Finding the Best Value New York City Hotels

New York City is one of the most exciting cities on the planet- but it can also be one of the world’s most expensive. Thankfully, the Big Apple isn’t as pricey as Oslo or Zurich, as average accommodation and food prices are cheaper. On our recent trip for The New York Times Travel Show we scoured several booking sites to find the best value New York City hotels.

New Yorker building

New York City Hotels

After searching several sites we wound up staying at a highly rated hotel in Midtown Manhattan, a 5 minute walk from Grand Central Station, for $90 per night including taxes (which are high in New York state), from January 22nd-January 25th.

We stayed at Pod 39, on 39th Street and Lexington, and booked our room on one week in advance. As the date drew nearer the prices for Pod 39 increased and eventually the hotels’ 300+ rooms completely sold out. Sometimes we wait until the last minute to book a hotel but it isn’t advisable to do this in New York City or you could miss out on the best deals.

Pod 39 Hotel

Monitoring Prices

I was monitoring prices in New York for a few weeks in advance of our visit and noticed prices at the Double Tree for $119 per night pre-paid. We thought this deal would hold up in January but it did not. When searching again, a week in advance of our visit, the Double Tree was completely sold out. The Double Tree in the financial district is primarily a business hotel so prices on the weekends are significantly cheaper as Wall Street is closed for business, but those rooms were priced to sell and New York City is both a business and leisure destination, like London and Paris.

If you visit a predominantly business city like Brussels or Frankfurt on a typical weekend, prices are significantly cheaper than during the week. And if you’re a leisure traveler with some flexibility, you should look to take advantage of this. New York’s financial district can provide a great value hotel room on weekends, but try and book a few weeks in advance if you can.

Times Square

What Does Best Value Mean to You?

“Best value” can have a lot of interpretations and it really depends what the purpose of your visit to a city is. If you’re seeking a romantic stay with your significant other, we wouldn’t necessarily recommend a hotel like Pod 39 , and if you did stay be sure to pay a little extra for a queen bed room. We were stingy and booked a room with a two person bunk bed. It suited us because Alex stayed one night by himself for work.

But if you’re a traveler that’s seeking a comfortable, modern, clean, and quiet stay, in a centrally located destination, it’s tough to do better than $90 a night at Pod 39. As a bonus the hotel has a wonderful rooftop terrace with fantastic views of Manhattan and a happening bar downstairs. The company also has a hotel called Pod 51, which offers the same great value concept.

Ice Skating in NYC
When we’re searching for hotels we usually find the best deals on or (which we recently learned is owned by Expedia). listed the same $75 price (which after taxes came to $90) for Pod 39 as but there was one important difference: we could cancel without penalty three days later via

Questions to Ask Yourself

When searching for best value accommodation be sure to ask yourself questions like, “what are the chances I’ll need to cancel my stay?” If they’re slim than a pre-paid room might strike the best value in New York, but if your chances of cancelling are reasonable, steer clear of pre-paid non-refundable rates. Always read the terms listed for cancellation before booking as they vary dramatically from site to site.

New York Street Art
If the primary purpose of your visit to New York City is a romantic stay, you might find that booking an apartment to yourselves in Brooklyn might bring you the best value. Starting at around $100 per night, you can book a very nice apartment near public transportation on short term apartment rental websites like only-apartments or VRBO. And this means you can cook a couple nice meals at home if you want, and can even enjoy an excellent candle lit dinner one night, at a significant savings over dining out. This is particularly handy in winter, where a romantic picnic in Central Park isn’t an option.


  • Alex&Bell

    Alex and Bell originally met while solo traveling after finishing university in 2002, in Brugge, Belgium. Alex grew up in the USA and Bell hails from Australia. During our nearly 20 year marriage we've lived around the world, including spending six years living in the Netherlands and Ireland. We have traveled to nearly 70 countries and enjoy giving readers authentic and quality travel tips. Alex is an award winning travel journalist and travel planner, who also freelances for other outlets. Bell is an award winning PhD scientist who currently works for a non-profit lung cancer advocacy research organization called Lungevity. Happy travels and if you have any questions leave a comment or drop an email!

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5 thoughts on “Finding the Best Value New York City Hotels

  1. Great city and lots to do and see. I stayed at the Edison which was recently featured in the film Birdman and location was great.

    1. Nice looking hotel! Particularly in winter, you can find great rates in the heart of New York City. Winter is a good time to go to New York if your primary purpose of visiting is catching a show on Broadway, checking out museums or just eating, as these are indoor activities anyway. December is pretty busy though because people go for the lights and shopping.

  2. I stayed in the Pod hotel about 5 years ago and it was a good budget choice 🙂 I’m headed to NY shortly for vacation and am staying at Citizen M in Times Square. It is a little higher priced, but I am looking forward to the location. I also liked my experience staying at the Citizen M at CDG in Paris. Tip for Citizen M, if you register with them and become a “citizen” you will get 15% off the regular rate when you book on their website.

    1. Hey Stephanie, thanks for commenting! Glad to hear you enjoyed your experience staying at one of the Pod hotels in NYC…We must be on similar wave lengths because we looked into staying at Citizen M in NYC as well because we enjoyed our experience staying at Citizen M in Rotterdam this past September. Unfortunately, during the dates we needed Citizen M in New York was quite a bit more (almost twice the price we paid in Rotterdam). That’s a great tip about registering on their website to save 15%. Citizen M is a great product- love the mood lighting in the rooms, in room iPads and complimentary movies (the Citizen M in Rotterdam even offered complimentary porn to watch on the large flat screen TV, lol). Pod is pretty similar, just more basic and not as high tech.

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