Spending time in the Big Apple can be pricey – especially when it comes to deciding where to stay. Like every major city, New York has a reliable mix of luxury and lackluster accommodation on offer and even the mid-range hotels can be a little out of most traveler’s ‘comfort zone’ budget! As you may have noticed, the New York skies are nearly as crowded as the streets, which makes for a lot of teeny, tiny hotel space. But as the locals will tell you, cramped living is the norm and unless money is no option, all that extra space is a luxury to most travelers.
It’s what designers do with that space that counts and even the most modest of buildings can be transformed into something of beauty in the right creative hands. Unfortunately, not every New York hotel offers cute and quirky lodgings. At the end of the day, it’s a city, and no city - no matter how much IG would have us believe – can be perfect everywhere. NYC may be home to some mind-blowingly stylish digs, but plenty of sleep-deprived trip-advisors have a rather different view of their hotels.
In the same space as boutique hotels oozing with taste and decadence, there are plenty of places that make a low rated hostel seem like a viable alternative! Here’s our quick guide to the very best sleeps New York City has to offer and the absolute worst. Here’s to hoping you can find a middle ground for your next trip to the big bright city!
20 Avoid: Hotel Pennsylvania
When you’re Googling where to avoid staying in New York, this place may tend to pop up more than most in the search results. It’s become known far and wide that Hotel Pennsylvania near Madison Square Garden is the bottom of the barrel when it comes to NYC accommodation.
Putting up with a grimy place to stay for one night might be worth it when you’re on a tight budget, but as previous guests will attest to, sleeping in the nearby Penn subway station would offer more of a welcoming atmosphere! From extremely rude to almost non-existent customer service to rooms with all the atmosphere of a morgue (yikes), this is definitely one to skip on your vacay to NYC.
19 Dripping In Luxury: Baccarat Hotel And Residences
Fittingly situated across the street from the Museum of Modern Art is a hotel that tries its hand at displaying itself like an art exhibition itself. Before you even get to the front desk of the uber-impressive Baccarat Hotel, guests and passers-by on the street are greeted by a stunning display at the entrance. A wall covered in 1,800 stemware glasses cut like crystals, lit up by LEDs to form a ‘B’ shape.
As you explore further, the Grand Salon and bar is decked out with crystal chandeliers as far as the eye can see (including the main impressive 64-armed chandelier that hangs impressively above the check-in area). Rooms are equally decadent in white marble and red lacquer minibars, but if you’re really flash, pressing the Champagne button on the in-room phone will bring the party to you!
18 Avoid: La Semana Inn Hotel
When the most glowing review for a hotel is that it’s a great place to stay if you’re “desperate, drunk or lost”, as one Trip Advisor user put it, then you know you’re not exactly in for the most hospitable experience in the city.
New York’s La Semana Inn hotel between Broadway and Sixth Avenue has a whopping 24 ‘terrible’ reviews out of a total 32 on its official TA page and many are filled with every kind of hotel horror story in the book. From the windows being encased in bars and barbed wire to the questionable sounds heard throughout the night, it’s easy to see why some guests have likened this stay to a prison rather than a hotel. Nope!
17 Dripping In Luxury: The Mark
Anyone who’s anyone in the world of fashion has probably spent the night at The Mark – New York’s quirky and forever happening hotel on the Upper East Side. Its unapologetically bold and dazzling décor style starts in the lobby and doesn’t end, but its lavish appearance is in stark contrast to its main feature – functioning as a wellness retreat.
Knowing the celeb trend for well-being and fitness, it’s easy to see why many of them flock straight from the Met Gala and similar functions to detox at The Mark. The hotel’s wellness program offers all manner of juices and vegan muffins courtesy of the Jean-Georges Vongerichten restaurant, and private yoga and facial treatments.
16 Avoid: Sheridan Hotel
The very least a traveler expects from a hotel is a little bit of privacy and security when they stay for the night, no matter how low the price.
Unfortunately, privacy isn’t something many guests staying at New York’s Sheridan Hotel have come to experience.
One disgusted couple on Trip Advisor recalled the time they had checked out one morning and upon returning to their room in the afternoon had found that their key didn't work because it had been rented to someone else! The new surprise occupiers had also left a delightful surprise in their bathroom as well (gross). It was only after a long waiting period for the cleaner to repair the mess that it was somewhat “presentable” again!
15 Dripping in Luxury: The Four Seasons
With some of the most “standard” of rooms starting at over $1200 a night, the Four Seasons Hotel in Midtown Manhattan is a high contender for one of the most lavish hotels in the city, and the Ty Warner Penthouse suite takes the cake for the most impressive of all
– ranking as one of the most expensive hotel suites in North America, at a whopping $45,000 a night.
