In general, expect high prices and small spaces. Room rates waver by availability, not by any high-season or low-season rules. Of course, you'll pay dearly during holidays. Accommodations fill up quickly – especially in summer – and range from boxy cookie-cutter chains to stylish boutiques. No Manhattan neighborhood has a monopoly on one style and you'll find better-value hotels in Brooklyn and Queens. A few B&Bs and hostels are scattered throughout.
Sleeping in Brooklyn
A short train ride across the East River and you’ll find bigger and (sometimes) brighter rooms – and a lot more bang for your buck. Downtown Brooklyn and Williamsburg are home to a number of brand-new and often quite chic hotels, while small B&Bs in classic houses can be found in residential areas such as Prospect Lefferts Gardens and Ditmas Park.
Note: The borough covers more than 70 sq miles and transport between its neighborhoods can be a challenge, so pick an area (ie northern or southern Brooklyn) that offers the best proximity to the sights you're most interested in seeing.
In New York City, the average room rate is well over $300. But don’t let that scare you as there are great deals to be had – almost all of which can be found through savvy online snooping. To get the best deals, launch a two-pronged approach: if you don’t have your heart set on a particular property, then check out the generic booking websites. If you do know where you want to stay – it might sound simple – but it’s best to start at your desired hotel’s website. These days it’s not uncommon to find deals and package rates directly on the site of your accommodations of choice.
Need to Know
Reservations are essential – walk-ins are practically impossible and rack rates are almost always unfavorable relative to online deals. Reserve your room as early as possible and make sure you understand your hotel’s cancellation policy. Expect check-in to be in the middle of the afternoon and check-out to be late morning.
You must always tip the maid – leave $3 to $5 per night in an obvious location with a note. Porters should receive a dollar or two, and service staff bringing items to your room should be tipped accordingly as well.
New York City doesn’t have a high or low season. Room rates fluctuate based on availability; most hotels use a booking algorithm. If you’re looking to find the best room rates, flexibility is key. On weekends, try business hotels in the Financial District.