New York City! It's such a great destination but the price of hotels can be a bit daunting. So, as always in such circumstances, we went to our community and asked for their recommendations on the best hotels in New York City for solo travelers.
The response was fabulous. From budget to luxury, from pods to efficiency units, we have some great recommendations for you. And the best thing about this list is that individual solo travelers have stayed in these accommodations and recommend them to others.
Before getting into the details, it's important to know that New York City is not just Manhattan. While people often think of the city as simply the island of Manhattan, it actually includes four other boroughs including Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island.
The city is served by three airports:
- John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens is the largest airport with 8 terminals. It is 40 minutes by taxi to Times Square.
- LaGuardia Airport in Queens. It is 30 minutes by taxi to Times Square.
- Newark International Airport in Newark, New Jersey. It is 35 minutes by taxi to Times Square, though it will be more expensive than the above due to the cost of road tolls.
To learn how to get from each airport to your destination in the city, use Rome2Rio.
For affordable things to do in New York City, read Solo on a Budget in New York City: 50+ Tips to Make NYC Affordable.
Where to Stay in Manhattan: Hotel Recommendations by Neighborhood
Let's start by getting the lay of the land. While New York has five boroughs, Manhattan is the most popular for its entertainment and attractions for travelers. It is broken into 53 neighborhoods, according to the city's planning department. However, for practical purposes, there are three main areas of Manhattan: Uptown, Midtown, and Downtown. In Uptown and Midtown, avenues travel north and south while streets go east and west, making it relatively easy to navigate. Downtown streets get a little more complicated.
Favorite Manhattan neighborhoods for travelers are listed below with hotels in the area. Prices quoted were for a one-night stay on November 6, 2022. Since hotel pricing is dynamic, the price will go up or down depending on how many rooms are available. The prices below are just an indication of where the hotel pricing is on the budget to luxury spectrum.
- Theater District – Midtown West Times Square, at the center of the Theater District, is always buzzing with people, costumed characters, digital billboards, and lots and lots of light. It is also where the TKTS booth is located which sells tickets to Broadway shows running at the area’s historic theaters. The most budget-friendly recommendation we received for this area is the Hotel Edison at US$159/night. There's also the Ameritania which goes for US$161/night. For something a little more special, stay at the Archer Hotel at US$368/night. Or, stay right in Times Square at the Marriott Marquis for US$500/night.
- Midtown East – Bryant Park The stunning, Art Deco Chrysler Building is in this area and, just a bit south, the famed Empire State Building. This is also the place to stay for high-end shopping along 5th Avenue. There are also tourist landmarks like Grand Central Terminal train station (you've seen it in so many films) and the UN Headquarters building. Recommended hotels for this area are The Pod 39 at US$179/night and The Pod 51 at US$129/night or the Archer Hotel at US$368/night.
- Central Park – Museum Mile This area includes the south end of beautiful Central Park and the Museum Mile which has six museums, including the Guggenheim Museum, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Jewish Museum. It is also near Carnegie Hall and The Plaza Hotel which comes in around US$1185/night. But that doesn't mean you can't stop in for a drink or tea! Recommended hotels for this area are The Park Hotel at US$244/night and the Manhattan Club at US$309/night.
- Greenwich Village Two universities and the famous Washington Park are all within the Village. Recommended hotels for this area are The Jane, a budget hotel at US$155/night (with communal bathrooms) and Washington Square at US$243/night.
- Chelsea Chelsea is a residential neighborhood of townhouses, low-rise apartment buildings, and some luxury high-rises. The High Line, the elevated park built atop former railroad tracks, hundreds of art galleries, and the Chelsea Market are located there. Recommended accommodations are The Leo House with single rooms at US$159/night and The Gem Hotel at US$309/night.
- Upper West Side The Upper West Side includes the grand apartments of Central Park West, the Lincoln Center, the Metropolitan Opera and New York City Ballet, and the American Museum of Natural History. It is also Seinfeld's ‘hood, so if you watched the show, there will be a few landmarks to see. This is an expensive area. The recommended hotel is Hotel Beacon at US$287/night with some rooms containing small kitchens.
