Special for USA TODAY
You won’t have much trouble finding a chic restaurant, hotel or boutique in New York City. What’s much more difficult is finding one that won’t drain your wallet. However, there’s no need to put off a trip to the fashionable haunts of the Big Apple; we’ll show you how to scout out the hidden values in this pricey town.
That said, New York will never be “cheap” – what locals consider inexpensive in New York may be extravagant in other parts of the country. For the purposes of this article, “cheap” is defined as $60 and under for a meal for two people and $300 and under (before taxes) per night for a hotel room. The amount you spend shopping is up to you, but we’ve found some places where you’ll get good value and style for your money.
Hotels: High style for low(er) prices
As of May 2008, the average hotel room in New York City cost $350, an increase of $50 from 2007, according to NYC & Company, the official marketing and tourism organization for New York City. Yet it is possible to find a classy room for under $300 without opting for a cookie-cutter chain.
Though the rooms at the Cosmopolitan (95 West Broadway; 212-566-1900 or 888-895-9400) are on the small side, the location in quiet, cobblestone-lined Tribeca is a charmer. All 150 rooms in this historic hotel, in business since 1851, come with private bath, work desks, color TV and free wireless Internet access. Rates range from $185 to $300 for rooms with double or queen beds.
If you’re looking for a funky place where the price is right, check out the Gershwin (7 E. 27th St.; 212-545-8000). Though the hotel can be a little rough around the edges, it has charm and old New York style; several artists in residence live full-time on the premises. Rooms range from $109 to $135 for the Essential, with a double bed; $119 to $245 for Le Standard, which is slightly larger; and $129 to $285 for the Superior, which includes a reading area. Plus it’s only a few blocks from Madison Square Park, home to the popular Shake Shack, open March through October.
Rooms for $99 a night in downtown’s chic West Village neighborhood may sound too good to be true. But that’s what hoteliers Sean MacPherson and Eric Goode of Manhattan’s trendy Bowery and Maritime Hotels are offering this fall at their recently opened Jane Hotel (113 Jane St.; 212-924-6700). Though you won’t be sacrificing style by staying here, you will sacrifice space – the rooms, which resemble “luxury train cabins,” are only 50 square feet and share bathrooms down the hall. They do, however, include free high-speed Internet access and flat-screen TVs, plus a prime location next to Hudson River Park.
The Marcel at Gramercy
The Marcel (201 E. 21st St.; 212-696-3800) reopened earlier this year after renovations. This centrally located hotel includes 135 guestrooms, all offering Frette linens and flat-screen TVs, plus nice touches like champagne on arrival and wine and cheese in the evenings. Standard room rates start at $297 if you book through Amsterdam Hospitality’s website at nychotels.com. The hotel also houses Bar Milano, a Northern Italian restaurant from the team behind popular Manhattan eateries ‘ino and ‘inoteca.
The Pod Hotel
Formerly the Pickwick Arms hotel, The Pod (230 E. 51st St.; 800-742-5945) has been thoroughly reinvented as a hip place to stay in east Midtown, within easy walking distance of Rockefeller Center, Radio City Music Hall and Times Square. The stylish rooms, called “pods,” include iPod docking stations (of course), free WiFi access and LCD TVs, and the hotel features a lounge and roof deck with panoramic city views. Single pods with shared bath start at $159 a night, bunk pods with bunked twin beds (each with its own TV) and shared bath at $169, and double or queen pods with private bath at $289. One handy feature – if you’re sharing a bathroom, an in-room display indicates whether or not the bathroom down the hall is occupied.
World Traveller with a desire to share what I learn through my travels, with other fellow travellers and clients and friends.