As any New Yorker will tell you, finding your own space within the tightly-jammed 23 square miles of Manhattan is the ultimate luxury. For travelers who don’t mind tiny rooms or the absence of fine amenities, cheap hotels in New York come in a surprising array of choices spanning every neighborhood, from Harlem to Battery Park.
Cheap Hotels in New York City
No matter your budget, you can’t go wrong with these 11 cheap places to stay in New York. Keep in mind, “cheap” is relative—hotel rates here are higher than almost anywhere else in America—and ear plugs are always a packing essential.
Although it’s located in Midtown, this small hotel on 31st Street East has a relaxed and youthful vibe that feels straight out of neighborhood Murray Hill. Hotel 31, along with its cousin, long-term rental haven Hotel 17, have killer locations and have long represented the best of cheap hotels in New York. You’ll feel like a local while staying on this quiet residential street, with a range of good cheap eats and lively bars nearby, plus easy transit connections.
The hotel’s 60 rooms are basic yet sparkling clean, as are the bathrooms (some of which are shared with other rooms on the hall). You can pay extra for a private bath, but shared baths rarely seem to be occupied, so why bother? Don’t expect room service or a trendy bar—or even a lobby, for that matter—but do expect to save money while enjoying a true New York experience.
Amenities: Free Wi-Fi, 24-hour concierge, air conditioning, in-room vanity and sink, hair dryer, flat-screen TV, and multilingual staff.
Pod 39 Hotel
First came Pod 51, a Midtown hotel specializing in boldly designed tiny spaces with affordable prices. Then the concept evolved with a tech slant for this second installation, opened in 2012, not far from Grand Central Terminal. Each colorful and compact pod features Wi-Fi, flat-screen TV, individualized climate control and dimming lights, and en suite bathrooms with rainfall showers.
Michelin-star chef April Bloomfield’s Salvation Taco is on site, as is an ultra-cool rooftop bar, so there’s little reason to stay in your room. Free walking tours are yet another bonus.
Amenities: Free Wi-Fi, concierge, multilingual staff, laundry service, air conditioning, and flat-screen TV.
This historic 60-room hotel in the heart of Midtown East is beloved for its low-key vibe and friendly staff who aim to help guests make the most of time in NYC. Rooms are small and basic, but each is individually decorated and exudes classic charm.
Rooms with in-room sinks and shared baths are the most affordable option. For more privacy, reserve a room with en suite bath. A bonus for budget-conscious travelers: The hotel offers free coffee and espresso in the lobby, and delicious cheap eats (in the form of Shake Shack) are right next door.
Amenities: Free Wi-Fi, bathrobes and slippers, flat-screen TV, guest lounge with complimentary coffee, business center, access to nearby gym, iPod docking stations, and dry-cleaning and laundry service.
A favorite of theater-goers on a budget, Mayfair Hotel has old-school charm—think wood paneling and wallpaper so kitschy, it’s cool—and a surprisingly peaceful feel, even though it’s located near the heart of Times Square.
Mayfair Hotel is on 49th Street, next door to Eugene O’Neill Theater; be sure to check out the old Broadway photos in the lobby. Italian restaurant Cielo is great for grabbing a quick bite before a show.
Amenities: Free Wi-Fi, on-site bar, air conditioning, flat-screen TV, multilingual staff, and in-room safes.
Room Mate Grace
The concept of Room Mate hotels is for guests to feel as though they’re staying with a friend or “roommate,” and this lively Times Square hotel delivers on that idea. Guests rave about the friendly, accessible staff and relaxed atmosphere. Rooms feature funky decor, eye-popping wallpaper, retro furnishings, and modern bathrooms with rainfall showers.
Sleep late without missing breakfast—a hearty buffet is served until noon—then refresh with a late-afternoon dip in the heated pool. There’s also a sauna and pool bar.
Amenities: Free Wi-Fi, fitness center, on-site bar, pool, dry-cleaning and laundry service, concierge, multilingual staff, air conditioning, in-room safes, and flat-screen TV.
