Once upon a time, a stay at a cheap hotel in New York City brought to mind unpleasant images of a dingy room in a sketchy neighborhood, with a grumpy receptionist and basic, malfunctioning amenities—a mere bed, dresser, toilet, and TV.
But in the modern era, the city’s most affordable hotels have undergone a stunning transformation. They’ve become the trendiest and most technologically advanced spots around, thanks to a surge of design-forward brands. Now, guests are encouraged to hang out in artfully curated lobbies resembling chic lounges or on rooftop terraces offering breathtaking city views.
Although these rooms might be on the smaller side, their charm lies in their artistic decor, fun amenities, and cutting-edge technology, making them an appealing choice for travelers seeking a unique and unforgettable experience.
While staying in a “budget” hotel room in the Big Apple may still set you back around $150 (£120) per night, depending on the season, savvy travelers can unlock further discounts by booking directly through the hotel’s website or becoming loyal members of their loyalty program. For those who plan ahead, some hotels offer attractive discounts with advanced pre-pay rates. Just keep in mind that these rates are non-refundable, so make sure your plans are firm before taking advantage of the savings.
Now, let’s discover the cream of the crop among budget hotels in New York:
Moxy NYC Times Square
Craving delightful dining and exciting drinks during your stay? Look no further than Moxy NYC Times Square. This gem sits amidst the bustling 7th Avenue at 36th Street, bridging the gap between the Fashion District and Times Square. But instead of the typical modern-Gotham vibe adopted by neighboring hotels, Moxy embraces a natural, organic, and playful ambiance.
Upon arrival, guests can check in swiftly at dedicated kiosks or even access their rooms through the Marriott app, which serves as a mobile room key. The guest rooms, numbering over 600, maybe compact—the largest being a studio suite at 350 sq ft—but they are the brainchild of the renowned design team, Yabu Pushelberg, who have left their mark on several luxury hotels in NYC. Here, they’ve infused a touch of rustic elegance with calming neutral tones, adding to the hotel’s allure.
As the sun sets, the excitement doesn’t end. Guests can unwind at Bar Moxy, savor delectable dishes at Legasea—a seafood brasserie by the Tao Group, and catch breathtaking views from the city’s largest all-season hotel rooftop bar and lounge, the Magic Hour Rooftop Bar & Lounge. For a delightful morning after, head to Egghead, the hotel’s all-day breakfast spot. Oh, and did we mention that furry friends are welcome too? Pets are allowed to join in on the fun!
citizenM Times Square
If you’re all about the views, citizenM Times Square is the perfect choice. Breaking away from traditional hotel stereotypes, citizenM offers a refreshingly modern experience. Forget about the white-glove service—here, in-room technology takes center stage, while the lobby becomes a stylish and relaxing hangout spot rather than just a check-in area.
While the rooms may be petite, the hotel ensures maximum comfort with extra-large beds, fluffy pillows, and wall-to-wall windows offering stunning city vistas. Worried about noise? Fear not! The triple-glazed windows and soundproof walls guarantee a peaceful stay. Plus, guests have the power to control their own mood lighting and stream their preferred content on the TV.
The lobby exudes an inviting ambiance with towering bookshelves, captivating artwork, and abundant seating. Satisfy your cravings at the lobby’s canteen, serving an impressive breakfast buffet and barista-made coffee 24/7. And when the clock strikes 5 pm, head up to cloudM—an exclusive panoramic lounge and bar offering sweeping city views solely for hotel guests.
If you seek an urban oasis, look no further than Arlo Soho. Embracing the concept of “small rooms, big hangouts,” this Soho gem boasts 325 thoughtfully designed guest rooms, ensuring every inch is utilized efficiently. From bedside charging outlets to flip-down desks, convenience reigns supreme.
Choose from a variety of room options, including bunk-bed rooms, terrace rooms, and alcove rooms with up-close-and-personal city views. Whether you’re a solo traveler or bringing along friends, Arlo Soho caters to your needs, providing an urban escape right in the heart of the bustling city.
Prepare to step into the future of accommodation at Pod 51, where the guest rooms embrace a minimalist and utilitarian design. These sleek, high-tech pods come complete with free wifi, flat-screen TVs, air conditioning, and a hairdryer to ensure your comfort during your stay. The hotel offers various pod configurations, catering to different needs and preferences. From bunk beds with shared baths to queen pods with private baths, and even a spacious studio pod that can accommodate four people and features its own tub.
If you’re looking for a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, head to the rooftop where you can unwind in a serene atmosphere. Conveniently located on East 51st Street, near all the iconic midtown sights, including Central Park, Pod 51 puts you in the heart of the action. When hunger strikes, satisfy your cravings at the on-site burger and beer joint called Clinton Hall, or enjoy a relaxing time at the courtyard garden cafe where you can bring your own beverages.
For those seeking more space without breaking the bank, look no further than The Boro, situated just across the East River from Manhattan in Queens’ Long Island City. This super-slick, industrial-chic haven offers an evolving art, food, and drink scene, complemented by jaw-dropping skyline views. But the real treat awaits inside the hotel, where stylish digs featuring pine floors and factory windows create a modern and comfortable ambiance.
The Boro takes roominess seriously, with 10ft high ceilings and refreshingly spacious en suites featuring walk-in showers. As you step downstairs, the lobby bar beckons with its crispy, thin-crust pizzas and the convenience of Negronis on tap. But don’t get too cozy inside—the hotel’s fantastic location places you only two subway stops away from the wonders of Manhattan, while Astoria, recently crowned the “coolest neighborhood in the world” by Time Out’s international team, is within easy walking distance, offering endless adventures and experiences to explore.
In a city where budget hotels have undergone a remarkable transformation, New York now offers stylish and tech-savvy options that cater to every traveler’s needs. From trendy pods equipped with modern amenities to chic industrial-chic havens with breathtaking views, there’s a budget hotel for every taste. So, whether you seek a minimalist retreat or a spacious oasis, New York’s budget hotels promise an unforgettable experience, making your stay in the Big Apple truly extraordinary.