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MANHATTANIn midtown, we’re fans of the pricey, fashionista-friendly Bryant Park Hotel (from $425; 40 W. 40th St. betw. Fifth & Sixth Aves., map)—it’s in a great spot right on pretty Bryant Park, near the Theater District without being in it, and it’s well located for subway accessibility to other neighborhoods and boroughs. Spacious-for-NYC rooms (300 square feet) are well-lit and stylishly minimalist.
Another midtown option we like is the Club Quarters (from $229; 25 W. 51st St. nr. Fifth Ave., map) near Rockefeller Center. More geared for business travelers, the hotel doesn’t offer many frills, but rooms are modern, quiet, and clean, and the location is terrific—near lots of touristy things, to be sure, but also close to essential subway lines and a handful of great street-food carts.
Downtown, if money is no object, consider the boutique Greenwich Hotel (from $525; 377 Greenwich St. at N. Moore St., map) in Tribeca, opened by Robert DeNiro in 2008. With large, modern-yet-rustic rooms; a gorgeous subterranean pool and gym; lots of complimentary amenities (free movies and minibar snacks!); and an excellent in-house restaurant (Locanda Verde), the hotel cultivates an exclusive yet homey vibe. Bonus: It’s just a block from the Hudson River Greenway bike/walking path.
Much cheaper—and, alas, with much smaller rooms—is the West Village’s cute-and-quirky Jane Hotel (113 Jane St. nr. West St., map). True to its roots as a hotel for sailors (back in 1908), rooms are called “cabins” and evoke, well, a tiny berth: The cheapest ones are 50 square feet, enough space for just one person (two if it’s a bunk) with shared bathrooms down the hall. The good news? Prices start around $99 a night for a super sweet location (a stone’s throw from the High Line, Meatpacking District, and Hudson River Greenway—and bikes are free). Or you can pay more (from about $195) for a regular-size room and private bath.
We’ve heard good things about the Nu Hotel (from $159; 85 Smith St., map)—good-size, well-appointed rooms with eco-friendly cork flooring and recycled teak furnishings; a great gym; free breakfast and Wi-Fi—and can attest to its excellent location in Boerum Hill, at the intersection of several wonderful neighborhoods and an endless amount of shops, restaurants, and bars. Subway options are aplenty; it’s a quick ride to get to downtown Manhattan, but expect about 30 minutes on the train to reach midtown. Bonus: You’ll be staying in a neighborhood of locals, not tourists.
In Williamsburg, another cool Brooklyn nabe, there’s Hotel Le Jolie (235 Meeker Ave., map), with clean “Euro-style” rooms that manage to be quiet (we hear) despite the hotel’s location next to the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. The ’hood feels urban but is very safe, populated by hipsters and a good ethnic mix. In this hotel, you’re easy walking distance to some of the city’s best new restaurants, about a trillion bars, a nice park, and one subway line to Manhattan (it’s five minutes to the East Village). Rates start around $169 and include free breakfast.
Brooklyn has a number of charming B&Bs, some in typically graceful brownstones (see the two-room Inn on Second, in Carroll Gardens; $125), some in lavish historic mansions (see Akwaaba Mansion, in Bed-Stuy; from $185), and some in old Victorian homes (see The Loralei, in Ditmas Park; from $135). They tend to be more affordable, spacious, and overall rewarding than many city hotels, and you’ll get some instant local cred for staying in these neighborhoods. Just keep in mind that living more like a local means longer subway rides to Manhattan attractions, sometimes-loud A/C units or heaters, neighborhood street noise, and everything else that goes with real New York living. We’re sure you can handle it!
Aside from business hotels or quickie options near the airports, lodging in EYW’s home borough of Queens is slim pickings. One notable new exception, however, is Long Island City’s boutique Ravel Hotel (from $170; 8-08 Queens Plaza South at Vernon Blvd., map), celebrated for its killer views of Manhattan and the nearby Queensboro Bridge, particularly from its swank 6,000-square-foot rooftop bar and lounge. Though safe, the neighborhood is pretty industrial-looking and not the best connected to public transport; however, the hotel does offer a free shuttle from 7am-11pm to area attractions and various subways.
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