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NYC hotels at a price that's right

  • Story Highlights
  • The English countryside meets the city at the Abingdon Guest House
  • Country-chic rooms at the Chelsea Lodge start at $129
  • The Pod Hotel is a haven for the young and hip
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Budget Travel

(Budget Travel) -- New York City hotels charge nearly $300 a night on average. But with some persistence, it's possible to book a far more affordable place that's central, comfortable, and -- sometimes -- even charming. Be sure to plan well in advance. Most hotels recommend you make reservations at least one month before your arrival. Others encourage you to book months ahead. Some hotels require a certain minimum-night stay.


Colorful, mod-print linens brighten the Pod Hotel's 360 sleek rooms.

Some booking strategies

While not new, the blind-booking Web sites Priceline and Hotwire are terrific sources for discounted rooms in Manhattan (and elsewhere). These sites won't name the hotel (or airline or car-rental company) you're working with until your bid has been accepted and your credit card has been charged. But rest assured, these sites work with respected hotels, so you should receive a quality room in Manhattan if you bid on three- and four-star hotels. For help with your bidding, check out and, which are user's guides to Priceline and Hotwire.

Be sure to consider mid-market national chains such as Hampton Inn and Courtyard by Marriott, which have been moving into New York City. These hotels offer newly constructed buildings and often provide substantial breakfasts, unlimited local calls and free Internet access in their lobbies. Best of all, these mid-market chains charge up to 30 percent less than comparable local independents. For more info, read New hotels in New York City.

Still, there's the obvious trade-off: try as they might, hotel chains lack local character. If independently owned lodging with some personality is what you want, consider Budget Travel's picks for affordable New York City hotels.


'Hood: The West Village, a downtown area with tree-lined streets and no skyscrapers. Landmarks include the Village Vanguard jazz club and chef Mario Batali's Babbo.

First impression: The English countryside meets the city in these two dainty, 19th-century town houses.

The rooms: Each of the nine rooms has tasteful features; the Garden Room, for example, has green walls, exposed brick and an adjoining outdoor garden. Bathrooms are private, whether en suite or adjacent to a room.

Plus: Quiet and discreet, with no lobby or front desk, the Abingdon feels more like your own pad than a temporary stopover.

Minus: The Abingdon has a strict check-in policy; you must arrive by your appointed time. There's a two-night minimum stay on weeknights, and a four-night minimum stay on weekends.

Free Wi-Fi? Yes, in all rooms. (There's no public lounge.)

Credit cards accepted: AmEx, MC, Visa.

Details: 21 Eighth Ave., 212/243-5384,, doubles from $189.


'Hood: Chelsea is a midtown, semi-residential district best known for its galleries that showcase contemporary visual art.

First impression: This picturesque, 22-room town house charms with its quirky decor, including large wooden geese mounted to lobby walls.

The rooms: The immaculate rooms feel like country-chic escapes because of their rustic furniture and polished wood floors.

Plus: Large windows, high ceilings and soothing colors open up the small rooms.

Minus: While there is a shower and a sink in every room, toilets are shared.

Free Wi-Fi? Yes, in guest rooms and public spaces.

Credit cards accepted: AmEx, MC, Visa.

Details: 318 W. 20th St., 800/373-1116,, doubles from $129.


'Hood: Tribeca, the Triangle Below Canal Street, is an area defined by residential lofts. It lures fewer tourists than nearby, better-known SoHo.

First impression: This hotel works well for travelers who care more about their accommodations' address than the ambience. The hotel feels generic and suburban, despite its name.

The rooms: The 125 small rooms have basic furnishings and just enough space to be comfortable without feeling puny.

Plus: The rooms' high ceiling fans add a homey touch to otherwise ordinary digs.

Minus: Chambers Street can be noisy. Ask for a room in the back of the hotel.

Free Wi-Fi? Yes, in guest rooms and public spaces.

Credit cards accepted: AmEx, MC, Visa.

Details: 95 W. Broadway, 888/895-9400,, doubles from $175.


'Hood: Midtown, just down the block from the flash and frenzy of Times Square.

First impression: Hotel impresario André Balazs' magic touch is evident from the moment you step into the lobby of his hotel. You check in at a funky, Euro-style kiosk stocked with fashion mags -- a glimpse of the lobby pool and swim-up bar beckons through a glass pane.

The rooms: The 139 rooms come in several configurations ("Platform bed or bunk beds?"). Heavy windows block out the sounds from 45th Street.

