There’s a lot of pressure on newcomers to NYC to pick the right place to stay. Where you’re located in Manhattan during your visit goes a long way to determining what kind of impression you leave with; each neighborhood has it’s own personality, and provides visitors with distinctive glimpses into the daily life of a New Yorker.
While traversing the city to visit attractions, or in search of a meal, is part of the New York experience, where you start and end your day matters. Use this hotel guide as a starting point when planning your next trip.
Address: 79 Crosby Street
Highlights: Upscale and modern in a uniquely bright and vibrant fashion, the expansive lobby and adjoining bars of the Crosby Street Hotel showcase artwork and décor from around the world. The long bar fills with a young, well-to-do crowd, mimicking the trendy and expensive ambiance of the neighborhood. The hotel has its own theatre for film screenings, and a rooftop garden complete with a chicken coop that supplies eggs for the hotel kitchen.
Close to: Located downtown, Soho is a fashionable and upscale area of the city, perfect for access to the popular clothing stores spread along Broadway and the higher-end boutiques that dot the surrounding smaller streets. Stop for breakfast at Balthazar before exploring the more artistic side of the city, with many art galleries and independent theaters such as Film Forum, Sunshine, and Angelika, located within walking distance from this hotel.
Neighborhood: Gramercy Park
Address: 2 Lexington Avenue (on Gramercy Park North)
Highlights: The Gramercy Park Hotel is dramatic, theatrical and old-fashioned in the most luxurious way. Walking up the red carpet into the lobby, visitors are greeted by a huge chandelier and high ceilings, instantly transporting you into the exclusive, traditional world of Gramercy itself. With a lavish attention to detail, stay in this hotel if you want to step back in time. Spectacular pieces of art are on display around the hotel, making the space double as a gallery and adding color to the dim lighting of the downstairs bars. Acclaimed restaurants and a charming rooftop bar known for hosting live music performances add to the energy of the space, despite it’s location in a very quiet part of the city.
Close to: Gramercy Park is one of the only private parks in New York, accessible exclusively to nearby residents with keys – making it a much-coveted area by many Manhattanites. This area is perfect for those who crave a charming, peaceful home base that is still accessible to many key landmarks. A short walk to many lower Manhattan neighborhoods, you can spend your days walking around Union Square Park, stopping for photos by the Flatiron Building, or in the Rubin Museum of Art. From the commotion of the bars and restaurants of the East Village, head back to quiet Gramercy for a good nights sleep before starting again the next day.
Address: 363 W 16th St
Highlights: This nautical-themed hotel makes guests feel the coziness and adventure of staying on a ship, without having to sacrifice proximity to cool bars and restaurants. The theme is immediately apparent with low bookcases and wood paneling in the lobby, and emphasized by the porthole windows in the rooms.
Close to: An area of west Midtown, Chelsea is the sophisticated and chic neighborhood to stay in for those who still want to be close to Midtown’s attractions. Similar to Soho, this is an ideal location for art lovers and foodies who want to feel a part of the action. The expansive Highline is one of many outdoor spaces in the area, making this a great place to stay in the summer. During the day, Chelsea Market and the Whitney Museum of American Art attract residents and tourists alike, and the surrounding bars and restaurants make this a great nightlife spot as well.
Neighborhood: Financial District
Address: 123 Nassau Street
Highlights: The Beekman is located in a beautiful landmark building, containing an elegant and immaculate mix of designs from different eras. A dark and modern take on vintage luxury, Emerald green leather chairs flank the bar, and coasters contain quotes by Edgar Allen Poe. Edison bulbs, ironwork, and arched doorways are always in sight, while smooth jazz plays in the background. The Persian rugs and mosaics that decorate the space add to the slightly exotic atmosphere, as do the towering dark wood cabinets filled with curiosities and leather bound books. Most remarkably, this dramatic bar features a glowing, nine-story atrium, and serves great cocktails.
Close to: Bustling during the day with fast-paced, corporate professionals, the Financial District is quiet at night, and staying at the very southern tip of Manhattan brings visitors close to many unique attractions. From Wall Street and the Raging Bull Statue, to the September 11 Memorial & Museum, this area is filled with history. Visitors can learn more about the city at Federal Hall – the first US Capital building – or the National Museum of the American Indian. The Seaport Historic District, Battery Park, and Zuccotti Park serve as reminders that you’re on an island, even while surrounded by grand and imposing architecture. At night, visitors can either visit the charming pubs along Stone Street, or take a short walk to Chinatown or Soho.
Neighborhood: Hell’s Kitchen
Address: 653 11th Avenue
Highlights: Acclaimed for its spectacular views of the Hudson River – from the rooms and the rooftop bar – Kimpton Ink48 is an unconventional and youthful hotel in Hell’s Kitchen. With an onsite spa, complementary wine from 5pm to 6pm every evening, and yoga mats in every room, guests can also borrow hotel bikes to get around the city. The hotel, like Hell’s Kitchen, is cool and trendy, and is the perfect spot to stay in if you want to spend your visit embracing New York nightlife, from food, to drink, to theatre.
Close to: An area of Midtown on the West Side, Hell’s Kitchen was a crime-filled neighborhood controlled by the Irish mob for much of its history. While it remains relatively inexpensive and a bit gritty, the proximity to so many theatres and multi-ethnic restaurants has led many young actors, musicians, and artists to reside in the area, and it’s become fairly stylish in a less impeccable way than nearby Chelsea. Restaurant Row is a great place to go for food, and there is no shortage of bars to visit after dinner. Visitors will be just blocks away from the USS Intrepid, Times Square, and the Theatre District, and can easily walk down to Chelsea or east into Central Midtown.
Address: 45 W. 38th Street
Highlights: With unbelievable views of the Empire State Building, this hotel’s greatest highlight is its quintessential Manhattan location. If you don’t have a room with a view, you only need to go to Spyglass, the hotel’s rooftop bar, to enjoy the scenery. Aesthetically modern and tasteful, this hotel is also known for the hospitable attention to detail and it’s popular onsite steak restaurant.
Close to: While the rooms in this hotel are on the smaller side, that’s the price you pay for being close to all of the more touristy action – from Times Square, with Madame Tussauds and Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, to Herald Square and Bryant Park, many of New York’s most popular attractions are located just around the corner from the Archer. You’ll likely spend most of your time outside exploring the sights, including the New York Public Library, Grand Central, Broadway, and the Chrysler and Empire State Buildings. This throws you right in the middle of the busiest area of Manhattan, and is a great area to stay for those who want to see a lot in a short amount of time.
(Most pictures provided by hotels)