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Manhattan’s hotel scene is known for snug rooms and high prices, but if you look hard enough you can find a number of wallet-friendly options. To take advantage of hotels that offer lower rates, book as early as possible; hotels frequently sell out in New York, so prices for last-minute bookings tend to skyrocket. Each neighborhood offers a different side of "The City," and each nabe has a different definition of budget (for example, you're likely to get nicer budget digs in Harlem than in, say, Greenwich Village). Whether seeking out nightlife, history, culture or the foodie scene, these 10 Manhattan hotels will help you stick to your travel budget.
Best Overall: Broadway Plaza Hotel
Located in the Flatiron neighborhood, the Broadway Plaza Hotel has fresh, modern accommodations, a prime location, excellent service and reasonable prices. The 69-room hotel dates back to 1894 when it became the first public kinetoscope parlor in New York to air short films. Today, the hotel rooms (which were renovated in early 2016), have a sleek, modern design with silver, grey and white color schemes, designer furniture and 175 to 224 square feet of space (in the smallest rooms). There’s also plush bedding, 42-inch flat-screen televisions, iPod docking stations, high-speed WiFi and 24-hour room service. The hotel is just a short walk to Madison Square Park, and is surrounded by restaurants and bars. Parking is additional and not located at the property.
Best Design: Hotel Shocard at Times Square
Inspired by the bright lights of Broadway's theater district, the 47-room Hotel Shocard is a stylish hotel in the center of it all at. A bright neon sign on the side of the building fits in to the Times Square theme, and inside the hotel traces of brass hardware, tile floors and theater-style lighting set the tone. The room categories have theme names like “opening act” or “spotlight,” and the wooden panels in these rooms are modeled after old theater doors. Rooms are fitted with high-quality bedding, flat-screen televisions, retro radios with iPod docks, free WiFi, refrigerators and private baths with rainfall showers. Guests can kick back in Gleason’s Tavern, which serves new American fare for breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as some happy hour drink specials.
Best for Families: Comfort Inn Times Square West
While many hotel rooms in New York accommodate one or two guests, the 70-room Comfort Inn Times Square West has larger options to accommodate families, as well as an excellent location in the main tourism hub. Standard Double Rooms have traditional décor, coffee makers, private baths, free WiFi and flat-screen televisions. Other perks include free breakfast and proximity to major attractions such as Madison Square Garden, Broadway and Rockefeller Center.
Best Midtown Hotel: The Seton Hotel
Blending antiques with sleek, modern designs, the 60-room Seton Hotel is a fashionable, yet affordable hotel in the heart of Midtown Manhattan. Rooms are newly renovated and have elegant décor, a minimum of 120 square feet of space, flat-screen televisions, free WiFi, premium bedding and private baths in most (however the lowest-priced rooms have shared baths). Parking is available for an extra charge, as well as an airport shuttle. There is no restaurant or bar on the property, but there is a beautiful and inviting lounge for guests to mingle or relax. The hotel is steps from New York’s most famous landmarks like Grand Central Terminal, the Chrysler Building, Empire State Building and Rockefeller Center.
Best Uptown: Aloft Harlem
Lined with beautiful brownstone homes and just a stone’s throw away from the northern section of Central Park, Harlem is a vibrant neighborhood with new shops and restaurants opening all the time. The 122-room Aloft Hotel has modern décor and a great location next to major subway lines and just one block from the famous Apollo Theater. Unwind in the bar and lounge and enjoy live jazz and DJ music or play a game of pool. You can also grab a quick bite from their light-snack selections or get a workout in at the fitness center. The eco-friendly rooms have plug-in stations, an oversized shower with spa bath products and free WiFi. Parking is additional and the hotel welcomes pets.
Best for Friends: Pod 39 Hotel
Smack in the middle of Murray Hill in Midtown Manhattan, Pod 39 is a hip, playful hotel with a popular rooftop deck. Décor is colorful and artistic, with a Southwestern style that meets urban New York flair. Rooms (or pods) are very small, but have a media center or iPod docks, glass-enclosed showers, flat-screen televisions, dimmer lighting switches and personal climate control. Some Double Rooms have bunk beds - perfect for friends reminiscing about those college days. There’s also a connected cantina restaurant for tacos and margaritas, ping pong in the play room and a trendy rooftop bar with killer cocktails.
Best on the Upper West Side: The Lucerne Hotel
The Lucerne Hotel has a prime location on the Upper West Side, as well as regal, Old-World style at surprisingly affordable rates. There’s also the “run of the house” option that allows guests to book whatever is available for the lowest rate – whether that’s a suite or basic room. Standard Rooms have elegant décor with dark wood furnishings, flat-screen televisions, Keurig coffeemakers, granite and marble baths, free WiFi and Sony Dream machine radios. Guests can relax with an in-room spa treatment or squeeze in a workout at the fitness center. Transportation to the airport or parking can be arranged through the concierge for an additional charge, and a French restaurant is located at the base of the hotel.
Best Guesthouse: Saint Nicholas Inn
A favorite among backpackers, the Saint Nicholas Inn is located in northwest Harlem just below Washington Heights in the Sugar Hill District. A beautiful, historic town house with original hardwood flooring, there are five rooms with basic amenities, shared facilities or private baths, as well as a kitchen and lounge area. A continental breakfast is included. Walking tours of Sugar Hill can be booked from outside vendors to get a sense of this historic community. The subway is just around the corner from the hotel, and you can be in the heart of Midtown Manhattan in about 20 minutes.