like a casual cafe and a rooftop deck.
While New Yorkers shudder at having to be anywhere near Times Square, for travelers the location does lend itself to convenience, and us locals might even make an exception for Row NYC. Not only is the sleek hotel a bargain, but it’s near practically every single subway line and has enough amenities to keep you busy all day. From City Kitchen—an indoor food market with NYC staples like >Luke’s Lobster and Dough doughnuts—to District M for daytime coffee and nighttime Neapolitan pizzas. The hotel also has a fitness center, a cycling studio and a hairstyling bar. Rooms are basic but colorful and clean.
This 1927 flophouse turned Bowery hotel is about as New York as you can get, tawdry history and all. Keep in mind, the original wainscoted corridors with latticework ceilings are about all the luxury you’ll get from this hotel, with single rooms that max out at 35 square feet (and not all with windows). Still, the hotel is in the heart of the cross sections of great neighborhoods like Soho and the Lower East Side. The walls are splattered with vintage prints and historical photographs, and the bathrooms have rain showerheads. Though the bathrooms are communal, they’re gender segregated and immaculate. Common areas have chesterfield sofas, chandeliers and an 1,800-square-foot terrace, with eatery Pearl & Ash. Bear in mind the hotel is for ages 21 and over.
The Sohotel likes to carry the name of “oldest hotel in New York,” but it’s hard to decipher whether or not that’s actually true. Regardless, earliest accounts go back to the middle of the 19th century, so we’ll give it that. While past guests like William Waldorf Astor and John L. Sullivan might scoff at the contemporary crowd of backpackers and students, we say it’s a welcome respite for the modern traveler in the heart of downtown New York. A recent redo has left some rooms with skylights and a yellow-and-blue color scheme, with flat-screen TVs and always coveted exposed brick walls and hardwood floors. No elevator or AC might leave summer travelers a little schvitzy, but the Little Italy/SoHo/Chinatown location is absolutely worth the sacrifice.
Walking into The Harlem Flophouse is like stepping into Billie Holiday’s memoirs. The moodily lit bed and breakfast oozes with a speakeasy bar vibe with its dark wood and omnipresent jazz music. Its four suites are named for Harlem Renaissance characters like Chester Himes and Cozy Cole. Inside, find a snapshot of historic Harlem decor, with tin ceilings, period knickknacks and working sinks in their original antique cabinets. There are two suites per floor and each pair shares a bathroom.
Though its shabby exterior may be off-putting, the St Marks Hotel is a neighborhood legend and institution. The 64-room building is right at the gateway of the thriving East Village, right on the bustling thoroughfare that is St. Mark’s Place. You’ll be within a stone’s throw to karaoke dens, cheap eats, tattoo parlors, souvenir stands, hookah bars and the rest of all that the East Village has to offer. (Don’t leave without snagging a slice from the 24-hour famous Ray’s Pizza downstairs.) The rooms are modest but all have private bathrooms, Wi-Fi and flat-screen TVs.
You won’t exactly be dazzled by the hotel’s boxy exterior and—full disclosure—it doesn’t get any more wow-worthy on the inside. But this super homey 89-room, no-frills hotel was made for location and a small budget. The hotel is within walking distance of Madison Square Park and the subway, so while you won’t be Instagramming your non-existent breakfast in bed overlooking equally non-existent floor-to-ceiling windows, you will be out and about exploring Chelsea and NoMad, two of NYC’s hottest and trendiest neighborhoods du jour.
What started as an art project in the late ’70s has maintained its bohemian essence and flair as backpacker’s paradise and veritable art gallery. Each room, bathroom and hallway is decked out with artwork, and bedrooms are themed and decorated with whimsy (like the Money Room and a tribute to a traditional English cottage). About half of the rooms have shared bathrooms, but for the price tag it’s hard to complain.
The second Pod hotel in NYC lives in a former 1918 residential hotel for single men. Today it’s a hipster haven in otherwise bro-central Murray Hill. The ground floor (and rooftop) are home to Salvation Taco, one of the city’s more popular upscale Mexican cantinas serving tacos, tequilas, mescals and other tasty treats. The rooftop is a great spot for a potent margarita and prime Manhattan views. Rooms are small (as expected), but some have queen-size beds while others are bunk bed–style with individual TVs and bedside shelves.
A four-star hotel at a one-star price is relatively unheard of in New York City, let alone Manhattan, so if you can score a room here you’ve won your vacation already. Get ready for a gorgeous brick exterior and an interior of cosmopolitan gray with accents of red. Rooms have fridges, flat-screen TVs and iPod docks. A fireplace in the lobby is a lovely touch, considering New York winters are daunting. The building itself is made up of two townhouses separated by a courtyard, which is a lovely touch for those dreamy New York springs and summers. And the neighborhood, Hell’s Kitchen, is a beautiful mélange of gritty New York history mixed with modern, eclectic trendsetting charm.