Two of the most unusual hotels in the city, both the original Pod and its offshoot on 39th Street, offer high style, and even high jinx, at low, low prices. As you might have guessed from the name, most of the rooms are pretty small—combining and enlarging them would have forced the owners to raise prices—and some at the original location (on 51st St.) do share a bathroom. But even these negatives don’t detract too much. The designer has done a bang-up job of making savvy use of the space, building dressers into the bases of the beds, for example; attaching small TVs at each level of the bunk beds (yes, some doubles have bunk beds); and covering the beds with sofa-like covers in primary colors, so that they can be used as couches during the day. All this in rooms that have a smart, Scandinavian look, with clean-lined light-wood and brushed metal furnishings, fine modern prints on the walls, and such non-budget touches as flatscreen TVs, free Wi-Fi, CD players, and iPod-recharging stations in each room. In addition, both properties go out of their way to make stays fun for their guests, with rooftop bars, bustling on-site restaurants, and lobbies that double as lounges (the downtown one offers a Ping-Pong and pool table for guests). Though most of the guests are in their twenties and thirties, people of all ages will enjoy staying at these cheery and affordable hotels (including families; a number of rooms are perfect for them).
- Pauline Frommer