HOTEL DEALS

New York at a Price That's Right

We've picked seven hotels as reliable, affordable places to stay in New York City.

By Heather Eng, Wednesday, Dec 17, 2008, 5:05 AM

New York City hotels charge nearly $300 a night on average. But with some persistence, it's possible to book a far more affordable place that's central, comfortable, and—sometimes—even charming. Be sure to plan well in advance. Most hotels recommend you make reservations at least one month before your arrival. Others encourage you to book months ahead. Some hotels require a certain minimum-night stay.

Some booking strategies
While not new, the blind-booking websites Priceline and Hotwire are terrific sources for discounted rooms in Manhattan (and elsewhere). These sites won't name the hotel (or airline or car-rental company) you're working with until your bid has been accepted and your credit card has been charged. But rest assured, these websites work with respected hotels, so you should receive a quality room in Manhattan if you bid on three- and four-star hotels. For help with your bidding, check out biddingfortravel.com and betterbidding.com, which are user's guides to Priceline and Hotwire.

Be sure to consider mid-market national chains such as Hampton Inn and Courtyard by Marriott, which have been moving into New York City. These hotels offer newly constructed buildings and often provide substantial breakfasts, unlimited local calls, and free Internet access in their lobbies. Best of all, these mid-market chains charge up to 30 percent less than comparable local independents. For more info, read our article New Hotels in New York City.

Still, there's the obvious trade-off: try as they might, hotel chains lack local character. If independently owned lodging with some personality is what you want, consider Budget Travel's picks for affordable New York City hotels.

ABINGDON GUEST HOUSE
'Hood The West Village, a downtown area with tree-lined streets and no skyscrapers. Landmarks include the Village Vanguard jazz club and chef Mario Batali's Babbo.
First Impression The English countryside meets the city in these two dainty, 19th-century town houses.
The Rooms Each of the nine rooms has tasteful features; the Garden Room, for example, has green walls, exposed brick, and an adjoining outdoor garden. Bathrooms are private, whether en suite or adjacent to a room.
Plus Quiet and discreet, with no lobby or front desk, the Abingdon feels more like your own pad than a temporary stopover.
Minus The Abingdon has a strict check-in policy; you must arrive by your appointed time. There's a two-night minimum stay on weeknights, and a four-night minimum stay on weekends.
Free Wi-Fi? Yes, in all rooms. (There's no public lounge.)
Credit Cards Accepted AmEx, MC, Visa.
Details 21 Eighth Ave., 212/243-5384, abingdonguesthouse.com, doubles from $189.
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THE CHELSEA LODGE
'Hood Chelsea is a midtown, semi-residential district best known for its galleries that showcase contemporary visual art.
First Impression This picturesque, 22-room town house charms with its quirky decor, including large wooden geese mounted to lobby walls.
The Rooms The immaculate rooms feel like country-chic escapes because of their rustic furniture and polished wood floors.
Plus Large windows, high ceilings, and soothing colors open up the small rooms.
Minus While there is a shower and a sink in every room, toilets are shared.
Free Wi-Fi? Yes, in guest rooms and public spaces.
Credit Cards Accepted AmEx, MC, Visa.
Details 318 W. 20th St., 800/373-1116, chelsealodge.com, doubles from $129.

