Choose your Own Adventure in New York City

 

 

 

There's so much to do and catch up on in NYC that I'm in my hotel room barely long enough to catch a wink of sleep, so my choice of accommodation is based on three factors - cost, location and free wifi.

New York is a city where you can be yourself, or create a character and play out your fantasies - whatever your taste and budget, you'll find somewhere to suit your persona. Here are five NYC hotels offering very different experiences, as well as a good locale and free wifi:

 

In The Navy

Jane Hotel

From $89 (£57) per night for a single room, plus taxes

Finding your own room in Manhattan for $95 a night is near-impossible unless you want to stay in a hostel on the Upper West Side and share with roaches.

The Jane Hotel is my favourite in New York; it's not only a great budget option, but it's in a picturesque neighbourhood and stuffed full of history. The hotel was a seaman's flophouse when built in 1908, and provided shelter for the surviving crew of the Titanic in 1912.

While the small rooms and shared (but pristinely kept) bathrooms won't suit all tastes, the location is ideal - two blocks from the High Line, and far from the neon and noise of Midtown. As an added bonus, the Jane Ballroom is a favourite spot for the city's nightlife to play in the shadows, and Cafe Gitane isn't a bad shout for a civilised Sunday brunch.

 

A Parisian in New York

Washington Square Hotel

From $253 (£161) per night for a single room, plus taxes

Tucked away on the North West corner of Washington Square Park is this petite Art Deco hotel, surprisingly serene despite its proximity to one of the city's major tourist attractions. A favourite haunt for writers and artists, everything from the furniture to the hand painted tile mosaics will lure you into the past. Wake up to a park view on a warm Autumn day with the golden Manhattan rays filtering through the island's streets, and you'll be all set for a Parisienne state of mind.

 

Soldier, Soldier

The Bowery House

From $82 (£52) per night for a single cabin, plus taxes

On the edge of both Soho and Chinatown, the Bowery is slower than most neighbourhoods to succumb to gentrification. The city's oldest thoroughfare was known as Skid Row for much of the 20th Century, but while new bars and restaurants are popping up all the time, there's still enough grit to distinguish it from elsewhere in Manhattan.

Originally opened in the 1920s as The Prince Hotel, The Bowery House was converted to cabins to house soldiers returning home from the second World War. Although there are some private and bunk rooms to choose from, the Bowery House is essentially a hostel; while you have your own space with your own front door, the ceilings are partially open, covered by a wooden lattice. This means you'll hear every snore, fart and early morning alarm of your fellow guests, without the need to suffer their death stares when you're the culprit.

The rooftop garden is a fun space in the summer months and reception is perfect for lounging about on long leather sofas. But while the price tag is tempting, it's worth thinking twice if you're above average height - the beds in the cabins are just 69" (75 cm) long.

 

Born to be Wild

The Standard

From $495 (£316) per night for a double room, plus taxes

The High Line carves a lush path of flora through the apartments of Manhattan's West Side; the park that stretches along an abandoned elevated freight track is fast becoming a favourite with locals and tourists alike.

So what you don't really expect, certainly not at half past ten on a Tuesday morning, is the sight of a couple enjoying moderately energetic sex against the windows of the Standard Hotel, which straddles the park.

It's a whopping price-tag, but the views are amongst the best in Manhattan. To the south, the Hudson River, the Statue of Liberty and Downtown; to the North, the Empire State Building and the chaos of light and skyscrapers marking Time Square.

The hotel does insist that guests refrain from performing in their rooms for the audience below, but plenty do regardless - and that's before they've enjoyed a night of cocktails and depravity in the Boom Boom Rooms at the top of the Standard.

 

Futureheads

Yotel

From $309 (£197) per night for a double room, plus taxes

There aren't many hotels where crowds gather in reception to watch the luggage being stored, but most hotels don't have a talking robot arm called Yobot.

From the moment you check-in; the mood and reliance on technology makes Yotel feel like a place from some indeterminate point in the near-future. Not necessarily a world of transporters and starships, but certainly one where a flying car might collect you from the door. Rooms are small (like most in NYC) but perfectly comfortable, and the uber-cool bar area is perfect for wearing Apple headphones and ignoring like-minded travellers.

 

Tip - Thinking Frugally, Living in Luxury

It may not be the most desirable time to travel, but if you want luxury on a budget, January in NYC is the time to do it. If you arrive in the week after New Year's Day then it's not unusual to find three and four star hotels dropping their rates close to £100 per night, and many more will be up to half price.

The reason? It's still the holidays; everyone has spent up on celebrating Christmas and New Year so hotels need to lure guests in. That, and New York's weather in January is colder than Hoth, with Arctic blasts freezing the Eastern seaboard. Yet the city that never sleeps won't be found snoozing through the cold, so pack the thermals and you'll still enjoy yourself

 



   
"Twitchhiker – How One Man Travelled the World by Twitter" is Paul's book about his social media adventure around the world, published by Summersdale and available on Amazon.