Need a reason to stay at the best cheap hotels in Queens? Queens, NY, is getting really, really cool, much to the chagrin of the Brooklyn hipster, who swore this day would never come. The borough that stayed out of the spotlight as Brooklyn’s star burned bright is now rising in its own right as a veritable stand-alone destination in New York City. It’s definitively the most ethnically diverse borough, with the best restaurants in Queens serving some amazingly authentic food, not to mention its up-and-coming bars, skyline views and the quick transportation time to Manhattan. If you’re looking to do New York City on a budget—and in the style of true locals— Queens is the borough for you.
RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best hotels in NYC
Best cheap hotels in Queens
For quiet, understated luxury in Queens, consider this hotel just two stops from Manhattan. Though it’s not in the most hot-and-happening part of the borough, Boro Hotel is a quick cab ride to Long Island City and Astoria or a quick subway ride straight into Midtown. Minimalist rooms start at 200 square feet and are bedecked with Frette linens, Hay Studio and Tom Dixon furniture, and that industrial-chic vibe that is so in vogue. Opt for the Manhattan View Balcony rooms wit private patios, or jet up to the rooftop bar with views of Manhattan and the Queensboro Bridge.
This trendy and cool spot elbows its way into this otherwise industrial neighborhood, making itself a hot spot for visitors and locals alike. Originally a (you guessed it) paper factory, the floors pay homage to their industrial past with exposed concrete and oversized windows. The theme is also incorporated into the design with wrought-iron bed frames and repurposed wooden furniture. Dining options include local coffee from For Five Roasters, as well as the hotel’s own restaurant, Mundo, which serves Mediterranean-inspired fare.
Half the fun of visiting New York is soaking in the view of the Manhattan skyline. Insider tip: The best place to view the Manhattan skyline is not in Manhattan. Enter Z NYC Hotel in Long Island City. Though not in the best part of town (the hotel is surrounded by warehouses), a complimentary shuttle to Manhattan and free bikes for all guests make it a convenient place to stay. Plus, the views from the rooftop overlooking all of Manhattan are pretty unbeatable. Summer on said roof lends itself to cocktails and yoga, and not far away (less than five minutes in a taxi), is Long Island City, a burgeoning neighborhood home to quaint bistros, bars and boutiques.
Okay, so the location is not great: You’re looking at a 10-minute walk through a warehouse-laden wasteland until you hit the nearest subway. But for the price, are you really going to complain? What you get is a 63-room hotel with a rooftop bar and restaurant, Penthouse 808, that serves up delectable Asian fusion with a side of stunning NYC views. Rooms blend reclaimed wood furniture with pops of orange and dark-brown leathers. If you’re a high-roller, then you probably aren’t staying here—or you’re booking the penthouse for its private balconies.
You can’t get much more LIC-central than the Aloft hotel, Starwood’s affordable design brand. The hotel, which soft-opened in November 2016, is the newest to join the Aloft family in NYC behind Harlem, Brooklyn and Downtown Manhattan. True to Aloft form, there is a W XYZ bar for cocktails, beer and wine, as well as a 24-7 Re:charge gym.
Even if you aren’t totally jazzed to be staying in Queens (although, why the heck not?), you’re a hop, skip and jump to just about everywhere else in NYC thanks to this hotel’s handy location near six different subway lines. The hotel has 183 rooms, all with a contemporary feel blending neutral tones with mod furniture, though we’d opt for a room facing Manhattan for the views. Lovers of fitness classes can also pick up the Stay Fit Kit, which includes a yoga mat, straps, blocks, hand weights and resistance bands.
Don’t let the “hostel” category throw you off. Sure, there are shared and private dorm-style rooms, but there are also double rooms with queens and twins for people who thought they outgrew hostels years ago but whose paychecks haven’t. All rooms do have ensuite bathrooms. Head over to neighbor Gimme! Coffee for a pick-me-up or Singlecut brewery for evening happy hour. The hostel’s lobby also screens movies on the reg.
While Queens is certainly getting its fair share of boutique hotels, chains still tend to be the standard. This Courtyard Marriott property has 160 rooms spread over a 10-floor tower, and while it’s thoroughly a chain in name and brand, it has several unique amenities that give it a sense of place, like floor-to-ceiling windows and abstract NYC art.
What the hotel lacks in unique design (it’s a hostel with Ikea furniture all the way), it makes up for in price and location. Just one subway stop from Midtown, the hotel is in a prime location for jumping off to the rest of the city or staying local and exploring Long Island City and Astoria. A communal space in the basement hosts activities every night of the week, including karaoke and drink-and-draw parties.
Staying at The Parc Hotel puts you at the epicenter Queens’ Chinatown, with delectable dim sum and other favorites right around the corner. The 96 minimalist rooms each have floor-to-ceiling windows, and at night, you can head to the roof to experience the A-plus bar. Sports fans will love that the location is near Citi Field and Arthur Ashe Stadium, so you can catch a baseball game or tennis match and then walk home afterward.
Queens aficionados will certainly know Spa Castle—the Korean day spa that is talked about in hushed, reverent tones. The One Flushing is from the same owners, and there’s a free shuttle bus between the two for guests. The hotel is also smack dab in the middle of prime Chinatown dining. Rooms have rain showerheads and tubs and Bvlgari bath amenities, which is far more luxurious than you’d expect from a hotel out in Flushing.
You’re probably not interested in bar-hopping if you’re staying near JFK. But if convenience is your thing, this place has nailed it. The 330-room Crowne Plaza has a complimentary 24-hour airport shuttle as well as a fitness center (with space for yoga and meditation). The rooms are designed with red accents and modern art, which give the hotel a bit more pop compared to the typical airport hotel.
For a run-of-the-mill airport hotel, you can’t go wrong with a free shuttle and convenient location. The rooms are typical (read: boring) with grey and browns, with the business traveler in mind. But additional amenities include a business center, gym and indoor pool.