New York’s hotels are some of the most expensive in America! We have traveled all across this great nation and we can not think of anywhere where the cost of a Hotel room is poorer value than the Big Apple. Not only are priced high but the value is rock bottom. Rooms are notoriously small, often quite dated and amenities pretty limited. You really get very little for your money. Hotels in Hawaii might rival New York for headline price, but with decent pools, ocean views and spacious rooms the clause far outstrips a $250 glorified cupboard with no view in Manhattan!
When it comes to hotels in New York it seems you are considered lucky if you get a roof over your head and a bed to sleep in, and expected to pay handsomely for the privilege! After all, you are in New York so who cares about the Hotel! While this is quite true and we would sleep on the streets to get to explore New York, there really is no need to. There are options in the City for decent accommodation at reasonable prices, you really do not have to stay in a rat hoe to bag if your budget is minimal and you don’t have to drop $500 a night to get somewhere decent! Here are our picks for the Best Cheap Hotels in New York City! So even if you are traveling on a budget you can still bag somewhere clean comfortable and inviting to great your weary feet after a hard day pounding the pavements!
Where to Avoid Staying in New York City?
We often hear the same advice from travel experts when questioned on budget accommodation in New York. These tips sound great and are repeated by the “experts” without really understanding the concepts and the advice they are giving, it’s more about self-promotion than actually getting you to stay somewhere decent! So these are the oft-repeated myths and why we disagree!
Outside of Manhattan
The first tip you will here is to Stay off the Island of Manhattan, say Brooklyn for example! You can then hop on a Subway whenever you need to get to the City, this will save a fortune and not negatively impact the trip!
Rubbish! First up, it’s not going to save you that much money at all! Maybe $10-20 a night over our recommendation but you are not going to get somewhere massively cheap, well not somewhere that you would want to stay in any way!
And the second part neglect to mention what a complete ball ache that is! Sure commuting from Brooklyn every day for work might be no big deal, but to spend an hour of your vacation every day just getting to where you want to be, soon gets very old, and those return trips after hours on your feet and downright painful! Then there is the fact that you may want night on the town? We often, in fact practically every night, pop back to the hotel to change out of our sightseeing clothes into our evening wear before hitting the City that never sleeps! When that involves a 45min-1hr subway ride, each way, you will start to wish you had invested that little bit extra in the Hotel Room.
What’s more, you are not even staying in Manhattan! This might be a trip of a lifetime and you want to spend it in Brooklyn? You are coming to the BIG apple, so Spenfin it in the Big Apple!
We know people who regularly do this and they are positively glowing in their own genius! We saved so much money and the Subway really just gets us in so fast it’s not a problem. This is just a case of putting money-saving ahead of enjoyment! They could have saved even more money and just stayed at home! And we never have the heart to point out, we could probably have found a comparable hotel, in Manhattan for the same price!
Note – We love Brooklyn and the other Boroughs, and if you choose to stay in them for what the offer then great! Not everyone wants to stay in Manhattan. It is just not a good option if the primary motivation is cost-saving!
Another big one that comes up is AirB&B. And the truth is you can save a bit on Staying at an Air B&B’s host. There are big problems with this! One, the most appealing hosts are the properties that offer whole apartment rentals. While these can appear awesome, they are not much cheaper than a hotel. They are probably better value, but the overall cost is similar. The big issue is they are illegal! Short-term Rentals (<30 days) are outlawed in the City of New York! While there are options listed, the Owner will be breaking the law, while staying in these rentals is not technically illegal, you do run the risk of having your reservation canceled, often last minute as the City Cracks down on illegal lettings!
For those letting a shared space, this is no issue, if the tenant is living in the property and you are just renting a room you are fine, but often people find that lack of privacy off-putting. For ultimate Budget stays, backpacking, and the like, this can be a solution, but it’s not for us!
Not on Times Square
Another tip is to look away from Times Square, while this is sometimes true, some of our best budget hotels below are either on or very near Times Square, there really is no NEED to stay in a crappy part of town to get a cheap hotel. Our options are right in the thick of it and budget-friendly!
