January 11, 2023
Tablet is your source for discovering the world’s most exciting boutique hotels — places where you’ll find a memorable experience, not just a room for the night. For over twenty years we’ve scoured the earth, evaluating hotels for every taste and budget, creating a hand-picked selection that’s proven and unforgettable. Now, we’re the official hotel selection of the legendary MICHELIN Guide. Here are the top 10 New York City boutique hotels in each of their neighborhoods:
SoHo, formerly home to the artists’ lofts that were New York’s 20th-century Downtown signature, has, since around the turn of the millennium, gone steadily upscale — and steadily more international. Both trends find expression in 11 Howard, where contemporary Scandinavian design meets a more inclusive, less ostentatious version of luxury hospitality. It’s the first independent hotel project for architect Anda Andrei, after decades as the designer behind Ian Schrager’s path-breaking boutique-hotel projects. Produced in collaboration with Danish designers Space Copenhagen, 11 Howard avoids the sort of wall-to-wall bling that’s sometimes synonymous with New York hotels. And this one puts a bit of money where its egalitarian ideals are, as well — they call it “conscious hospitality,” which in concrete terms means passing on a share of revenue to charities like the Global Poverty Project.
The Scandinavian vibe imparts a crisp cleanliness to 11 Howard’s interiors, and the local color comes in the form of a pretty formidable art collection, whose highlights include works by Hiroshi Sugimoto, Katie Yang, and Dan Attoe. The rooms are smart and functional, drawing heavily on the cozier currents in Danish design, and the resulting visual identity is a memorable one.
For some time now the East Village has suffered from a certain imbalance — plenty of places to dine and drink, but nowhere to stay. It’s a situation that’s found some resolution in recent years, as a building boom in Manhattan’s south-eastern quadrant has made space for a new wave of modern boutique hotels, some of them, like the Standard, East Village, situated in gleaming modern high-rises.
It’s hard to miss the towering curves and angles of the Standard, surrounded as it is by a relatively low-rise district. And from inside the rooms it makes for unique perspectives on the East Village rooftops as well as the downtown bridges and classic uptown skyscrapers. Windows are floor-to-ceiling, and the in-room amenities are pure luxury-boutique: huge HD screens, Bluetooth-enabled sound systems, mosaic-tile bathrooms and three different bathrobes to choose from. All this and warmth too — the sunny rooms are fitted with subtly retro furnishings and dreamy beds with fluffy down pillows.
In the boutique-hotel world, what’s old is new again. In New York Sean MacPherson’s hotels were among the first to turn away from glossy, futuristic minimalism and towards something with a bit more retro romance. So the historically inspired Marlton, the century-old Greenwich Village hotel which once hosted the likes of Jack Kerouac and Julie Andrews, is perfectly in character.
It’s also perfectly full of character. In this town there are always bigger, swankier, more luxurious hotels. Personality is the only way out of that arms race. The Marlton is swanky enough, in its Parisian-inspired way, and it’s also realistically priced, so as to make space for a more eclectic clientele. It’s been described as a sort of baby Bowery, and that’s not inaccurate — imagine the Bowery Hotel on a cozier scale with a slightly more residential vibe, and you’re most of the way there.
The Maritime Hotel was designed in 1966 for the National Maritime Union; hence its name, and its nautical theme. Today it is one of New York’s hipster hangouts, owing as much to its location (just off the Meatpacking District) as to the charms of the hotel itself.
This is not a traditional hotel, by any stretch — all rooms face westward, looking over the Hudson and New Jersey through five-foot porthole windows. The rooms are compact, but well-designed, with built-in furniture, so that all the necessities (storage space, work desk, flat-screen TV) easily fit into the tiny space, and wireless internet, naturally, takes no space at all. The décor almost borders on kitsch, but is actually quite charming, if one accepts the ship's cabin conceit in all its wood-paneled glory.
There was a time when the Ace Hotels were strictly a Pacific Northwest phenomenon, and eyebrows were raised when they began work on a hotel in New York’s once-neglected NoMad neighborhood. But now the Ace Hotel New York feels like the flagship of this often-imitated hip hotel chain. Not only has it put this stretch of Broadway back on the map, it’s also got the kind of multi-purpose public space — co-working space by day, after-work drinking spot in the evening, and a full-fledged nightlife venue featuring DJs or live music as the hours tick by.
Its other public spaces are no less essential to the Ace’s appeal. The Breslin is an American gastropub by the award-winning chef April Bloomfield, perhaps best known for the West Village’s legendary Spotted Pig. And while Stumptown Coffee is no longer quite the rarity it once was, this was the first on the East Coast, and single-handedly raised New York’s coffee game upon arrival./p>
It’s about as far as you can get — both figuratively and literally — from the funky downtown boutique hotels of lower Manhattan. The Mark is the very picture of classic, timeless Upper East Side poshness, in spite of — or maybe even because of — its recent, extremely thorough renovation. And in its present incarnation it’s proof that old money doesn’t necessarily imply old-fashioned.
Take the Mark Restaurant by Jean-Georges (yes, that Jean-Georges) as an example. It’s a long way from weak tea in the afternoon and lobster Thermidor at night. The menu could hold its own against anyone in the city, and the space is not at all unstylish, for any side of the park. And while the lobby’s dazzle is classic, decked out in Deco-flavored black and white, and the rooms are as subtle as can be, there’s a certain stylishness to the Mark’s elegance, which only sneaks up slowly.
