Some people believe New York is a cluster of small towns, with each district showcasing a distinct flavor and offering something for every traveler. But with so many places to discover, the challenge lies in where to stay in NYC. Uptown or downtown? Classic or hip? To give you a boost, we’ve rounded up some of the city’s prime neighborhoods and our favorite hotels in each.
Marked by neon lights, Broadway theaters, costumed characters, and unstoppable energy, this bustling neighborhood, also known as “The Center of the Universe” and “Crossroads of the World,” attracts millions of visitors annually. Whether they’re strolling through, hanging out, or photographing the goings-on, everyone wants a piece of this iconic section of Midtown.
The location is ultra-convenient; there’s over a dozen subway lines, so access to almost anywhere in the five boroughs is a snap. Plus, the Empire State Building, Bryant Park, and Macy’s flagship are within walking distance. Try any of these hotels in the area.
This glamorous hotel once housed the Lambs Club, the first thespian club in the US. Beautiful art deco detailing and décor will take you back to an earlier era, but the rooms provide modern amenities like raindrop showers and soaking tubs. The on-site restaurant, named after the Lambs Club, caters to New York’s elite, featuring upscale fare, fancy drinks, and an award-winning wine list.
Luma Hotel Times Square
This sleek, contemporary hotel puts guests within earshot of Times Square, but it’s tucked away on 41st Street and removed from the crowds. With just six rooms per floor, Luma feels more like a chic New York apartment building than a large hotel. In addition, the lobby bar is a superb spot for a cocktail or light bite before a Broadway show.
The sophisticated Beaux-Arts façade will draw you to this storied hotel that’s played many roles over the years. A landmark since 1988, The Knickerbocker offers pin-drop-quiet rooms with cozy Euro-top mattresses swathed in Sferra linens. And since it’s located on 42nd Street, you’ll be knee-deep in the action if you stay here.
The distinctive Knickerbocker. Photo credit: ajay_suresh
Central Park is every New Yorker’s backyard. This vast urban green space begins at 59th Street and stretches to 110th Street, spanning from Fifth Avenue to Central Park West. With 843 acres of lawns, woodlands, gardens, paths, and monuments, Central Park offers plenty to see and do.
Highlights include the Jackie Onassis Reservoir, Belvedere Castle, Bethesda Fountain and Terrace, the Loeb Boathouse, Mall and Literary Walk, and Conservatory Garden, to name a few. Myriad museums are also close by. Check out these options for where to stay in NYC near Central Park.
The Plaza Hotel
A New York classic that’s graced the silver screen, The Plaza exudes elegance. Spacious, stately rooms with elaborate detailing might give you a reason to think you’re starring in a movie yourself. The address places you across the street from Central Park and close to fantastic restaurants. Still, you can enjoy breakfast, afternoon tea, and cocktails in the Palm Court, a spectacular atrium space that’s been a destination for more than a century.
1 Hotel Central Park
Sustainability is the focus at this LEED-certified hotel just a few blocks from Central Park. Rustic, industrial, and chic all at once, 1 Hotel Central Park assumes a downtown feel but with a friendly vibe. Keetsa mattresses, organic bed linens, and plenty of greenery are gentle reminders of the brand’s eco-conscious approach.
A meal at Jams, Jonathan Waxman’s California-inspired eatery, is a must while staying here. Order the famed roast chicken with fries.
Though it’s technically part of Midtown, the Flatiron District is a corridor leading to Midtown and Downtown. Because of this, the area makes a good base if you’re looking for where to stay in NYC.
Named after the Flatiron Building–-one of New York’s first skyscrapers––this neighborhood features some of the city’s trendiest restaurants and cocktail bars, terrific shopping, as well as Madison Square Park, a leafy square with a fountain, benches, art installations, and the original Shake Shack. Here are some great hotels in Flatiron.
Freehand New York
This fun, funky outpost that was once the George Washington Hotel––a haven for artists, writers, and musicians––offers simple bunk rooms to spacious suites. Freehand New York acknowledges its history with creative touches like commissioned art by students and alumni from Bard College. Broken Shaker, a rooftop bar boasting panoramic city views, is among the five on-site eateries.
