I first visited New York City when I was 17 years-old, and I’ve returned for both work and play numerous times since. It’s my favourite city (ranking even higher than my beloved hometown of London, which is saying a lot), and each time I visit I discover something new. The energy in New York is completely unrivalled – and although the fast-pace can sometimes feel exhausting, I always return buzzing with energy and inspiration.
One of the only downsides to NYC is that accommodation in the city is extremely expensive, which can prove challenging if you’re travelling on a budget.
However, there are some great “budget” hotels in Manhattan, which will help you keep travel costs down. (The word budget is in quotation marks because nothing in New York is cheap. But these are certainly on the affordable end of the spectrum). And I’m sharing three of my top picks below. Whether you’re a first-time traveller, or repeat visitor, there will definitely be somewhere perfect for you on this list…
THE VIBE: Arlo SoHo is a stylish, boutique hotel in Lower Manhattan. They describe themselves as a “haven for wanderers with purpose.” The rooms are compact but functional, and have a cool design direction (think warm colours, wood panelling and white tiles). I stayed in one of the 150 square foot Courtyard King rooms at the beginning of 2018.
THE LOCATION: Arlo SoHo is situated on 231 Hudson Street. It’s a short walk from the heart of SoHo, where you’ll find some of Manhattan’s most popular restaurants (Jack’s Wife Freda, Balthazar, Russ & Daughters Cafe etc). There are also two subway stops within a five minute radius.
If it’s your first time in New York I’d probably suggest staying at one of the other hotels on this list, because they’re slightly better placed for hitting all of the key tourist spots. However, if you know NYC well, and generally spend most of your time downtown, it’s a great location.
PRICES FROM: Using September 2018 as a guide, rooms start from around £220 per night.
MY EXPERIENCE: I really liked Arlo SoHo and wouldn’t hesitate to book a room there again. I loved the design of the hotel, and the communal areas all had a nice ambience too. I’m also fairly certain that Arlo SoHo was the only hotel on this list to have a small fridge in the room, which is an extra plus point.
Yotel New York
THE VIBE: I stayed at Yotel New York in the summer of 2016 and it really impressed me. It’s located on the west side of Midtown Manhattan, close to the Lincoln Tunnel. The rooms are small, but cleverly designed so that every inch of space is super-functional. The lobby features self-check-in kiosks, and has a robotic luggage concierge, so it’s definitely one of the most modern and tech-savvy hotels I’ve ever visited.
THE LOCATION: Yotel New York is at 570 10th Ave. The closest subway stop is Times Square, and is about a 5-10 minute walk away. It’s my least favourite location on this list, as it’s not the best neighbourhood for cafes and restaurants. But the proximity to Times Square makes it a good base to hop around the city from.
PRICES FROM: Using September 2018 as a guide, rooms start from around £190 per night.
MY EXPERIENCE: I really, really liked Yotel New York. I stayed in a Premium Queen Cabin and it was really comfortable and had everything I needed. The location wasn’t ideal for my needs, so I’m not sure I’d stay there again. But if they opened a second location in Manhattan I would be super-keen to give it a try!
THE VIBE: Pod 39 is the most budget-friendly option on this list. I’d describe it as an elevated hostel experience. The rooms are simple but cosy – and all have private bathrooms and flat screen TV’s (if you stay in bunks they each have their own mini-TV). They describe themselves as “centrally located, socially connected, and uber tech-savvy.”
THE LOCATION: Pod 39 is in Murray Hill, at 145 East 39th Street. It’s three blocks from Grand Central Terminal, so it’s very well connected. And it’s in walking distance of some great spots to eat – I recommend Penelope.
PRICES FROM: Using September 2018 as a guide, rooms start from around £200 per night. But I’ve seen prices start at as little as £98 per night before.
MY EXPERIENCE: I stayed at Pod 39 in the spring of 2016, and shared one of their Bunk Pods with my best friend from uni. I didn’t really like the design of our room (I would describe the style as “teenage boy”), but it was functional, comfortable and clean – which are the two most important things. Aside from the look of the room, we really enjoyed our stay and liked the area a lot.
Do you agree that these are the best budget hotels in New York? Where do you like to stay in Manhattan? Have your say in the comments section below…
Imagery from the hotel’s websites | Postcard by Rifle Paper Co