If you’re like us, you’ll see the words “Times Square” and you’ll be tempted to keep scrolling. But Merrion Row Hotel and Public House is worth lingering over for a bit. Yes, it’s right around the block from Times Square itself, deep in the heart of Midtown’s most heavily traveled neighborhood. But if you want a break from the noise and the crowds — well, that’s what elevators are for. Once you’re within the walls of Merrion Row, you’re immersed in an idealized modern version of traditional Irish hospitality, a public house with all the cheer and warmth of historical Dublin, transplanted to 21st-century New York City.
A hotel with a point of view goes a long way towards distinguishing itself. Here the rooms are identifiably Irish in aspect, including large-format landscapes of the Emerald Isle or portraits of Irish notables. But what’s perhaps most remarkable is Merrion Row’s restraint. We’ve all seen Irish bars that walk right up to the border of kitsch, and then plunge ahead fearlessly. Merrion Row, in contrast, is ever tasteful. The Public House, too, pays just the right amount of tribute to its heritage, without crossing over into theatricality; the restaurant serves contemporary Irish-American fare, with a focus on the flavors of Ireland’s west coast, and a long list of appropriately chosen beers and spirits.
What do we know about the Greenwich Hotel? It’s got a celebrity owner (none other than Robert DeNiro), a prime Tribeca location, impeccable design credentials courtesy of one of New York’s top firms, Grayling Design, and some truly obsessive construction, having something to do with thousands of very expensive handmade bricks. Now there’s no question that all these things make for great press, but do they mean anything to the guests?
Of course they do. While you might not be literally partying with Bobby (or even really encouraged to refer to him as Bobby, for that matter) there’s no question the Greenwich is an establishment that values privacy and discretion, two values many of today’s publicity-hungry boutique hotels lack. The location, in a neighborhood that’s become indelibly associated with DeNiro, places you roughly where hip and upscale intersect, minutes from more shopping and nightlife than any one neighborhood could reasonably need.
In general it’s true that we’re skeptical about the idea of hotel chains. But we tend to forget our principles when we’re talking about the Firmdale group. Their six London hotels are six of the best hotels anywhere, and they can’t help but be similar; aside from the obvious fact that they all share the same city, they all just as obviously share the same general philosophy of what a hotel ought to be — which they owe to their owners, Tim and Kit Kemp. And a part of that is visual, a natural family resemblance based on their all having been decorated by the very recognizable Kit.
Now if we didn’t greatly admire the (smallish, intimate, service-oriented) Firmdale philosophy, and consider ourselves huge fans of Ms. Kemp’s design style, we might be less excited about a London-based mini-chain expanding into New York. But a hotel like Crosby Street is exactly what this city needs. The contrast between the downtown grit of the cobblestone street outside and the plush sophistication of the hotel’s lobby is immediate, and striking. Say what you will about the bright colors and the decidedly un-minimal décor — it’s a rare New York boutique these days that presents so opinionated a face to the world.
Hard to believe an architectural gem of the Beekman’s stature went neglected for so many years, but we’re happy to report that it’s back in business, and it’s been put to the best possible use. (We would say that, wouldn’t we?) The Beekman, a Thompson Hotel, to give it its full name, is an Old New York original, an 1881-vintage skyscraper from the days when a skyscraper meant nine stories of terraced red brick. And if the silhouette doesn’t convince you of its landmark status, a glance upwards surely will, as you walk across the towering central atrium with its pyramidal glass skylight.
Over the years Thompson has built itself into the sort of operation where you more or less know what to expect when you hear the name: a certain blend of retro-modern style, comforts that are solidly high-end without feeling extravagant or ostentatious, and public spaces that don’t just look after the guests but bring in the local life as well. At the Beekman, though, they’ve upped the ante a bit. The rooms, thanks to the historical structure, are spacious and solid, and the big, beautiful windows fill them with natural light. A few modern-vintage touches, like barn-style bathroom doors and dedicated cocktail tables, complete the picture.
More boutique hotel lists in the New York Area:
Midtown New York Boutique Hotels
Brooklyn Boutique Hotels
Greenwich Village Boutique Hotels
Soho New York Village Boutique Hotels
Tribeca & Wall St Boutique Hotels
Meatpacking NYC Boutique Hotels
Flatiron NYC Boutique Hotels
Long Island New York Boutique Hotels
Upstate New York Boutique Hotels
View our entire selection of Boutique Hotels in New York City
Many people visiting New York for the first time are shocked with the size of the rooms (smallish). If you need some space and are not looking to book a suite, here are some boutique hotels with larger standard rooms:
Four Seasons Hotel New York (Midtown)
The Dominick (Soho)
The St. Regis New York (Midtown)
Crosby Street Hotel (Soho)
Park Hyatt New York (Midtown)
For anyone with a pet by their side, you have plenty of choices among the best NYC boutique hotels. Here’s a sample of those that welcome pets (charges and certain restrictions may apply):
The Whitby Hotel
There are plenty of great dining experiences in the best New York boutique hotels. Here are a few recognized by The MICHELIN Guide:
The New York Edition
The Langham, New York, Fifth Avenue
There are plenty of options if you’d like to stay near one of NYC’s most iconic landmarks. Here are the best New York City boutique hotels closest to the Empire State Building:
Langham Place, New York, Fifth Avenue
Andaz 5th Avenue
Refinery Hotel New York
A trip to NYC is hardly complete without a stroll through the famous park. Here are the best New York City boutique hotels closest to Central Park:
The Whitby Hotel
Park Hyatt New York
1 Hotel Central Park
Times Square might have a mixed reputation, but no one can say it’s not worth experiencing at least once. Here are the best New York City boutique hotels closest to Times Square:
Sofitel New York
Hyatt Centric Times Square
Tablet Hotels merged with MICHELIN in 2018 and is the hotels component of the MICHELIN Guide. For more information visit our About Tablet section.