New York hotels for every traveller

By Danielle Contray

Title photography by Millennium Hilton New York One UN Plaza. © Hilton

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There are countless hotels in New York, which means no matter who you are – or what you are looking to do – there’s one for you. Couples can find lovely rooms on the Lower East Side, while families can spread out at The Shelburne Sonesta. Even if you’re only in the city for one night – make sure you stay in style.

For a one night stopover: Millennium Hilton New York One UN Plaza

It’s got a mouthful of a name, but its great grill restaurant might make you wish you were staying longer than just one night.

The lowdown... The Millennium Hilton New York One UN Plaza is set in a great big, gloriously glassy skyscraper. It’s right next to the many-flagged United Nations headquarters on 1st Avenue. You’re probably not here to sit on the UN, but there are plenty of other sights nearby – and Grand Central Station is ten minutes’ walk away – making this hotel great for stopovers. The hotel’s Ambassador Grill restaurant is an official New York City Landmark – as is the hotel’s lobby: its postmodern interior design is pure class.

Even if you only stay 24 hours, you'll be thinking about the views over the East River and the Chrysler Building for a long time to come.

Insider's tip... Look out of the windows. Even if you only stay 24 hours, you'll be thinking about the views over the East River and the Chrysler Building for a long time to come.

Book a stay at Millennium Hilton New York One UN Plaza

  • One of the guest rooms at The Shelburne Sonesta. © Affinia Hotels & Suites.

    Family time

    Bringing everyone? Ask for interconnecting rooms or book a six-person suite.

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  • The Beaux-Arts exterior of The Knickerbocker. © The Knickerbocker.

    Knickerbocker glory

    Get a load of that beautiful Beax-Arts exterior – at the Knickerbocker.

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  • Ambassador Grill & Lounge at the Millennium Hilton New York One UN Plaza. © Hilton.

    Go for the grill

    Yes, it’s very likely a UN ambassador has sat where you’re sitting – at the Ambassador Grill in the Millennium Hilton.

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For a budget: Pod Times Square

You don’t have to spend a fortune to stay in New York, nor do you have to sacrifice style. Pod Hotels are part of a wave of affordable, stripped-back hotels. Yes, you get a small room – but its space-saving tricks will probably impress you, not frustrate you, and you still get your own bathroom.

The lowdown… This trendy hotel offers sleek style – but also fantastic rates. Rooms are simply designed, with the choice of bunk beds, full beds or queen beds and all the essentials you need for a city break base. At Pod Times Square you’re (unsurprisingly) just a short stroll away from Times Square – but you’re also close to Central Park and the action of Broadway. The windows are soundproofed so you can rest easy, even though you’re right in the centre of town.

Insider’s tip… The hotel’s restaurant, Serafina in The Sky, dishes up scrumptious Italian dishes and thoughtfully crafted cocktails with sweeping rooftop views. Concoct your own spritz with the Spritz Kit option – and take the flask home with you for an extra cost.

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  • The Parlour at the InterContinental New York Barclay. © IHG. All rights reserved.

    Bee’s Knees

    The Parlour at the InterContinental New York Barclay shakes up classic cocktails in a 1920s-inspired setting. Now, let’s get down to business.

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For the family: The Shelburne Sonesta

Sharing a room with the entire clan here will provide plenty of space for everyone to breathe.

The lowdown… This hotel, located within walking distance of the Empire State Building and Grand Central Station, has studio rooms that are 410 square feet, so you won’t be tripping over each other. The rooms also have a kitchen, perfect for popcorn on an in-room movie night, or for whipping up a quick, cheap breakfast before heading out for a day of sightseeing.

Insider’s tip… For an extra special stay, choose a terrace suite with an Empire State Building view.

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For couples: Hotel Indigo Lower East Side New York

If you’re the kind of couple that likes rooftop bars, cool little neighbourhood streets – and retiring to a beautiful, comfortable bedroom afterwards (so, that’s most people), then you’ll love the Hotel Indigo.

The lowdown… IHG’s Indigo hotels are all designed to fit seamlessly into their neighbourhoods. Hotel Indigo is as cool and urban as the Lower East Side around it, with art installations and a hip rooftop bar. But just because it wants to be your friendly neighbourhood hotel, doesn’t mean it isn’t fancy. This is a four-and-a-half-star hotel, after all. From its 14th-floor ‘lobby in the sky’ to its heated rooftop plunge pool, everything’s just got a little bit extra ‘wow’ factor.

Insider’s tip… The hotel bar and restaurant, Mr Purple, is open well into the early hours with glorious views of the glittering city – perfect for a nightcap. Down on the street you’ll find Katz Deli and Russ & Daughters, two of New York’s most famous delis. Judge for yourself who has the best brisket.

Book a stay at Hotel Indigo Lower East Side New York

For the high life: The Plaza – a Fairmont Managed Hotel

This grand hotel has elegantly dominated the corner of Fifth Avenue and Central Park South since it opened in 1907. Here, Diamond Jim Brady sipped Champagne, Kennedys and Nixons wed in the ballrooms and movies from The Way We Were and The Great Gatsby to Home Alone 2 were filmed.

The lowdown… The Plaza has sat at the south east corner of Central Park and Fifth Avenue for more than a century. The glittering Grand Ballroom has held a number of prestigious events, from Truman Capote’s 1966 Black and White Ball to Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones’ wedding in 2000. In 2008, a $450 million renovation breathed new life – and lots of modern luxurious touches – into the landmark hotel.

Insider’s tip… Despite its location, park views are hard to come by. See green and avoid city noise with a courtyard room. The junior suite comes with white glove butler service. Stop by the hotel’s iconic Palm Court restaurant, where you'll find the most elaborate afternoon tea in the city.

For affordable luxury: The Knickerbocker Hotel

Don’t be put off by the Times Square location, every effort has been made inside The Knickerbocker to make it a total haven of calm – including blackout blinds in the rooms.

The lowdown… Beaux-Arts on the outside – inside ‘The Knick’, as it’s known, is actually very modern. The restaurant Charlie Palmer (named after the famous US chef) has American classics on the menu and the rooftop bar – St Cloud – is a buzzing place to spend an evening. When you want to get away from it all, walk down to Bryant Park.

Insider’s tip… F Scott Fitzgerald and Sam Rockefeller used to come and drink martinis in this very building – in fact, the drink was supposedly invented here.

Book a stay at The Knickerbocker Hotel

Best for business: InterContinental Barclay

Business hotels don’t have to be soulless, as a stay in the fabulously five-star InterContinental Barclay proves. This hotel has had a jaw-dropping renovation and has emerged looking like a city slicker.

The lowdown… Not just near Grand Central Station, but actually built as part of its expansion in 1926, the InterContinental Barclay is in a great location for flying visits and meeting. It’s close to transport links and plenty of iconic New York landmarks – so you can easily do some sightseeing between meetings if you feel like it.

Insider’s tip… Station yourself in The Parlour and savour vintage tipples in a glamorous setting harking back to New York’s jazz age.

Book a stay at InterContinental Barclay