"New York" and "budget" are two words that just don't belong together in a sentence. Almost every activity in the city comes at a price. Between the boutique shopping, world-class restaurants, buzzing rooftop bars, and once-in-a-lifetime Broadway shows, it's easy to rack up a tab faster than you can hail one of those iconic yellow cab. Luckily we're here to tell you that if you'd rather spend less money on accommodations so you can dedicate more funds to actually seeing the city, there are options.
Contrary to popular belief, New York is home to a host of hotels that offer plush beds and great amenities for less than $200 a night—you just have to know where to look. What these rooms lack in square footage they make up for in design: Honorable mentions go to the new Freehand Hotel, a Roman and Williams–designed hotel that offers dorm-style rooms, and The Jane Hotel, a West Village establishment with a thriving bar scene. Pack your bags: These are the best NYC hotels under $200.
The Ludlow Hotel
Imagined by prolific hoteliers Sean MacPherson, Ira Drukier, and Richard Born, The Ludlow Hotel in Manhattan's Lower East Side harkens back to the neighborhood’s rich past, with '80s influences of early hip-hop and punk rock and game-changing art. Large casement windows give rooms an industrial vibe, while design elements like Moroccan pendants, handmade silk rugs, and marble mosaic floors create a sophisticated eclectic aesthetic. If you’re looking for a place that epitomizes downtown cool, this is it.
Neighborhood: Lower East Side
Rates: From $195/night
The Jane Hotel
The Jane Hotel, a century-old West Village landmark from buzzworthy hoteliers Sean MacPherson and Eric Goode, sits on the edge of the Meatpacking District, only six blocks from the High Line. Formerly a lodging for sailors, the hip budget hotel has nautically themed accents and throwback turn-of-the-century touches. The hotel's French-Moroccan restaurant, Café Gitane, is not to be missed, and if you're in the city to eat and drink, you're in the right neighborhood.
Rates: From $99/night
Courtesy of Tillary Hotel
Downtown Brooklyn's first boutique hotel, Tillary Hotel, is just steps from the Brooklyn Bridge—your perfect intro to the borough, close to hip neighborhoods like DUMBO, Brooklyn Heights, and Fort Greene. Intimate, with modern, graphic rooms, the interiors have midcentury modern touches and masculine heather-gray tones. Better yet: A beer garden is in the works.
Neighborhood: Downtown Brooklyn
Rates: From $175/night
A relative newcomer to the Manhattan hotel scene, HGU Hotel is centrally located for business travelers but designed with the comforts of home. The rooms are surprisingly spacious by New York standards, and a recent renovation means the white subway tiled–bathrooms are squeaky-clean.
Rates: From approximately $169/night
Freehand Hotel is causing a serious buzz for good reason: the Roman and Williams-designed hotel offers a ton of lodging options, from bunk bed dorms to apartment-style suites. You'll also want to spend time on the rooftop, which has stellar city views and great cocktails.
Rates: From approximately $149/night
The Time New York
If you're planning to see a Broadway show during your trip to the Big Apple or are visiting for business in Midtown, The Time New York is a great choice. Newly renovated by David Rockwell with high-tech amenities, the hotel is in the heart of the Theater District and Times Square. We love its modernist interiors with industrial accents, cool color palettes, and pops of metal. We've also heard great things about its cocktail bar, LeGrande Lounge. Guests also have access to the nearby Equinox, if you're keen on staying fit in 2016.
Neighborhood: The Theater District
Rates: From $178/night
Orchard Street Hotel
For those who plan to shop their hearts out and sample downtown's endless nightlife options but require the fuss and amenities of a major hotel, newcomer Orchard Street Hotel is an affordable, straightforward option. Guest rooms are stark white, airy, and loft-like, with stunning views—they have everything you need, but not much more. The hotel doesn't have a restaurant on-site, but there are plenty of awesome dining options nearby, and while there's no gym to speak of, guests get access to Ludlow Fitness nearby.
Neighborhood: The Lower East Side
Rates: From $145/night
The Paper Factory Hotel
Built in a century-old paper warehouse, The Paper Factory Hotel in Long Island City takes its aesthetic inspiration from the building's history with an old paper machine transformed into a restaurant/bar, a spiral staircase made out of a tower of books, and countless other repurposed design elements. With 12-foot ceilings, expansive windows, and spacious rooms, the hotel offers the best elements of the industrial loft style.
Neighborhood: Long Island City
Rates: From $149/night
Yotel New York
If Virgin America let you stay the night, the experience might feel something like a stay at Yotel New York. With futuristic architecture and interior design, and mood purple lighting, this Midtown West hotel has been aptly described as "Jetsons meets Vanilla Sky." The interiors are, in fact, inspired by first-class airplane cabins and Japan's pod hotels. Meanwhile, the hotel's rooftop bar, Asian fusion restaurant, Saturday night DJ dance party, on-site yoga studio, and movie screening room are all worthy attractions.
Neighborhood: Midtown West
Rates: From $175/night
Duane Street Hotel
Courtesy of Duane Street Hotel
Looking for a relaxed vibe and want to steer clear of scene-y hotels? TriBeCa's Duane Street Hotel is a quiet spot that's also business-friendly with free Wi-Fi and a communal table in the lobby. The interiors have a bit of a bachelor-pad vibe, with leather headboards and midcentury-inspired furniture. Other perks: It's pet-friendly, and guests get free passes to the nearby Equinox gym.
Rates: From $175/night
Nu Hotel Brooklyn
Courtesy of Nu Hotel
Displaying what we like to call "affordable luxury," Brooklyn's Nu Hotel is perfect for artsy types, with quirky modern interiors: Think recycled wood, eco-friendly materials, vintage letters, custom hammocks in suites, and rotating murals by local artists. The hotel also has a state-of-the-art 24/7 fitness center, free bikes, and a great sidewalk café and bar with top-notch cocktails and tapas.
Rates: From $125/night
Pick up a copy of The Fashion Insider's Guide to New York ($19) for more chic suggestions.
This story was originally published in January 2016, and it was previously updated in August 2018.