- Lower East Side Historically, this was a Jewish neighborhood of tenement buildings. It's now trendy with lots of upscale apartments and trendy bars as well as the original buildings. Take the tenement tour when there. It's very interesting. Recommended hotels are Hotel Indigo at US$269/night and the luxury Citizen M New York Bowery Hotel at US$675/night.
Budget to Luxury: Best Hotels for Solo Travelers in New York City
This is a companion piece to Solo on a Budget in New York City: 50+ Tips to Make NYC Affordable though not quite so budget focused. After all, when you head to New York City, you just might want to do it in a big way. So, I'm going to break it down, from budget to luxury.
One note about Airbnb in New York City. It's actually illegal to rent out a home for fewer than 30 days unless the resident is present. So, while you might rent a room through Airbnb, it's not legal to rent a whole home for a short stay.
Best Budget Hostels and Hotels in New York City for Solo Travelers
There isn't a lot in the way of budget accommodation in New York City, but here are a few spots that were recommended by readers.
- The Pod 51 in Midtown East. The rooms are small and cozy, perfect for one. I felt safe at both. US$116/night.
- The Jane in the Meatpacking district (north west Village) was recommended by two readers. Note, it has communal bathrooms. US$145/night.
- HI NYC Hostel. HI (Hosteling International) hostels are pretty reliable and this one is recommended by Scott. This one is located on the Upper West Side and comes in at US$158/night.
- Leo House. Cindy thought it was nice and reasonably priced with single rooms at US$159/night.
- Hotel Edison is near Times Square and suggested by Lauren. It’s a 100 year old Art Deco hotel and very much Old New York. US$159/night.
- The Pod 39 in Murray Hill (east, mid-Manhattan). US$160/night.
Moderately Priced New York Hotels for Solo Travelers
What is considered moderately priced in New York might be a bit different than you would find elsewhere. Here's what our readers recommend.
- The Blakely at 55th Street between 6 and 7th Avenues is recommended by Marianne. She says to ask to stay on the 55th Street side. US$200/night
- Manhattan Club has efficiency units. US$201/night
- The Park Hotel on 7th, across from Carnegie Hall is a quiet hotel with no restaurant but plenty of food nearby. US$208/night.
- Ameritania is located in the theater district. US$225/night.
- Hilton Garden Inn is recommended by Barbara. She likes the one on 54th Street. US$269/night.
- Hotel Beacon Jeanne thought the location on the Upper West Side was the perfect location for a solo traveler, plus the rooms all had a little kitchen area. US$287/night.
- Hotel Indigo is on the Lower East Side and recommended by Charlene. US$289/night.
- The Gem Hotel in Chelsea. US$309/night.
- Archer Hotel is recommended by Kristin who uses it as her base for going to the theater. US$369/night.
Luxury New York Hotels for Solo Travelers
- NH Collection New York Madison Avenue. “Lovely hotel, great staff,” says our reader. US$427/night.
- Marriott Marquis in Times Square, which is perfect if going to the theater. US$500/night.
- Citizen M New York Bowery Hotel is where the East Village meets the Lower East Side. US$900/night.
- The Plaza Hotel which comes in around US$1180/night.
Hotel Taxes and Fees in New York City
New York is famous for promoting one rate for a hotel room and adding fees and taxes at checkout. There is the Hotel Room Occupancy Tax collected by the city as well as city and state taxes. In addition, some hotels will charge a Resort Fee. This can break a traveler's budget and leave a sour feeling after a wonderful vacation.
The above links go to Booking.com. When you look at the price for a room, see the print under the price to know what the taxes and charges will be on the room so that you have a better financial picture. Then, before going to “Final Details” click on “What are my booking conditions”. Under “Taxes and service charges” you'll see something like: “14.75 % Tax is excluded. US$3.50 City tax per night is excluded. A Property service charge is not applicable.” I have not been able to confirm that this means that there is no resort fee, but that's how I would interpret it.
One Final Tip to Protect Your Travel Budget
One last word to the wise: if you're flying to New York City, make sure you have travel insurance. It's tough enough to find reasonably-priced New York City hotels for solo travelers when you have time to plan ahead and wait for a deal. But with so many flight cancellations at this time, it can really blow your budget if you find yourself stranded at the airport and have to find accommodation with availability at the last minute.