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.
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.
The 7 best hotels in New York
Best hotel in New York for luxury: The St. Regis New York
Glamorous, luxurious, but above all friendly, this is our best five-star hotel in New York
Reasons to buy
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.
Best hotel in New York for families: TRYP By Wyndham Times Square South
Affordable, convenient and spacious, these are our best rooms for kids in New York
Reasons to buy
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.
Best hotel in New York for style: Crosby Street Hotel
New York cool meets English elegance in this quirky yet undeniably luxurious boutique hotel
Reasons to buy
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.
Best hotel in New York for relaxation: The Greenwich Hotel
Yoga, bike rides and delectable spa treatments make this one of New York’s most relaxing hotels
Reasons to buy
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.
Best hotel in New York for couples: The Royalton
One of the best couples hotels in New York, perfect for a royally romantic stay
Reasons to buy
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.
Best hotel in New York for scenic views: Mandarin Oriental New York
Forget Top of the Rock – at this luxury hotel, the views are just the start
Reasons to buy
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.
Best hotel in New York for foodies: Wythe Hotel
The Wythe Hotel, and its wider Williamsburg location, is our best foodie destination in New York
Reasons to buy
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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