To the first-time visitor, the sheer dizzying range of potential experiences offered by New York’s five boroughs can seem pretty mind-boggling. With world-class theatre, opera and art, music, food and architecture, there’s a lot going on in the city that never sleeps.
With famous must-dos including Times Square, the Empire State Building, Grand Central Station and the Brooklyn Bridge, New York is a place seemingly made for ticking off travel dreams, but the beauty of the city is that there’s a whole host of rather more unexpected attractions too.
In short, there are loads of ways to experience New York, and even more excellent hotels from which to do so, but in the immortal words of Hoboken native and long-time New York admirer Frank Sinatra: it’s up to you.
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Where to stay in New York
New York offers an incredible range of accommodation, from the hippest of the hip to the height of luxury.
If you want to be right in the midst of NYC’s hustle and bustle, make Midtown Manhattan your destination. While the island might have a (not completely undeserved) reputation for eye-watering room rates, travellers on a tighter budget will be relieved to hear that you needn’t remortgage to take advantage of a great location – TRYP by Wyndham Times Square South, our best hotel for families, sits within easy reach of the city’s main attractions.
That’s not to say, of course, that ultra-luxurious options aren’t there in abundance. For those looking to celebrate a special occasion, or simply splash out, you’ll find some of New York’s best hotels here, including the stunning views of the Mandarin Oriental and the superstar service of the St Regis.
For foodies, as well as anyone who would wouldn’t be seen dead within half a mile of Times Square, Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighbourhood, home of the Wythe Hotel, is the place to be, with more artisan-roasted drip coffee and excellent farm-to-table fare than you can shake a stick at.
Or if you want to experience the best of New York City, why not stay like a local. The Ace hotel’s artsy style and hipster coffee will certainly have you feeling like a true New Yorker.
The 10 best hotels in New York
Located in central Manhattan, just 10 minutes from Madison Square Garden, this quirky boutique hotel is ideal for anyone interested in exploring all the city has to offer. Times Square is just 5 minutes on the subway, where you’ll also be able to get to popular tourist attractions such as the Empire State Building.
The Ace Hotel is a great place to live like a local, with live music often playing in the evenings in the lobby, a fantastic restaurant and coffee being served daily. The friendly staff are also more than happy to recommend the best things to see and do during your stay if you’re looking to go off the beaten track!
Rooms are cosy and convenient, with a Mini Room available for around £200 per night. You’ll have all the amenities you could possibly want including TV, iPod dock, WiFi and minibar, for those evenings when you just want to chill after a busy day of sightseeing. The building itself is historic and has a unique style which has been designed by local artists, so you’ll really feel like a New Yorker when you stay at the Ace!
Convenient, cool, and a great way to meet other travellers, Pod 39 offers shared or private rooms in a quiet but central location. You’ll be right next to Grand Central Station in midtown Manhattan, with Times Square just one mile away and easy subway links to the rest of the city.
The hotel is light and airy, with a pod for every person. The hotel offers a safe place for solo travellers, with a 24-hour reception and a range of benefits including parking, airport transfer arrangements, common areas including a bar and a roof terrace with excellent views of the city.
The restaurant serves up delicious bites such as tacos, and cocktails are served all day every day. All rooms have en-suites and air conditioning, making them great value for money starting at just £129 a night.
After over a century catering to the city’s elite, this iconic Midtown Manhattan hotel is still the place to go for visitors looking to pull out all the stops – and we mean all of them. With its gorgeous Beaux-Arts styling, white-gloved butlers and timelessly elegant interiors, it seems to be a survivor of a bygone – frankly, much more glamorous – age.
All guests, regardless of room type, are subject to superstar treatment. Call on round-the-clock butler service for pressing, shoe-shining or beverages; take your seat at the Astor Lounge for a decadent breakfast or the King Cole Bar for a knockout Bloody Mary, then float off to sleep on a premium mattress in one of the 200-odd impossibly plush rooms.
In a city bursting with luxury hotels, many of them offering catered-to-kiddies options that would make Veruca Salt blush, the TRYP by Wyndham is a comparatively no-frills option.