THE COSMOPOLITAN HOTEL
'Hood Tribeca, the Triangle Below Canal Street, is an area defined by residential lofts. It lures fewer tourists than nearby, better-known SoHo.
First Impression This hotel works well for travelers who care more about their accommodations' address than the ambience. The hotel feels generic and suburban, despite its name.
The Rooms The 125 small rooms have basic furnishings and just enough space to be comfortable without feeling puny.
Plus The rooms' high ceiling fans add a homey touch to otherwise ordinary digs.
Minus Chambers Street can be noisy. Ask for a room in the back of the hotel.
Free Wi-Fi? Yes, in guest rooms and public spaces.
Credit Cards Accepted AmEx, MC, Visa.
Details 95 W. Broadway, 888/895-9400, cosmohotel.com, doubles from $190.
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HOTEL 17
'Hood Gramercy, whose leafy and quiet streets are bounded by 14th Street, Third Avenue, 23rd Street, and Park Avenue South.
First Impression It's not hard to see why Woody Allen filmed Manhattan Murder Mystery here, given the glamour of the hotel's old-fashioned, wood-paneled lobby and its narrow, winding corridors.
The Rooms The decor varies, but most of the 122 rooms maintain a stately, old-world feel, thanks to the muted color palette, dark wood trim, and mahogany beds and armoires.
Plus The staff is exceptionally friendly and happy to volunteer travel info, such as where to find the best local restaurant for a late-night bite.
Minus Not all rooms have private bathrooms. Be sure to specify your preference when booking.
Free Wi-Fi? No.
Credit Cards Accepted MC, Visa.
Details 225 E. 17th St., 212/475-2845, hotel17ny.com, doubles from about $120.
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THE LARCHMONT HOTEL
'Hood Greenwich Village, but five blocks away from Union Square, a busy shopping district that's home to artisans, street performers, and the Greenmarket, a famous farmer's market.
First Impression The Larchmont strives to be a classy throwback, offering a lobby with dark furniture and windowed counters. But it can look a little rough during check-in and checkout times, when the lobby is sometimes crammed with luggage.
The Rooms No-frills rooms are outfitted with basic bedspreads, light pink walls, and rattan furniture that carries a faint whiff of the Caribbean. Rooms have sinks, but bathrooms are shared. One exception: There is a family room that sleeps a family of four and that has a private bathroom.
Plus The Larchmont feels safe and secure. New guests have to be buzzed into the lobby; once they've checked in, lodgers receive their own set of keys and can enter through a separate hall.
Minus The modest rooms and shared bathrooms are reminiscent of dormitories.
Free Wi-Fi? Yes, in the lobby, café, and some of the rooms.
Credit Cards Accepted AmEx, MC, Visa.
Details 27 W. 11th St., 212/989-9333, larchmonthotel.com, doubles from $119.

THE POD HOTEL
'Hood This part of Midtown is brimming with restaurants and bars and is not far from Bloomingdale's, Central Park, and the Museum of Modern Art.
First Impression The spacious lobby establishes the Pod's rep as a haven for the young and hip, with its funky murals, asymmetrical couches, and retro light fixtures.
The Rooms Colorful, mod-print linens brighten up the 360 sleek rooms. The tiny work spaces, brushed-metal sinks, and minuscule bathrooms (in most rooms) are marvels of efficiency.
Plus The common areas make the place—travelers can relax on the hotel's chic, outdoor patio and take in the bird's-eye view from the roof deck.
Minus The hotel has its name for a reason—the rooms are tiny. Note: Single and bunk-bed rooms have shared bathrooms.
Free Wi-Fi? Yes, in guest rooms and public spaces.
Credit Cards Accepted AmEx, MC, Visa.
Details 230 E. 51st St., 800/742-5945, thepodhotel.com, singles with shared baths from $99.
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SECOND HOME ON SECOND AVENUE
'Hood The East Village, a gritty zone that's home to many lively bars, cheap eats, and NYU students.
First Impression Peaceful and private, with no lobby or front desk, Second Home feels like its name. A skylight spills natural light into the airy duplex with wood floors. (The owner hates carpet.)
The Rooms New York properties are notorious for their small spaces, and that's why Second Home's five large rooms—and high ceilings—are such a refreshing surprise. Plus, no two rooms are the same; each has distinct flavor, such as Peruvian or Caribbean.
Plus Soundproof windows block out noise from busy Second Avenue outside.
Minus Two of the rooms share a bathroom. And there's only a tiny sign outside the guesthouse. Look for the Body Evolution studio, which shares the building. Enter through the red door. Also, there is a two-night minimum stay on weeknights, and a three-night minimum stay on weekends.
Free Wi-Fi? Yes, in guest rooms.
Credit Cards Accepted AmEx, MC, Visa.
Details 221 Second Ave., 212/677-3161, secondhomesecondavenue.com, doubles from $160, includes taxes, coffee, and tea.
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AFFORDABLE NEW YORK

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