Of course, there are plenty of other reasons to stay away from the love/hate tourist trap that is times square, but budget is not a reason to stay away!
Where to Stay in New York
So now we have covered where not to stay to save a few dollars lets look at where does offer excellent value and still keeps you close to all the best sights, attractions, and things you really want to see and do in the City.
Anywhere up near central park is a no-go. We love this area but costs start to skyrocket. Real Estate, in general, is super high around here, this is where new workers want to live and this has a huge knock-on effect on prices.
Times Square is the hot destination for tourists and the prime hotels in this area fall well outside the definition of “cheap” or Budget hotels. However, there are still plenty of options that do qualify as Budget that are still within striking distance of Times Square,
Downtown has some real budget options, these are perfectly nice hotels and right in the heart of Downtown. While Downtown is not the ideal place to base yourself it’s still better than staying outside of the city and many attractions, Wall St, 911 Memorial, Statue Cruises, Brooklyn bridge, etc are all right on hand. While you will need to travel for most other things at least part of your intended itinerary will be right on your doorstep. And these are some of the cheapest hotels in Manhattan.
The best compromise of Value and Convenience tends to be just outside Times Square, Central Midtown, Murray Hill, and Hell’s kitchen. These can be a mere block or two away from Times Square, Central Park, Broadway, and all the best Sights and attractions of Manhattan. Don’t expect anything Fany, but you can expect clean, comfortable, and reasonably modern Accommodation without breaking the bank or staying somewhere you really don’t want to be!
There is more to deciding where to stay than just budget though, so read our guide on where to stay in New York for more details about the pro’s and cons of each neighborhood
How Much to Expect to Pay?
Budget is a subjective term and what might be a bargain for some may seem extortionate for others. New York Hotels are Expensive, there is just no getting around that, even the cheapest hotels on our list are still around $100 a night all in.
We consider anything under $150 a night to be Budget, With prices stretching up towards $7-800 for some hotel rooms and there being basically next to nothing under $100 you do have to accept that staying in one of the most densely populated cities in the world, with some of the most expensive real-estate anywhere is just going to be expensive. There are few Hostels and no camping options. Even Airb&B hose shares are still serious money.
That is why our list focuses on what we consider value, these hotels are not “cheap” but are great value considering where you staying and the competition on offer!
Hotels Prices also vary hugely across different dates. We list prices that are typical for a reasonably quiet period. Expect prices to soar at very busy times. If we list a hotel at one price and it’s double that when you check your dates, it’s safe to assume things are very busy. However, Hotels base this on their own occupancy so other hotels on our list may be much quieter and hence cheaper. However at peak times, such as New Year, expect a lot of price Gauging!
Bagging the Best rice is all about timing and we have some tips on booking at the best price below!
Finally, Some hotels have Resort fees, Taxes, and other fees added on to the Rack Rate so they seem far cheaper than they are. We take all that into account and our Price is based on the ALL-IN amount not the Headline rack price that can be misleading.
Downtown is not our favorite distinct to stay in as we have detailed above, it’s further away from most things you are likely to want to see, and we just like being in the thick of things! But at least it is near many great attractions and the Subway ride uptown is only a few minutes. Nowhere in Manhattan is bad, and being so close to the waterfront, with so many great dining options, Wall Street, 911 Memorial, and stunning views over the Hudson and the bay, Downtown is a really special place to be, and with some seriously cheap hotels, that offer quite a lot, it’s worth thinking about!
- Location – Lower Eastside – nr East Village
- Price – $100-$120 Per Night
- Best For – Dining Options
Not our favorite location but only a stone’s throw from the Subway and right next to the famous Katz Deli and the never-ending dining options of the Lower East Side. You are also only a stone’s throw from China Town, and Little Italy.
Rooms are fairly large (by New TYork Standards), modern enough, and quite light and airy. The Highlight is the rooftop Terrace that offers incredible views out over the City.
