Until recently, “affordable hotel in New York” conjured thoughts of bedbugs, thin walls, and dim lightbulbs. No longer. The opening of the city’s second Arlo hotel in November heralds the era of the affordable luxury. Like its sister hotel, which opened a few months early in Hudson Square, the Arlo NoMad aims to be the first microhotel with four-star design. The 250 rooms are snug—averaging 150 square feet—but expansive windows (with stunning city views on the higher floors) make them feel larger than their footprint. They’re also stylish and comfortable, with no wasted spaces or superfluous furnishings. They have high-quality materials and fixtures, carefully designed storage systems, stock-your-own minibars (from a fairly priced shop downstairs), and amenities from the trendy local brand Blind Barber.
The public spaces are stylish, too. Designed by AvroKO, the coworking spaces, social lobby, three bars, and courtyard lounge pop with color and energy. One wall is a display for postcards on which guests share their impressions of New York, and the cards are periodically archived in boxes all around the front desk based on those guests’ airport of origin. The rooftop lounge is set to be a popular nightlife spot come summer, and brave guests can stand on a glass floor 31 stories above the street below.
Massoni, the signature restaurant, is by Top Chef star Dale Talde (of Talde in Brooklyn), David Massoni, and John Bush. They call their menu “inauthentic Italian,” as it’s heavy on pastas and pizzas but playful with influences from nearby neighborhoods like Koreatown and Curry Hill. From $199, arlohotels.com
9 More Stylish Hotels Under $250
Ace Hotel, NoMad
The pioneer of affordable chic in Manhattan, this NoMad hotel is still going strong, with 272 industrial-chic rooms, rock-and-roll inflections, a buzzy lobby, and perpetually packed restaurants and bars. Guests can attend free, frequent evening events like concerts and poetry readings.
The Archer, Garment District
Turning small space into large luxury is the idea behind this Midtown newcomer. That means five-star linens, subway-tiled bathrooms, and floor-to-ceiling windows that give views of the bustling fashion corridors below. Along with a $20 “Destination Joker” voucher (for the restaurant or rooftop bar) that any guest gets with a direct booking, those who show good manners—not looking at your phone at dinner, holding your wineglass by its stem—earn $10 Class Act Cards to use toward hotel services.
NYLO, Upper West Side
A dose of glamour on the quiet, stately Upper West Side, this hotel has a lively, social lobby and more sedate guest rooms. They’re small in size but well turned out with things like rain showers, plush bedding, and plentiful natural light. Outposts of the popular New York restaurants Red Farm (modern Chinese) and Serafina (Italian) are downstairs. Each room receives two free welcome drinks at the lobby bar.
Pod Brooklyn, Williamsburg
Brooklyn’s hip(ster)est neighborhood is having a hotel boom, and its latest competitor is more gently priced than the others. The upcoming third New York outpost of the tiny-living Pod brand has rooms that are, well, pods, with minimal floor space, clever storage solutions, and no superfluous details. The thinking is that while good design is valuable, in a city like New York, no one spends much time in their hotel room. To that end, all the NYC Pod hotels offer complimentary walking tours (normally $200) with the local company Streetwise.
ROW NYC, Times Square
Urban grit meets contemporary grandeur at this stylish newcomer just one block from the beating heart of Times Square. The 1,331 rooms have brightly colored walls and ergonomic workspaces, and within the hotel, you’ll find an iMac Internet lodge with 24-foot windows overlooking Eighth Avenue, a 24/7 one-stop shop, outposts of cycling gym Cyc Fitness and blow-dry bar Glam & Go, and an ambitious food hall. A promotion includes $1 continental breakfast with pastries from top NYC bakeries Balthazar, Payard, and Pain d’Avignon.
The Euro-chic affordable luxury brand citizenM landed near Times Square for its first North American hotel. Cheeky British whimsy meets a New York energy in the design, which has large murals, mismatched chairs, and a green wall in the common areas and cherry-red accents in the bedrooms. While the beds may be squeezed between walls, they’re proper kings and have large windows behind them. Wi-Fi and movies are included in the rate.
Hotel Hayden, Flower District
The northern reaches of Chelsea are filled with affordable corporate brands but had been lacking in indie style until this winter. The owners of the cool Hotel Hugo in SoHo have glammed up an existing hotel, adding a rooftop restaurant and lounge (part of the Ethos group of Greek restaurants), updating the 122 guest rooms (think bright color-blocked headboards, spa bathrooms, and 43-inch HDTVs), installing living walls, and creating meeting spaces for visitors and local creative, fashion, and tech agencies. The hotel is pet-friendly and dogs are welcomed with treats.
The Redbury, NoMad
“A little bit naughty and a whole lot of rock and roll” was the design brief for creative director Matthew Rolson (known as a celebrity photographer and music video director) behind this NoMad newcomer. Befitting a hotel in what was once Tin Pan Alley, there’s a video loop in the lobby that resembles a music video, lipstick-red walls in the 265 guest rooms, and generous lashings of velvet and fringe. The pizza-centric restaurant, Marta, is part of admired impresario Danny Meyer’s empire. Partnerships with cool local brands, like the drumming-based workout Pound, aim to draw locals as well as guests to free events.
Life Hotel, NoMad
From $250; $199 for stays through August booked before April 15
The former Life magazine offices are about to take new shape as the trendy NoMad neighborhood’s latest snazzy hotel. Opening in April, the 98-room property is steeped in history—the building dates from the late 1800s—and outfitted with modern conveniences like 60-inch TVs with streaming functions and “industrial Wi-Fi to cater to the growing work-play community.” There’s a communal workspace, a basement speakeasy, a curated art collection throughout the hotel, and a restaurant by Strip House chef Michael Vignola. Guests get the benefit of a “Life line” that lets them text concierges and other staff 24/7 with their requests and a Dining on the Run program that allows them to text their order from the Life Restaurant and have it ready for pickup as they exit or enter the hotel.
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