New York City may be home to some of the world's most expensive hotels, but there are also tons of hotels, hostels and guesthouses here that cater to the Cheapo traveler.
New York Hotel Overview
The rates of most New York hotels fluctuate according to city-wide availability—as a hotel starts to fill up, its competitors increase their rates—so planning ahead is essential. Generally, rates are lowest in the period between January and March. Rates then tick up slightly in the spring before dropping during the summer months as hotels vie for the attention of the vacationing legions. And then beginning in August, rates begin a steadily rise over the rest of the year, reaching their annual summit during the Holidays. Hotels with fixed rates are few and far between, but they are available and present a viable budget alternative.
Many of the smaller, independent hotels we review offer beds for $100-$150 per night. These hotels often have small rooms and limited amenities and services. Larger chain hotels in New York may offer more perks, but are best avoided during the high seasons unless they're running special rates. Rates at chain hotels often average $150 a night under normal circumstances but will swell to well over $200 a night during periods of high demand.
As a general rule, for under $100 a night you will get a bare-bones room with, most likely, shared bathroom facilities. If you want to pay as little as $50 a night, be prepared for hostel accommodations.
Given New York's notorious variability in terms of rates, $150 might land you a charismatic guestroom lovingly decorated by mom-and-pop owners or a functional but décor-deprived chain hotel unit.
In terms of cost of living, New York accommodations are more expensive than hotels in most European cities, and popular tourist attractions like the Empire State Building's observation deck and Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum are very pricey. A mid-range meal generally runs around $20 a plate. Dining and nightlife are notoriously expensive, though our NYC Cheap Eats article can help you out.
Updated and edited: January 2011
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