But its combination of spacious rooms, affordability and convenient location – within easy walking distance of The High Line, the Empire State Building and Times Square, with an entrance to Penn Station just half an avenue away – makes it our best hotel in New York for families of all sizes.
The other big attraction to the TRYP is its family rooms, available in various configurations of king, queen, bunk and sofa beds with options that sleep up to eight – and still with living space to spare.
The Standard floats just above the High Line, each room with floor to ceiling windows, offering stunning views of the city lights at night. Rooms are also equipped with bath robes, free toiletries, a flat screen TV and mini-bar.
This hotel is perfectly placed in the Meatpacking district for those who want to experience the sophisticated nightlife of New York, and even has a 24-hour front desk and concierge service for those who want to stay out late.
The Greenwich area is also close by and great for those interested in good food and drink, while The Standard’s in-house restaurant, The Grill, offers delicious steak and other American cuisine, all against the stunning backdrop of the city.
Style isn’t just evident in a few standout pieces in Tim and Kit Kemp-designed boutique Soho hotel, it’s in every detail, from the adventurous interior colour schemes to the quirky decorative finds. If you’re looking for a proper break from homogenous corporate-feeling hotels, this is it.
Despite its ideal location on one of the city’s most stylish stretches, with trendy retailers and restaurants within easy reach, the small number of rooms, each with its own design flair and individual art, keeps it feeling quiet and cosy.
This impression is helped ably by quietly attentive staff and welcoming common areas, like a tranquil sculpture garden and common areas with open fireplaces and plush textiles.
The Financial District might not be the first place you’d think of for a laid-back break, but this Robert DeNiro-owned TriBeCa hotspot has a subterranean secret that makes it our best hotel for rest and relaxation. The Greenwich Hotel’s tranquil Japanese-themed spa, Shibui – one of the best in the city, if its devotees are to be believed – sits far below the hustle and bustle, offering busy travellers a chance to reset with treatments and yoga classes.
All guests also have free access to ‘Bixby’ bikes, ideal for making use of the quiet riverside route just a stone’s throw away, and to chilled out Moroccan-style common areas whose hotchpotch textiles and industrial touches give it the feel of a private loft.
The Royalton’s very comfortably sized rooms, especially by Midtown standards, make it a real haven at the end of a busy day’s sightseeing. Throw in romantic fireplaces, complimentary candles and oversized baths made for two, and you have a room that it’ll be pretty hard to drag yourself away from when check-out time rolls around.
The central location on 44th Street means that date-night options abound, with Times Square and Radio City just yards away, but the hotel’s understated elegance and luxe-feeling lobby bar complete with mood lighting mean it’s just as nice to stay in. The diligent service also means that whether you’re after a killer Manhattan or just a willing bellhop, everything is taken care of, leaving you to enjoy each other’s company.
New York has the most instantly recognisable skyline in the world, and one of the best places to see it is from your very own floor-to-ceiling window in Upper West Side institution the Mandarin Oriental, where even the lobby (on the 35th floor of the Time Warner Center) has breathtaking views of Central Park.
A real contender with the St Regis for the title of most luxurious hotel, this famously sumptuous hotel chain doesn’t skimp on the premium details at its New York outpost. Plush, pillowy beds, opulent bathrooms and decadent dining – served with a side of those amazing views, of course – all add up to one incredible experience. If you’re looking to splash out and be guaranteed a look at that stunning skyline, it’s certainly hard to beat.
Manhattan might be home to some of the best restaurants in the world, but in the hipster haven that is the Williamsburg, Brooklyn, there’s stiff competition. Not only does the Wythe Hotel put guests in close proximity to the neighbourhood’s truly innovative and downright delicious dining options, its very own restaurant, Reynard, is a real treat.
Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, the restaurant serves imaginative savoury dishes and flaky pastries from its sister bakery to start the day, while treating diners to largely seasonal and always beautifully executed American fare after dusk. Afterwards, you can retreat to one of the generous industrial-style rooms for Manhattan skyline views and a locally-made nightcap from the minibar.
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