- Location – World Trade Center
- Price – $100-$120 Per Night
- Best For – Being Downtown
This has an enviable location if Dowtown is your chosen destination, The Hotel sits right at the edge of the World Trade Centre with the Freedom Tower and 911 Memorial right at your door! There are some excellent restaurants and the Subway is right n your doorstep.
The hotel is nice and modern with a full Gym, amazing bar/restaurant overlooking the WTC, roof terrace, and large rooms with desks and business facilities. We really love this hotel, we just prefer not staying Downtown, so it’s not our favorite for that reason alone, but for the money, this is a lot of hotel!
These are hotels that are not quite times square but close enough that you are only a few blocks away and most importantly right in the center of everything, Some even call themselves Times Square but they are not. These are great choices as you are in the heart of things but your doorstep is not actually the crazy tourist-packed insane asylum that is Times Square!
- Location – 6th / 44th Midtown
- Price – $100-$120 Per Night
- Best For – perfect Location!
Just a couple of blocks from Times Square the Club Quarters Hotel, Midtown Times Square is about as close to the square as you can get without being on it! It is also a stone’s throw from Bryant Square the New York Public Library, the Rockefeller Center, and Grand Central. Quite simply this is about as perfectly located as you get.
The Hotel is modern and the rooms are reasonably appointed, they are however REALLY small, 185ft² so definitely look for an upgrade. The hotel is not quite as fresh as the promo pics show, but it’s clean, perfectly located, and cheap as chips!
We also Recommend their Grand Central Location which ranks very highly with guests but is not quite so perfectly located.
- Location – 6th / 36th Midtown
- Price – $120-$150 Per Night
- Best For – Views of the Empire State Building!
Ok, a Holiday Inn may not be your first choice as a New York Hotel but the location of this one is out of this world. With Rooms overlooking the Empire State Building and perfectly located near Fifth Avenue Shops, Macy’s, and only a few blocks from Times Square, we can overlook the “brand” and just enjoy the location.
Sure, you are only going to get basic rooms, but they are modern and really you know what you are getting with a brand like this. Functional is the best word. But request a room view an Empire State View and you won’t care about anything else!
- Location – Times Square
- Price – $120-$250 Per Night
- Best For – Touch of Class at a Bargain Price!
The Manhattan at Times Square is a bit of a rundown hotel and not really a great bet, however, it does have a little secret that makes it well worth hunting out. The Lobby is a splendid place and lavished in marble and gold fittings. However, once you ride the elevator to your floor the furnishings go downhill, and the rooms are pretty shabby!
However, the Executive Class gets a private elevator straight to the 18th floor where the refurbishments have meant the high standards of the lobby are kept up. Once inside the recently renovated rooms, things remain a touch above the norm. The Large beds are very comfy and you even get your own Nespresso Machine for morning coffees! High floors give great views over Times Square and the location is basically perfect, right on the edge of the square to avoid the madness but just a few steps to the tourist heart of the City.
The executive class is not always cheap, often you can expect to pay 50-100% more than a standard room rate, but every no and then the rates drop. We have picked up stays here for less than a standard room at the MTS! Really, Stay away from the MTS but if you can bag a great deal on the Executive Floor it really is a bit of a bargain!
- Location – Times Square
- Price – $130-$170 Per Night
- Best For – Right on Times Square
A Classy and Modern Boutique Hotel right in the heart of the World Famous Times Square for less than $200 a night is a big ask, but the MOXY comes up trumps and delivers in spades! The location is perfect, the lobby spilling you right out into the heart of the City. Everything you need is a short walk away, and the nearest Subway stop is just a block.
The hotel is a trendy modern boutique style hotel, while this chic can mask the fact the rooms are pretty tiny, the hotel is still a nice place to be, and the fantastic roof terrace with Empire State Building Views make it even better. There really is a lot to fall in love with at the MOXY!