Assuming money and future kids' college fees definitely aren’t an option, then the Penthouse suite at the Four Seasons will give you breathtaking views of the New York skyline like no other. On top of this, guests will also have a fully stocked library to peruse, as many massages as you could want and a chauffeur ride in a Rolls Royce to take you sightseeing.
14 Dripping in Luxury: Lotte New York Palace
This gem of a hotel on Madison Avenue is certainly both a palace by name and by nature. The Lotte NY Palace is built into what used to be known as Villard Mansion - a historic landmark of the city, and traditionalists will be pleased to know that the Lotte Hotel is brimming with all the style and atmosphere of 1900’s townhouse.
From the gold filigree fixtures to the breathtaking marble lobby, there’s no corner of this hotel that isn’t drenched in class – and the rooms are supposedly so accommodating that guests never want to leave. Without leaving the bed, guests can use a bedside panel to control their room temperature, the TV, curtains – and even the 'Do Not Disturb' sign! Talk about luxury.
13 Avoid: Sun Bright Hotel
Clearly doing very little to live up to its name, the Sun Bright Hotel on 140 Hester Street could, in reality, be a contender for one of the poorest hotels ever. In fact, the term ‘hotel’ may be too much of a stretch for what this place is like according to the guests who have been cash-strapped enough to put up with it.
With 66 terrible and 22 poor reviews out of a possible 115 on Trip Advisor, previous guests have described the washroom as like “something out of the film Saw,”
and felt that the rooms were more like cages that were barely fit for chickens, let alone humans. Ouch.
12 Dripping In Luxury: Andaz 5th Avenue
New York is one of the most amazing cities on the planet, but taking in all the sights can wear out even the most intrepid adventurer sooner or later – which is why it’s great to know you have a truly relaxing wait for you when you feel like crashing and letting the day wash over you. Enter the super trendy Andaz 5th Avenue hotel.
If the stunning floor to ceiling window views of the NYC skyline weren't enough to put you in a zen mood after traveling, how about an epic pampering session at the hotel’s own Petite Spa? They’ll treat you to what they call a “City Detox” which involves 2 hours of facials, full body massage and green tea body wrap – all without even leaving your room.
11 Avoid: Hotel Gansevoort
Not to be confused with The New Gansevoort on Park Avenue, its younger and more reckless sibling Hotel Gansevoort on 9th avenue has many mixed reviews from travelers to the Big Apple. A lot of times, it’s not necessarily the hotel itself that makes for a bad night’s sleep, but the typical clientele the hotel gets and this is, unfortunately, the Achilles heel of Hotel Gansevoort.
The décor may be pretty stylish and the beds comfortable, but it seems as if few guests have been able to enjoy a full night’s rest in this place due to groups of party animals treating the place like a club. Disgruntled customers have described hearing an influx of “Jersey Shore-types” party Friday through Sunday, without stopping for air. No thanks...
10 Dripping In Luxury: Mandarin Oriental NY
For the ultimate ‘room with a view’ type of lodging in the Big Apple, the Mandarin Hotel New York is your best bet. If you can peel yourself away from the sleek and super sophisticated furnishings fit for royalty in your room, you’ll soon be dropping your jaw at the incredible views from your wall to wall windows.
Offering a view of the concrete jungle like no other, the Mandarin Oriental boasts epic views overlooking Central Park, the Columbus Circle, as well as looking out to the Hudson River and the heart-stopping beauty of the New York skyline. Best enjoyed at night with room service champagne (or first thing in the morning with a true NYC-style bagel and coffee!). Bliss.
9 Avoid: Henry Hudson Hotel
Proof positive that not all trendy, stylish looking hotels can win everyone over. On the outset, the Henry Hudson Hotel in New York appears every inch the super stylish city hotel with its sprawling bar and rooftop fit for a celeb after-party, but the customer satisfaction leaves a lot to be desired, particularly when it comes to the rooms themselves.
As swish as a hotel may look on the outside, appearances aren't everything, and the Henry Hudson doesn’t appear to keep the style and atmosphere consistent with where guests sleep.
Previous guests have experienced soiled furnishings, a lack of protective bedbug covers and an overall “funky smell” in most of the rooms. Gross.
8 Dripping In Luxury: W New York – Times Square
They say that New York is the city where dreams are made of, and they may be on to something if they were talking about this hotel. You may not be guaranteed to fall in love or become a superstar, but as a paying guest at W New York Times Square, you’ll get close to having anything your heart desires (in terms of hotel amenities and services, at least!).
