You don’t eat in chain restaurants when you visit New York City—at least I hope you don’t. So why should you limit your lodging to the chain hotels? There are plenty of hotels with character. Some have unique themes, while others have intriguing histories. From budget to luxury, these seven unique hotels are sure to enhance your next New York City experience.
Appropriately located on Jane Street in Greenwich Village, The Jane is steeped in history. Originally built for sailors in the early 20th century, the hotel also sheltered Titanic survivors in 1912. This vintage budget hotel’s rooms are inspired by old-fashioned train cabins. The compact cabin rooms feel more like berths than hotel rooms, but for a single traveler it’s a budget friendly option with the added benefit of what feels like time travel. Need a little more space? Opt for the former captain’s quarters. All rooms come with modern amenities, free Wi-Fi, iPod docks and either a river view or terrace. Old school bellhops, housekeepers clad in black and white uniforms and stuffed monkeys with fez hats complete the unusual time warp experience.
In the heart of Midtown Manhattan where excess is everywhere, Pod Times Square is minimalism at its best. By eliminating the things most travelers don’t want: pay-per-view movies, business centers and oversized furniture, the hotel keeps costs down. Guests are cocooned in cozy rooms with bright bedding, tight workspaces, flat-screen TVs, raindrop showerheads and free fast Wi-Fi. Funky murals adorn the walls throughout with pops of color at every turn. Top that off with customized itineraries for guests and oversized soundproof windows and you have a stress free and relaxing NYC experience.
New Yorkers are known for wearing black with the occasional splash of grey. The glamorous Night Hotel with its dramatic noir-inspired monochrome design is Gotham City at its best. It’s located in Times Square, fabulously close to the theatre district and more dining options than you can count. And while the 208 guest rooms follow the typical New Yorker wardrobe of black, grey and white, the sleek modern lobby has pops of color throughout with orange and yellow lighting along with an aquarium filled with a dazzling array of fish. Just think of it as a colorful scarf to top off that black and grey ensemble.
Housed in a former hat factory in midtown’s garment district, The Refinery is industrial chic with repurposed vintage furniture made from old sewing machine tables, wood floored rooms and milliner tools gracing the lobby. The glass-walled rooftop bar affords spectacular cityscape views. Its signature restaurant displays old style leather booths and a satisfying menu of locally sourced American cuisine. There’s also a prohibition style jazz bar within its walls. The vibe is unmistakably hip. Book a room and take a little of that hip vibe home with you.
Sporting aviation inspired décor and futuristic style, Yotel definitely has a “wow” factor that’s evident even before you enter. This Hell’s Kitchen hotel replaces check-in lines with self service kiosks, refers to rooms as cabins and labels its front desk as “Mission Control.” Yotel is home to the largest outdoor terrace of any New York City hotel with more than 7,000 square feet of space for eating, drinking and socializing. The hotel’s onsite restaurant, Green Fig serves Mediterranean-inspired cuisine. It’s also home to one of the city’s favorite brunch spots where you can indulge in an entrée along with your favorite bellini for just $18. Or pay $40 and keep the booze flowing. But nothing can compare to the wow factor that comes from meeting the hotel’s luggage storing robot, Yobot.
Perched on giant concrete stilts above Manhattan’s popular High Line, the views from The Standard are unsurpassed. Chic rooms feature wall-to-wall windows with sweeping views of the Hudson River stretching all the way to One World Trade downtown. You can literally take in those incredible views while you soak in a bubble bath. But beware: walkers on the High Line can catch a glimpse of you, too!
Beyond the possible peep show, The Standard’s entertainment options include a lively German Biergarten where you can play ping-pong while you’re imbibing in your favorite Bavarian brews. And the Standard Grill is the place to go for a perfect New York Strip.
Located on Madison Avenue at Library Way just a block from the iconic New York City Public Library, the luxury Library Hotel is a book lovers dream. Inspired by the Dewey Decimal system, each of the 10 guestroom floors of the hotel honors one of the 10 categories of the system. Guestrooms on each floor are stocked with a collection of books and art focused on the topic within that category.
Big Bang Theory lovers will geek out over the Math and Science floor with room themes like Astronomy, which is Neil Armstrong’s favorite room—and, he has stayed here a few times. Of course, there’s a dinosaur room, too. On the Philosophy floor, the Love room’s outdoor terrace overlooks Madison Avenue. The literature in this romantic enclave was curated by Dr. Ruth Westheimer—yes, THAT Dr. Ruth, the sex guru. Just beware, the Love room connects to the Paranormal room so the ghosts of lovers past could be an issue.
Do you have a favorite New York City hotel?
Note: Available plans and coverages may have changed since this blog was published.
Terri Marshall is a New York City based freelance writer whose work includes travel, spirits, and all things chocolate. Terri's work appears in several publications. She has been a featured guest on Peter Greenberg's Worldwide Travel radio program and Denver's KZKO Radio Morning Express show. Terri will not hesitate to go to the source for great chocolate - even if that means hiking through the jungle and picking cacao pods herself.
Happiest when she's globetrotting, Terri has covered destinations all over the United States, Europe, and into Central and South America. Favorite adventures include reindeer driving in Norway and fishing for piranhas in the Amazon jungle of Peru. You can keep up with Terri's adventures on her website www.TrippingwithTerri.com. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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