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Best small boutique hotels: Intimate digs in NYC

With a residential vibe and personal service, these small boutique hotels evoke the feel of staying with stylish friends.


Best small boutique hotels: Chambers Hotel

 (Photograph: Courtesy 414 Hotel)
Photograph: Courtesy 414 Hotel

Best small boutique hotels: 414 Hotel


Best small boutique hotels: Hôtel Americano


Best small boutique hotels: Library Hotel

 (Photograph: James Claxton)
Photograph: James Claxton

Best small boutique hotels: The Nolitan

If you don’t like the impersonal vibe at many larger properties, check out these intimate inns. Whether you want to base yourself around the corner from MoMA, near Times Square or alongside the High Line, there are small boutique hotels scattered throughout the city. The effect is a bit like staying in a friend’s apartment—if your friend happens to be an architect or interior designer.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to New York hotels

Chambers Hotel


Though it opened in 2001, Chambers has a contemporary residential style that feels utterly current. The double-height lobby, warmed by a gas fire, showcases some of the owners’ 500-piece art collection, which is scattered around the public spaces and guest quarters. The room design takes its cues from upscale loft apartments, combining designer furniture with raw concrete ceilings, exposed pipes, floor-to-ceiling windows and either polished walnut floorboards or Tibetan wool carpeting. Art books and ceramics are displayed on sleek shelf units and architect’s desks are complete with a roll of paper and colored pencils should inspiration hit. Everything has been designed to make you feel at home, from the soft terrycloth slippers in appealingly bright colors to the DVD players in every room. Some quarters have expansive terraces for private lounging and dining—at up to 750 square feet, they’re larger than many NYC one-bedroom apartments.

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Midtown West

414 Hotel


Twice as big as it first appears, this budget boutique hotel consists of two walk-up buildings separated by a leafy courtyard, which in warmer months is a lovely spot to eat your complimentary breakfast of fresh croissants and bagels. The location in a residential neighborhood a couple of blocks from Times Square makes it even more of a find. All of the 22 tastefully decorated rooms are equipped with blackout blinds, fridges, flat-screen TVs and iPod docks, the bathrooms are immaculate, and a working gas fireplace in the lobby is a welcoming touch.

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Hell's Kitchen

Hôtel Americano

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 56 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.

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Library Hotel

This bookish 60-room boutique hotel is organized on the principles of the Dewey decimal system—each of its ten floors is allocated a category, such as Literature, the Arts and General Knowledge, and each elegantly understated room contains a collection of books and artwork pertaining to a subject within that category. The popular Love room (interestingly, filed under Philosophy) has a king-size bed, an ivy-clad balcony overlooking the New York Public Library and reading matter ranging from Ovid’s The Art of Love to Dr. Ruth Westheimer’s The Art of Arousal (the veteran sexpert is honorary curator of the room’s book collection). Nightly receptions dish out wine and cheese, while upstairs in the rooftop bar, creative libations are inspired by Ernest Hemingway and Harper Lee.

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The Nolitan

To make like a Nolitan, check in to this boutique hotel. The 55 airy rooms feature floor-to-ceiling windows, custom-made walnut beds, wooden floors and toiletries from Prince Street spa Red Flower. The emphasis on keeping it local is reflected in numerous guest perks: The luxuriously laid-back property lends out bikes and skateboards and lays on free local calls, access to an upscale Equinox gym and discounts at neighborhood boutiques. The lobby's ceiling-height bookshelf is stocked with tomes from nearby Phaidon Books. Admire views of Nolita and beyond from the 2,400-square-foot roof deck, complete with fire pit, or your private perch—more than half the guest quarters have balconies.

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