The Chelsea Center (83 Essex St., 212/260-0961, www.chelseacenterhostel.com , $35 pp bunk, $100 private room) is a small, friendly hostel with dorm-style accommodations, free luggage storage/safe, and a light continental breakfast. The sister property is currently under renovations, but will reopen with a garden out back. All rooms share bathrooms.
The Jane (113 Jane St., 212/924-6700, www.thejanenyc.com , $99 s, $125 d shared, $250 d) is a lively hip boutique hotel with an amazing bar housed in a century-old building, offering great amenities (Wi-Fi, robes, flat screen TV with DVD, mp3 docking station) and rooms reminiscent of a luxury train car. Larger “Captain’s cabins” offer private bath.
More hostel than hotel, the Murray Hill Inn (143 E. 30th St., between Lexington and 3rd Aves., 212/683-6900 or 888/996-6376, www.murrayhillinn.com , $129–200) is located on a quiet residential street.
The high-spirited Gershwin Hotel (7 E. 27th St., between 5th and Madison Aves., 212/545-8000, $150–250, dorms $35 and up), awhirl with artwork and young budget travelers from around the world, is a sort of cheaper, more modern version of the classic Chelsea Hotel . Here you’ll find a lobby brimming with color, no-frills rooms of all shapes and sizes, an art gallery, and a rooftop bar in summer.
Downstairs at the charming Shelburne Murray Hill (303 Lexington Ave., at 37th St., 212/689-5200 or 800/637-8483, $230–299) is an attractive lobby filled with baroque antiques and an especially helpful staff. Upstairs are very spacious suites with two double beds and well-equipped kitchens, making this a good value for the money. The blue and gold furnishings are plush, yet comfortable.
Nautical-theme modernist The Maritime Hotel (363 W.16th St., 212/242-4300, www.themaritimehotel.com , $295–345) is a 126-room boutique hotel whose five-foot-diameter porthole windows add a decorative charm to the polished teak rooms, as well as views out onto midtown and the Hudson River. Several onsite restaurants, an indoor/outdoor 10,000-square-foot garden, and hotspots—like the Matsuri Sake Bar and Hiro Ballroom and Lounge—have made this a popular place in the neighborhood for both guests and visitors alike.
Though small, the lobby of the family-owned Washington Square Hotel (103 Waverly Pl., 212/777-9515 or 800/222-0418, www.washingtonsquarehotel.com , $215–400) is stunning—all black and white tiles, lacy iron grillwork, gilded adornments, and Audubon prints. The recently renovated rooms feature art deco touches, and you can’t beat the location, just off Washington Square .
Once the home of Life magazine, the friendly, Beaux-Arts Herald Square Hotel (19 W. 31st St., between 5th and 6th Aves., 212/279-4017 or 800/727-1888, www.heraldsquarehotel.com , $159–399) boasts a lovely facade complete with lacy iron fretwork and a plump, gilded cherub reading the magazine. Rooms are small, but adequate and very clean.
Built in 1901, the spiffy, neo–art deco Metro (45 W. 35th St., between 5th and 6th Aves., 212/947-2500 or 800/356-3870, www.hotelmetronyc.com , $250–380) offers 175 comfortable guest rooms and a large, comfortable lobby. On the top floor is an exercise room and lively rooftop terrace, where drinks are served in summer.
One of the city’s most historic hostelries is the Chelsea Hotel (222 W. 23rd St., 212/243-3700, www.chelseahotel.com , $139–499), once home to everyone from Dylan Thomas to Sid Vicious. Nowadays, the Chelsea is neither particularly clean nor particularly cheap, but it does have atmosphere. Offbeat, bohemian, and chic in its own faded way, it offers thick walls, many rooms with kitchenettes, a friendly staff, and excellent people-watching. In the basement is the trendy cocktail lounge Serena.
All of the 110 rooms at the new, sleekly minimalist, 20-story Hotel on Rivington (107 Rivington St., between Essex and Ludlow Sts., 212/475-2600, www.hotelonrivington.com , $400–580) are wrapped in glass, offering stunning views of Manhattan . Velvet couches, heated-tile bathroom floors, private terraces, and in-room spa services are among the hotel’s attractions, not to mention its hot location.
When it opened in 1996, the 370-room SoHo Grand (310 W. Broadway, at Grand Ave., 212/965-3000 or 800/965-3000, www.sohogrand.com , $400–550 s or d) was SoHo ’s first hotel since the 1800s. Sleekly done up in industrial metals, oversized lamps, columns, and sofas in its lobby, the hotel has become a chic, minimalist haven for well-heeled fashionables and Europeans. The custom-designed guest rooms feature muted grays, while adjoining the lobby is a classy, high-ceilinged bar.
From the moment you approach The Bowery (335 Bowery, 212/515-9100 www.theboweryhotel.com , $420–500) and the red-vested-black-bowler-hatted doorman welcomes you in, you feel as if you’ve slipped back into Old New York. Exceptional warm service and public areas so inviting, you’re tempted to tuck into a heavy leather chair before the crackling fire or greenery-filled courtyard or hide from the world, sipping a martini in the smokeless period bar. It really seems wasted on a city that has so much to offer outside the lobby doors. There are also floor to ceiling factory-style windows and generous tubs built for two, very impressive.
The Mercer (147 Mercer St., at Prince St., 212/966-6060 or 888/918-6060, $550–760) is a stylish spot, located smack in the middle of SoHo . Each of its 75 understated rooms is done up in furniture made of exotic African woods and features a large bathroom with tubs made for two. Downstairs is the Mercer Kitchen restaurant.
At the stylish W Union Square (201 Park Ave. S, at 17th St., 212/253-9119, $300–1000), you’ll find well-appointed rooms filled with ultra-comfortable furnishings and a lively lobby-bar filled with beautiful people. This is one of five W hotels in the city.