Before World War II, this hotel was two: the Washington and the Jefferson. Each was a home-away-from-home for the performers who worked in the area, and today the WJ still retains that, well, homey feel thanks to the helpful, happy-seeming staff and the simple, but stylish décor (think soft grays with touches of deep red, platform beds with cushioned headboards and slate-tiled bathrooms). Rooms vary in size and some can be quite small, so ask for a switch if you’re unhappy. You likely won't have to worry about noise, as the hotel is on a quiet, tree-lined block, near to the bustling restaurant scene of Hell's Kitchen on one side, and Times Square on the other.

-Pauline Frommer