Murray Hill is just to the east of Times Square and offers a much more relaxed spot to locate your City Trip. Only a few blocks from most attractions, and with easy access to 5th Avenue, the area feels a little more like you are a resident than a tourist but still when the tourist mood takes you everything you need is right there!
- Location – Murray Hill
- Price – $130-$160 Per Night
- Best For – Friends
Pod hotels originated in Tokyo Japan and thankfully have not made their way over the States! The Pod hotels in New York are not real Pod hotels, just a brand name, and that can only be a good thing! The rooms on offer are however fairly compact. But in New York, this is fairly common with most hotels and the POD rooms are not that much smaller than other hotels and you still get a private bathroom, only it is only separated from the main sleeping area by a screen.
The Bunk Bed Rooms are the cheapest and smallest and offer a great use of space, but no good for couples, but close friends will find these rooms acceptable. The decor is modern and minimalist and the rooms are always spotless. This is a chain hotel and the brand is important to maintenance is excellent.
These are not rooms you want to spend a long time in, but they have everything you need at a fantastic price!
- Location – Grand Central
- Price – $150-$170 Per Night
- Best For –
Another great hotel from Club Quarters, being right next to Grand Central is quite appealing but the location it’s it right on the edge of everything. A short Subway ride or a walk of a few blocks will be needed to get to anything. But this means things are quieter and more sedate than staying right in the heart of the City. And while you are not right “next” to anything, everything is on hand.
The Hotel itself is well-appointed, with clean and comfortable rooms that are actually quite large by Budget New York Standards.
Hell’s Kitchen is not nearly as scary as it sounds. This once impoverished neighborhood was a hotbed of crime and lawlessness, a real no-go area, but that is now just history, and the fully renovated and gentrified Hells Kitchen now lives up to the other side of its name. The area now has more fantastic dining options than just about any place in the world. 9th Av is lined with a huge number of diverse cuisines from every corner of the globe, if you can’t find something amazing to eat in Hell’s Kitchen, you really aren’t likely to anywhere else!
- Location – Hells Kitchen
- Price – $160-$180 Per Night
- Best For – Best Dining Options
Another POD concept hotel, and another Hotel with a Times Square moniker that is not really accurate. Situated on the famous Hells Kitchen 9th Av this is the gateway to a world of dining options unsurpassed anywhere in the world. While not on times square, the POD is only a couple of blocks away from the tourist heart of the City, and you can even see the bright lights down the street, but the attraction of the POD is its proximity to Hells Kitchen!
Like All POD Hotels, the rooms are small and have limited bathroom privacy, but they are clean, excellently maintaining, and a great place to rest your head. There is also an on-site Tiki bar which is very out of place in New York, but we just love all things Hawaiian so it is a thumbs up from us!
How to Book at the BEST price!
Booking the cheapest hotel is all a matter of timing. The best rates come and go based on current and forecasted occupancy. When the hotels are selling rooms slower than they like they drop the prices. When they are flying off the shelves then hike them! As such it is quite impossible to predict if the price you see today will rise or fall!
Fortunately, you don’t have to! We book most of our Hotel rooms through Booking.com. The main reason for this being the free cancellation guarantee! Simply put, book today and if the price drops, or you find it cheaper elsewhere, you can simply cancel, free of charge, and rebook at the cheaper price!
We have booked hundreds of hotel rooms this way and often find Booking.com cheaper than anywhere else, and often the price we booked originally is the cheapest. But Prices do go down often and when that happens it is NO issue to just cancel and rebook at the cheaper price! You never need to overpay for a hotel room again!
New York Hotels on Booking.com – Free Cancellation!
Have Your Say
Have you found a particular bargain in New York? We would love to hear about it? We are always hunting new budget options to share with our readers! Maybe you stayed somewhere cheap but quite unpleasant? Also, feel free to warn our readers here! We would love to hear about your experiences in any of our recommended hotels, standards can slip and we love to keep abreast of everything!
So if you have anything to say at all or some burning question then just fire away in the comments below.