Plus: A DJ spins five nights a week by the small pool and swim-up bar. A sauna, steam room, and tiny fitness room are open all day and night.

Minus: The rooms will feel cramped, so Hotel QT is a good bet only for travelers who plan to max out their time in the common areas or elsewhere in the city.

Free Wi-Fi? Yes, in guest rooms. Expected to debut in public spaces this winter.

Credit cards accepted: AmEx, MC, Visa.

Details: 125 W. 45th St., 212/354-2323,, doubles from $265.


'Hood: Gramercy, whose leafy and quiet streets are bounded by 14th Street, Third Avenue, 23rd Street, and Park Avenue South.

First impression: It's not hard to see why Woody Allen filmed Manhattan Murder Mystery here, given the glamour of the hotel's old-fashioned, wood-paneled lobby and its narrow, winding corridors.

The rooms: The decor varies, but most of the 122 rooms maintain a stately, old-world feel, thanks to the muted color palette, dark wood trim and mahogany beds and armoires.

Plus: The staff is exceptionally friendly and happy to volunteer travel info, such as where to find the best local restaurant for a late-night bite.

Minus: Not all rooms have private bathrooms. Be sure to specify your preference when booking.

No free Wi-Fi

Credit cards accepted: MC, Visa.

Details: 225 E. 17th St., 212/475-2845,, doubles from about $120.


'Hood: Greenwich Village, but five blocks away from Union Square, a busy shopping district that's home to artisans, street performers, and the Greenmarket, a famous farmer's market.

First impression: The Larchmont strives to be a classy throwback by offering a lobby with dark furniture and windowed counters. But its cheapish roots show through during check-in and checkout times, when the lobby typically gets crammed with luggage.

The rooms: No-frills rooms are outfitted with basic bedspreads, light pink walls and rattan furniture that carries a faint whiff of the Caribbean. Rooms have sinks, but bathrooms are shared. One exception: There is a family room that sleeps a family of four and that has a private bathroom.

Plus: The Larchmont feels safe and secure. New guests have to be buzzed into the lobby; once they've checked in, lodgers receive their own set of keys and can enter through a separate hall.

Minus: The modest rooms and shared bathrooms are reminiscent of dormitories.

Free Wi-Fi? Yes, in the lobby, café, and some of the rooms.

Credit cards accepted: AmEx, MC, Visa.

Details: 27 W. 11th St., 212/989-9333,, doubles from $109.


'Hood: This part of Midtown is brimming with restaurants and bars and is not far from Bloomingdale's, Central Park, and the Museum of Modern Art.

First impression: The spacious lobby establishes the Pod's rep as a haven for the young and hip, with its funky murals, asymmetrical couches and retro light fixtures.

The rooms: Colorful, mod-print linens brighten up the 360 sleek rooms. The tiny work spaces, brushed-metal sinks and minuscule bathrooms (in most rooms) are marvels of efficiency.

Plus: The common areas make the place -- travelers can relax on the hotel's chic, outdoor patio and take in the bird's-eye view from the roof deck.

Minus: The hotel has its name for a reason -- the rooms are tiny. Note: Single and bunk-bed rooms have shared bathrooms.

Free Wi-Fi? Yes, in guest rooms and public spaces.

Credit cards accepted: AmEx, MC, Visa.

Details: 230 E. 51st St., 800/742-5945,, singles with shared baths from $89.


'Hood: The East Village, a gritty zone that's home to many lively bars, cheap eats and NYU students.

First impression: Peaceful and private, with no lobby or front desk, Second Home feels like its name. A skylight spills natural light into the airy duplex with wood floors. (The owner hates carpet.)

The rooms: New York properties are notorious for their small spaces, and that's why Second Home's five large rooms -- and high ceilings -- are such a refreshing surprise. Plus, no two rooms are the same; each has distinct flavor, such as Peruvian or Caribbean.

Plus: Soundproof windows block out noise from busy Second Avenue outside.

Minus: Two of the rooms share a bathroom. And there's only a tiny sign outside the guesthouse. Look for the Body Evolution studio, which shares the building. Enter through the red door. Also, there is a two-night minimum stay on weeknights, and a three-night minimum stay on weekends.

Free Wi-Fi? Yes, in guest rooms.

Credit cards accepted: AmEx, MC, Visa.

Details: 221 Second Ave., 212/677-3161,, doubles from $132, includes taxes, coffee, and tea. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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Copyright © 2009 Newsweek Budget Travel, Inc., all rights reserved.

Note: This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.

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