People staying in the super sleek and futuristic W New York have the ultimate room service at their fingertips thanks to the hotel’s 'Whatever/Whenever’ program. Feel like a late-night snack? You got it. A certain film viewing? You bet. A sunset helicopter ride? Yes, yes and yes. There’s very little this amazing hotel won’t do to impress!
7 Avoid: World Hotel
The World Hotel in Lower Manhattan has been likened to having more of a hostel vibe than a hotel (and when you hear more about the place, that may be an insult to hostels!).
For around $95 a night, travelers can expect free internet, cable TV and even a daily newspaper – which would all be perfectly lovely, if it weren't for the fact this hotel appears to have spent its budget on extras rather than basic sanitation!
The friendly, well-meaning staff at World Hotel hasn't been able to save its reputation as a cockroach infested den. Guests have come away with pretty gross rashes from the bed bug situation and watching multiple cockroaches crawl up the walls can’t be a very welcoming sight either. Pass.
6 Dripping In Luxury: The Plaza
New York’s iconic Plaza hotel is where many couples come to tie the knot and where many more come to simply enjoy a fab and stylish night toasting good news in the lobby Champagne bar or chilling back with stylish peeps and VIP’s in the Rose Club lounge! The Plaza is oozing with all kinds of class and charm, and this only gets better as you ride up the iconic golden-walled elevators to your suite.
Waiting for guests behind closed doors is a plush bed with fluffy robes and slippers perched neatly on top, and chandeliers dotted about the ceiling.
The Plaza’s own in-room iPad allows guests to control or order anything they want – even if it’s something simple and old school like cookies and milk with a movie. Perfection.
5 Avoid: Hotel Carter
Hotel Carter may be in a great location in Times Square, but this is the only thing going for it. To hear some of the very worst reviews of this place, you could be convinced that wrapping yourself in newspaper on the streets would be a better alternative. Hotel Carter has been a three-time winner of America’s dirtiest hotel, but from what we hear, dirt is the least of people’s problems...
People staying at Hotel C have reportedly shared their accommodation with surprise ‘guests’. Many have complained about a cockroach infestation and worst of all – rats.
In fact, one travel blogger recalled the horrific moment she thought her boyfriend was pulling on the sheets when it turned out to be a gigantic rat yanking the covers! Not even once, in New York.
4 Dripping In Luxury: 1 Hotel Central Park
The name tells you all you need to know – this is the ultimate place to stay when you’re in Central Park for a night or two. The first thing you notice about 1 Hotel Central Park is its ultimate green theme – in fact, if it were any greener, it may blend right in with the park itself!
From the impeccably well-tended ivy adorning the building’s interior to the lounge areas and the rooms themselves, this is one of the prettiest eco-friendly hotels you’ll ever come across. As well as potted plants and reclaimed wooden chairs and accents, the rooms feature the rather cute addition of bay windows to let guests get even closer to the nearby park below (not recommended for Vertigo sufferers!).
3 Avoid: Bowery Grand Hotel
When the best thing you can say about a hotel is that you were happy to have woken up “alive the next day”, it’s clear that things aren’t exactly up to scratch in the hospitality department!
The Bowery Grand Hotel in Lower Manhattan may be in a great spot for those who want to be a few minutes (walk) from China Town and Little Italy, but nobody should have to endure bad conditions for the sake of convenience.
Disgusted guests have taken to Trip Advisor to warn others of “hair on the bed sheets”, the stench of “feet and sweat” and the jail cell-like rooms. One reviewer even went as far as to say that people would be better off getting arrested since sleeping in a real jail cell would be “cleaner and cheaper.” Wow.
2 Dripping In Luxury: Nomad Hotel
Plenty of top rated hotels like to be fairly obvious in their luxury status – i.e. going all out with the marble and gold hardware, but not the Nomad Hotel on Broadway. The Nomad is quietly confident in its luxurious feel and its simple decorative touches, like a traditional clawfoot bathtub and French writing desk can make guests feel as if they’re not in modern day New York at all, but maybe Paris or Italy in a previous century.
All 168 rooms in the Nomad have a distinct quality about them as all the best luxury hotels should and for guests who may not wish to completely have an escapist kind of stay in the city, the flat screen plasma, and super fast Wi-Fi access is available too.
1 Avoid: The NYMA Hotel
The New York Manhattan hotel – or the NYMA for short – has a fairly mixed bag of reviews from travelers to the Big Apple, but the poor reviews are enough to make you question this hotel’s standards and approach it with serious caution when booking.
While the NYMA may not suffer from an influx of rats and cockroaches like some of the above accommodations, the poor and misleading customer service is enough to make anyone on a tight budget run a mile from this place. Uncomfortable beds and a hidden $30 charge for services never even used by guests? Yeah, we’ll pass, thanks.