New York City's Central Park and surrounding buildings
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The Best Cheap Hotels for New York City for 2024

Updated January 30, 2024

The last time I wrote a feature on cheap hotels in New York, I was able to call it The Best Cheap Hotels in New York City. Alas, hotel prices are now so crazy in New York City (read this article to learn why), and so many budget hotels have closed, that although some of the cheap hotels I recommend are still within the five boroughs of New York, I've had to expand my coverage to include hotels located just across the Hudson River in New Jersey, too. So now, while prices remain high, this is a list of the best cheap hotels for New York City.

But I don't recommend just any hotels in New Jersey. I picked only the hotels that are significantly cheaper than NYC lodgings in high season and shoulder season. As well, every property on this list is close to inexpensive and speedy public transportation options for getting into the heart of the city within minutes. In fact, because of New York City's lopsided geography, some of these hotels take less time to reach from Manhattan than other hotels that are actually located in other boroughs of the city. 

That being said, in low season (January, February, and much of March), you can still find low prices in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens, too. If you're planning to travel in those months, you don't necessarily have to look for hotels within New Jersey. To find a room for less than $160 in those winter months (and sometimes much less) in the Big Apple proper, take a look at properties like Freehand New York City, Selina Chelsea, The Leon Hotel, or others that we review on Frommer's.

It's probably a good idea to say that by cheap, I don't mean a fleabag a notch above a bench at the Port Authority Bus Terminal. I just mean these hotels are affordable.

And not relatively affordable compared to the $500-and-up per night you can spend even in New York's standard hotels in high season. The hotels in this list are truly affordable by many budgets, and they have prices akin to what you'd find in other U.S. cities. You may not spot any design awards on display in the lobby, and you may see some signs of normal wear in your room. But so what? With what you save on accommodations, you'll have more money to spend on Broadway shows, tours, shopping, museums, and meals in one of the greatest cities in the world. 

best cheap hotels in nyc: St. James Hotel
Pauline Frommer
In Midtown Manhattan

The Hotel St. James is a stalwart of the New York City affordable hotel scene that spent its pandemic downtime productively, renovating all guest rooms. I'm happy to say a rise in rates didn't accompany the upgrades. Still, you'll sleep on a somewhat stiff mattress in a room decorated with mass-produced furnishings that aren't especially cheery. Fortunately, the front desk staff members are super-friendly, and the location just one block off Times Square, is a good one for avid theatergoers. To read the full Frommer's review, click here.

best cheap hotels in nyc: Carlton Arms Hotel
Pauline Frommer

The Carlton Arms Hotel may be the scruffiest place on this list. But because the owners bring in artists to create unique environments in each room (see above and below for examples), most guests don't care that the furnishings are old and the beds can be saggy. Prices are very appealing here, and they don't increase significantly in high season. To read our full review, click here.

Carlton Arms Hotel New York City

best cheap hotels in nyc: The Lodge at Red Hook and New York City Vista
Pauline Frommer
In Brooklyn

Some chain motels in the city's outer boroughs offer decent values, though many are now joining their brethren in Manhattan and Brooklyn by spiking prices when demand is high. That doesn't generally happen at The Lodge at Red Hook, as it's primarily chosen by folks about to embark on cruise vacations, thanks to the inn's proximity to the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal. Rooms are always affordable, but prices can rise a little right before and after ships come through. Though the lobby is dull and the surrounding area is mostly warehouses, rooms are quite nice, with kicky art on the walls, very good mattresses, and a contemporary streamlined look. The biggest downside to staying here is the lack of a nearby subway stop—you'll have to walk about 20 minutes to get to the train, and part of that journey may be along the highway. To read our full review, click here.


best cheap hotels in nyc: A room at the Comfort Inn in Edgewater, New Jersey
Pauline Frommer
In Edgewater, New Jersey

