Five Best: New York hotels on a budget

Bed down in the Big Apple in style, without breaking the bank.
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The Independent Online

The Pod Hotel, Midtown

The Pod Hotel – formerly The Pickwick Arms – was launched this year by the designer Vanessa Guilford (who also worked on New York's stylish Maritime Hotel), as a sleek, contemporary, compact venue. The hotel is comfortable enough to be grown-up (rooftop café, smart modern beds, a concierge), but also has a young hip feel, with iPod docking stations, LCD screen TVs, and free Wi-Fi in the rooms. The look is modern and bright, with an illuminated green resin reception desk, moulded globe lights, Florence Knoll sofas and 1950s-style fabrics. For groups of friends and families, it also has town-house units that sleep four, and a Veranda pod, which has its own terrace.

The Pod Hotel, 230 East 51st Street, Midtown, New York (001 212 355 0300; Doubles from $129 (£65), room only

Marrakech Hotel, Upper West Side

The Upper West Side introduces a bit of budget boutique with this feast of gilded doors, patterned rugs, hookahs, warm lighting and Moroccan screens, created by the developer Hank Freid. The 125-room hotel was renovated last year and now boasts European linens, high-speed internet, Ecco bath products, flat-screen TVs, and a cocktail bar. It is situated close to Central park and Harlem's jazz clubs, but also has good routes downtown with the nearby subway lines.

Marrakech Hotel, 2688 Broadway, Upper West Side, New York (001 212 222 2954; Doubles from $173 (£82), room only

The Gershwin Hotel, Midtown

Its façade is painted pillar-box red, with several giant glowing orb structures attached, and its lobby is decorated with Andy Warhol imagery. All this on a sleepy cross-street in the Flatiron District. The vibe is artsy Brooklyn-meets-Lower East Side hipster, with a bit of jazz and Pop Art thrown in for good measure. The rooms have exposed brick walls and quirky period features such as old tiled bathrooms, which add to the charm, and each floor boasts its own original art installation. The location isn't bad either, around the corner from the Empire State building, and a short cab or subway ride in either direction to Central Parkor SoHo.

The Gershwin, 7 East 27th Street, Midtown, New York (001 212 545 8000; Doubles from $127 (£54), room only

Jazz on the Park, Upper West Side

For those who want a vibrant social atmosphere, but have outgrown hostel dorm rooms, Jazz on the Park is a good compromise. The hostel – located near the Museum Mile and Central Park – has a clutch of private hotel-style rooms, with wrought-iron double beds, mini-fridges, en suite bathrooms, and stylish decor. All the private rooms are in a separate building around the corner, which means no disturbance from large groups, but guests can still dip into the scene of regular live jazz evenings, summer barbecues on the terrace, and the busy café when they choose.

Jazz on the Park, 36 West 106 Street, Upper West Side, New York (001 212 932 1600; Doubles from $142 (£70), including breakfast

Hotel QT, Midtown

The hotelier André Balazs is known for his ultra-glamorous establishments, such as The Mercer in Manhattan (Marc Jacobs' home-from-home when in the city) and the Chateau Marmont in Hollywood. But two years ago, he introduced a bit of luxury that virtually everyone could buy into, with the launch of Hotel QT, a stylish 140-room venture on Times Square. It comes with all the fun indulgences such as a swimming pool (and swim-up bar), Egyptian-cotton sheets, DVD players, and mini refrigerators in each room– but at bargain rates. True, some of the rooms do have bunk beds, but in this stylish context, they look sleek, and work well within the space constraints.

Hotel QT,125 West 45th Street, Midtown, New York (001 212 354 2323; Doubles from $245 (£123), including breakfast