Historic charm and an unbeatable location near Hudson River Park and High Line make The Jane one of the best cheap hotels in New York. The quirky space, first opened in 1908 as lodging for sailors, is designed to feel like being aboard a ship, complete with tiny sleeping quarters.
The 130 standard cabins (reeling in at 50 square feet) and 40 bunkbed cabins have shared baths, while 30 captain’s cabins feature en suite bathrooms. Be sure to have a cocktail in the Old Rose or seasonal Rooftop Bar after a pedal along the river with one of the hotel’s complimentary bicycles.
Amenities: Free Wi-Fi, concierge, rooftop bar, on-site restaurant, air conditioning, flat-screen TV, C.O. Bigelow bath amenities, and in-room safes.
This 100-room boutique hotel, located at the cross-section of Chinatown and Nolita, is ideally located for travelers who hope to explore both neighborhoods. Little Italy, the Lower East Side, and Soho are also within a short walk. History buffs love the spot’s lineage as the city’s oldest continuously operating hotel as well as vintage features like exposed brick, tin ceilings, and classic subway tiles.
Extra touches like bath amenities by C.O. Bigelow, one of New York’s oldest pharmacies, and easy-going and friendly staff help to set Sohotel apart. Neighborhood brunch favorite Randolph Beer is steps away.
Amenities: Free Wi-Fi, 24-hour reception, safe deposit boxes at reception, flat-screen TV, kids’ activities, and concierge.
Hostelling International-New York
The grandmother of all cheap places to stay in New York is HI-New York, the largest hostel in America. It’s housed within a landmark Victorian Gothic building (designed by celebrated architect Richard Morris Hunt, of Biltmore fame), near Central Park and subway lines. The hostel can house up to 672 guests in a range of women’s and men’s dorms. Rooms and baths are well laid out and, thankfully, kept immaculately clean.
Guests are encouraged to gather in common areas like the spacious outdoor terrace, kitchen, and pool room, and to join together for group outings and free walking tours. Looking for the best place to sample local craft beers? Ask someone on staff—the young and friendly HI team is a solid resource for finding the best of the neighborhood’s dining and nightlife.
Amenities: Free Wi-Fi, in-room safes, on-site restaurant, laundry service, multilingual staff, and self-serve laundry.
Aloft offers a modern and comfortable choice for travelers hoping to soak up the creative energy of historic Harlem. Central Park and Columbia University are nearby, as are landmarks like the Apollo Theatre and Sylvia’s Restaurant. As at most of Starwood’s Aloft properties, the aesthetic is sleek and service is professional and friendly.
The W XYZ Bar is a convenient, sometimes lively place to sip a cocktail before heading out to hear music, and a 24-hour grab-and-go area offers light snacks, including tasty egg pots for breakfast on the move.
Amenities: Free Wi-Fi, 24-hour fitness center, dry-cleaning and laundry service, self-service laundry, pool, multilingual staff, business center, concierge, and kids’ activities.
Gild Hall is one of the best cheap hotels in New York for travelers who want easy access to Wall Street, Freedom Tower, and the Brooklyn Bridge. They’re all within walking distance of Gild Hall, along with a range of exciting new galleries and restaurants.
The hotel has an on-site Tuscan restaurant, Felice, as well as an upper-level wine bar called La Soffitta. Have a cocktail amid vintage books in the library lounge before hitting the nearby pubs of Stone Street.
Amenities: Free Wi-Fi, fitness center, 24-hour business center, Sferra linens, Frette robes, D.S. & Durga luxury amenities, and flat-screen LCD TV.
The Wall Street Inn
This downtown gem is rich in charm. One of New York’s last remaining family-operated hotels, The Wall Street Inn is also one of Manhattan’s rare female-owned properties.
The 46-room inn is a good choice for families and travelers planning to visit Freedom Tower and the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, as well as Ellis Island and Statue of Liberty. Another rarity in the world of New York City hotels is continental breakfast—with all the fuel you need, including coffee and pastries, included in the rate.
Amenities: Free Wi-Fi, fitness center, business center, dry-cleaning and laundry service, multilingual staff, and air conditioning.
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—Original reporting by Jess Simpson