The New York Edition
Streamlined, modish interiors and a Michelin-starred restaurant helmed by Chef Jason Atherton are reasons to stay at this luxurious hotel by Marriott. Guests should expect a five-star experience in a remarkable setting: the Metropolitan Life Clock Tower, a 700-foot column commanding the Flatiron District and Madison Square Park. Perks range from a roomy bar and seating area off reception to a sanctuary-like spa perched on the 39th floor.
Beloved for its stunning cast-iron architecture––the most extensive collection in the world–– SoHo or “South of Houston Street” is a small downtown district but one of Manhattan’s most energetic neighborhoods. The area promises a thriving culinary scene, fashion-forward boutiques, and world-class art galleries, ideal for the cultured traveler.
Staying in SoHo puts you within walking distance to Lower Manhattan’s hip, stylish locales, from the West Village to NoLIta and everywhere in between. These SoHo hotels are ideal for exploring downtown.
Crosby Street Hotel
Luxury abounds for the most discriminating traveler as no detail has been overlooked at this downtown hotel. Even the most basic accommodations at Crosby Street Hotel are luxurious. Designer Kit Kemp’s chic creation is a treasure trove of art and collectibles and one of the best hotels in SoHo. Find her signature RikRak bath products, heated towel bars, Tivoli radios, and even fireplaces in some rooms. Ideal for a beverage or bite to eat, The Crosby Bar is just as fabulous as the hotel.
SoHo Grand Hotel
A pioneer in SoHo’s hotel scene, this property remains one of downtown’s most celebrated, honoring the neighborhood’s illustrious past through its interior design. With towering ceilings and natural light streaming through huge windows, Grand Bar and Salon is one of those atmospheric spaces you want to sit in and sip a glass of wine. The food here is also spot-on. In addition, SoHo Grand Hotel is dog-friendly, a definite bonus when traveling with a four-legged companion.
Once artist studios, this Romanesque Revival building on Mercer Street was converted to a hotel in 1997 by French design icon Christian Liaigre. Years later, The Mercer and its airy, loft-like rooms are as timeless as ever. A place to see and be seen, Mercer Kitchen, the hotel’s eponymous restaurant from revered Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, plates market-driven dishes like tuna tartare, crispy squid, and charred duck breast.
Though it’s always not top of mind, the Financial District or “Fi-Di” is one of the best areas to stay in NYC. The locale puts you near downtown’s top attractions like Wall Street, The Seaport, The Battery, and the World Trade Center. Fi-Di is also convenient to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island ferry, the Staten Island ferry, and the Brooklyn Bridge. Likewise, much of Brooklyn is minutes away by subway. When looking for where to stay in NYC in Lower Manhattan, these hotels in Fi-Di are great picks.
Four Seasons New York, Downtown
This 82-story tower set deep in Fi-Di houses a hotel on the first 38 floors with luxury residences above. You can count on a high-end residential atmosphere throughout this five-star downtown property, think tons of stone, glistening spa-like baths, and the dreamy Four Seasons bed. Swoon! Off the lobby, CUT by Wolfgang Puck is a steakhouse worth the splurge––you won’t regret the perfectly cooked NY strip.
The Beekman, A Thompson Hotel
Flawlessly restored to its grandeur, this early New York skyscraper dates to 1881. The hotel’s architectural detailing is breathtaking––you can’t miss the soaring central atrium and its glass skylight. Beyond a gorgeous interior, The Beekman houses Tom Colicchio’s Temple Court and Daniel Boulud’s Le Gratin, paying tribute to the bouchons in Lyon, France where the chef grew up.
For drinks, the swanky Bar Room is one of the city’s most alluring in town. Kick back in a velvet banquette and quaff a Beekman Vesper: a blend of Greenhook Gin, Supergay Vodka, and Italicus Bergamot.
Tracy Kaler is a freelance journalist focused on travel, food, wine, and design. She fell in love with New York as a child and began writing about the city when she moved there in 2007. When Tracy’s not glued to her laptop, she’s likely planning her next food-filled adventure, uncorking a bottle of red, or wandering the streets of NYC.