The first of our New Jersey options is a motel, plain and simple. But Comfort Inn is well-kept, with a cheery staff, good mattresses, rooms that have views over the water to New York City, and a generous included breakfast. During rush hour on weekdays (morning and late afternoon) you can catch a highly scenic ferry into Manhattan (the port is easily walkable from the Comfort Inn). The rest of the time, you'll be on a bus that, most of the time, should whisk you into the center in 30 minutes (but when there's bad traffic, your ride could take double that amount of time). You can read my full review here.

best cheap hotels in nyc: A room at the Days Hotel by Wyndham North Bergen
Pauline Frommer
In North Bergen, New Jersey

A digital fireplace set opposite the beds and beneath a massive TV: romantic or ridiculous? Your call. But rooms at Days Hotel by Wyndham North Bergen /NYC Area, an off-highway hotel, are colorful and clean, even if some do show signs of wear (paint scratched off a door, a ding on the leg of a wooden chair). Transportation into the city is by bus ($4) which can take between 25 and 55 minutes depending on time of day, and, perhaps, on the phases of the moon (it's difficult to explain traffic in the Tri-State area). Read my full review here.

best cheap hotels in nyc: A room at the Element Harrison Newark hotel in New Jersey
Pauline Frommer
In Newark, New Jersey
I was seriously impressed by the Element Harrison, and not only because it's a 3-minute walk from a PATH subway train that will zip you into Manhattan in 20 minutes flat (most times of day). The staff here is genuinely caring, and the digs are primo, each containing a fully workable kitchen, a well-designed work area, and good beds. (The photo I took doesn't do the rooms justice). Other extras include a top-notch gym, a breakfast you'll actually want to eat, and even room service from the on-site restaurant. The area is also pleasant. That being said, don't choose this place in the off-season of deep winter. During that period, a room in New York City itself will cost far less. But in high season and shoulder season, this place is priced well below many hotels in Gotham, pricewise (even if many hotels in the city aren't nearly as nice as this one). A find! More info here.
best cheap hotels in nyc: The Hyatt Regency Hotel from the outside
Pauline Frommer
In Jersey City, New Jersey

Hyatt Regency Jersey City On The Hudson is another option with excellent transportation options: either the PATH subway train (a 2-minute walk from the lobby) or a scenic ferry to Manhattan's Financial District. And those splendid ferry views are also available from every room here, which is a plus. But other than that, this is a tired convention hotel with paper-thin walls (noise seeps from room to room) and dated furnishings. It's those minuses that keep prices reasonable, at least in high and shoulder season. (There's no price advantage to staying here in deep winter.) For my full review, click here.

Also in Jersey City: Motorists entering the Holland Tunnel will see the Holland Hotel hotel right off the highway. Because of that off-putting location, it's a bit of a surprise that this hotel is actually a well-kept, friendly place to stay, with free parking and PATH train service a short walk away. Here's my complete review.
best cheap hotels in nyc: A room at the Sonesta Simply Suites in Jersey City, New Jersey
Pauline Frommer

Like the nearby Hyatt Regency Jersey City, the Sonesta Simply Suites Jersey City is graced by excellent transportation options via both ferry or PATH train. That's where the comparisons end though—it's more up-to-date. The staff here is genuinely welcoming, and since rooms were all redone in fall of 2023, they're far more spiffy. (Again, my photo could be better). All rooms also come with full kitchens, and there's a nice, new gym on-site. One big negative here, though: Some rooms get noise from the light railway that squeals past outside. Ask for a room on the opposite side of the building. Here's its website.

Best cheap hotels for NYC: A room at the Teaneck Marriott at Glenpoint
Pauline Frommer
In Teaneck, New Jersey

Rooms are oversized and cushy, the gym is massive (with a pool, classes and every fitness machine under the sun), there's a bar and restaurant—there's a lot to like about Teaneck Marriott at Glenpointe, a highway-side business hotel. It's not at the bottom of the ladder, pricewise, but its rates are usually far lower than prices you'll find in Manhattan in high season. A public bus picks up Manhattan-bound travelers right outside the hotel several times an hour throughout the day.

And that's it for my look at the dwindling options for the cheapest acceptable stays in, and near, NYC. But hotels won't be your only expense, so be sure to also click on my article on the 35 top ways to save money on a Big Apple Vacation.