Once the seedy underbelly of Manhattan, known for its radical thinkers, artists, beatniks, and other ‘unsavory’ personalities, the East Village, NYC has transformed from macabre to a sought-after, almost bougie, gem. Walking distance from Union Square, the Lower East Side and SoHo, the East River-adjacent area is tucked far enough away to harbor a host of local secrets but is still mainstream, warranting a handful of hotels ideal for the traveler who want to do as the locals do.
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Best East Village hotels
The 21-story tenement-style East Village iteration of the iconic Meatpacking District hotel features a fair amount of original amenities while maintaining a minimal aesthetic. Designed by architect Carlos Zapata, the building itself is hard to miss as it towers 21 stories, a sharp contrast from the low-rise buildings that make up the neighborhood. From a nature-filled private garden to Narcissa, the restaurant from Michelin-starred chef John Fraser, the hotel is the ideal respite for entertaining. Through floor-to-ceiling windows, gaze out over gorgeous Manhattan views—which are obviously even more spectacular when you book a room on a higher floor. If hitting the pavement isn’t enough of a workout, The Standard East Village offers a complimentary pass to the nearby Crunch Bowery, as well as Standard bikes.
Situated above local coffee joint, The Bean, the East Village Hotel is reminiscent of a studio apartment—exposed brick and walk-up charm included. There isn’t much to offer in terms of luxury amenities, but rooms feature kitchenettes with stainless steel appliances, free Wi-Fi and flat screen TVs. Pillow top mattresses and large windows add the extra bit of comfort needed to create a homey vibe in this studio-like setting.
From the two men who brought New York City the The Jane Hotel and The Waverly Inn, The Bowery Hotel houses unique vintage-inspired decor elements, like mohair-upholstered chairs, Turkish Oushak rugs and enormous velvet headboards. Views are prioritized and can be soaked in through floor-to-ceiling windows. Gemma, the on-site restaurant, offers guests a taste of traditional Italy with dishes like Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe and Branzino Al Forno. A vintage-inspired lobby bar serves a long menu of drinks, perfect for an aperitif or nightcap.
A bare bones but comfortable hotel option, what Hotel 17 lacks in luxury it makes up for in location. Just half a block from Union Square, Hotel 17 puts you right in the heart of downtown. Its most notable claim to fame is its cameo in Woody Allen’s 1993, “Manhattan Murder Mystery,” which took advantage of the rooms. Each individual room embodies a unique retro feel—setting the hotel apart from more cookie-cutter alternatives and adding an extra bit of charm. Mis-matched design elements, from uncoordinated wallpaper selections to slightly clashing fabric colors, lend the rooms an off-beat aesthetic. Other prominent roles include serving as a backdrop for famed fashion shoots, including some involving everyone’s favorite Madonna.
Located in the epicenter of every bohemian’s dream, St. Mark’s Hotel is a perfect spot for those who prioritize authenticity over luxury. In business for more than 25 years, the iconic hotel has been renovated fairly recently, but still harbors a low-key, unassuming design. While the interiors are admittedly a bit drab, the hotel notably offers guests a prime view of true NYC street life on one of the city's most historically famous streets—St. Mark’s Place. Recognized most often for its wholly unassuming appeal and outdated, stripped-down, interiors, St. Mark’s Hotel is a true blast from the past, largely resisting the more rapid gentrification of the surrounding neighborhood. Rooms include basic amenities, but the prime positioning is the spot’s main draw.
Occupying the intersection between NYC’s most popular neighborhoods (East Village, Lower East Side and SoHo), Gatsby Hotel, an Ascend Hotel Collection is the ideal choice for shoppers, diners, and anyone invested in gathering the full downtown experience. Outfitted with wood furnishings for that real city feel, rooms feature standard accommodations like coffee makers, complimentary wireless internet and HD TV’s, though the real amenity is inarguably the unbeatable location.