Remember that the accommodations scene in New York City goes well beyond hotels. You can save money—and have a more interesting stay—by considering the following "alternative accommodations".
Private B&B accommodationsAlas, it is illegal to rent vacation apartments in New York City for less than 30 days. So though AirBnB.com, HomeAway.com, VRBO.com and others list dozens of apartment rentals around the city, often going for far less than a hotel room, there is a risk to booking one. However, you can legally rent a room in an apartment, if the owner remains in residence. Think of it as a private B&B (though often breakfast is not included). This type of stay is usually much cheaper than a hotel room, it allows you to meet a friendly local, and it will most likely place you in a residential neighborhood where you live like a local, rather than a visitor. Some of the companies that offer these types of stays include include New York Habitat (www.nyhabitat.com; tel 212/255-8018), Wimdu.com and AirBnB.com. Be sure to get all details in writing and an exact price for the stay, including applicable taxes and fees, before booking.
Religious and Military Guesthouses
Around Manhattan are a number of specialty lodgings operated by the U.S. Military, various churches, and other non-profit organizations. In some cases they’re open to all, in others you must be a member to stay here, but they all are clean, friendly, well-located hotels, offering private rooms (for as little as $100 per night). In the case of the religious hotels, there’s no required attendance at services, though at some, unmarried couples are not allowed to share the same room. Here are four we heartily recommend; contact them well ahead of your visit as they do sell out:
The Seafarers and International House (123 E. 15th St., just off Irving Place; [tel] 212/677-4800; www.sihnyc.org; subway: 4, 5, 6, N, R, L to Union Square). Open to all, run by the Lutheran Church.
Soldiers’, Sailors’, Marines’ & Airmens’ Club (283 Lexington Ave., between 36th and 37th sts.; 800/678-8443 or 212/683-4353; www.ssmaclub.org; subway: 6 to 33rd St.). Open to active military and veterans from the U.S. and allied nations, as well as first responders.
The House of the Redeemer (7 E. 95th St. off Fifth Ave.; 212/289-0339; www.houseoftheredeemer.org; subway: 6 to 96th St). Open to all, run by the Episcopal Church.
The Leo House (332 W. 23rd St., between Eighth and Ninth aves.; www.leohousenyc.com; 800/732-2438 or 212/929-1010; subway: E, C to 23rd St). Open to all, run by the Catholic Church.
Open to people of all ages as well as families, the following hostels have a mix of dorm accommodations and private rooms. Rates start at $40−$80 per person at these facilities, varying by date and type of room. Here are NYC’s best maintained hostels:
Hosteling International New York (891 Amsterdam Ave., at the corner of 103rd St.; 212/932-2300; www.hinewyork.org; subway: 1 to 103rd St., or 1, 2, 3 to 96th St.)NY Loft Hostel (249 Varet St., Williamsburg, Brooklyn; www.nylofthostel.com; tel. 718/366-1351; L to Morgan Ave.).
Q4 Hotel/Hostel (29-09 Queens Plaza North, Long Island City, Queens; www.q4hostel.com; tel. 718/706-7700; E, M, N, R, or 7 to Queensborough Plaza).
Vanderbilt YMCA (224 East 47th St. between Second and Third Aves.; www.ymcanyc.org; tel. 212/902-2504; 6, N, or R to 51st St.)
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.