When visiting a city as immense and complex as New York City, there can be a real pleasure in making your home base a smaller-sized boutique hotel — one with homey rooms, personalized service, and great attention to detail. Oyster’s reporters have scoped out nearly 150 boutique hotels throughout Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens; these 23 are the ones they deemed the very best in the city.
The Greenwich Hotel, co-owned by Robert de Niro, is virtually flawless, from the craftsmanship -- including reclaimed timber, hand-made bricks, antique mirrors -- to all the free extras, like snacks from the minibar, Wi-Fi, and DVD and Wii rentals. Plus, while many hotels of this size (88 guest rooms) don't have much when it comes to on-site facilities, the Greenwich has an underground pool, the Shibui Spa, an excellent gym, and the homestyle Italian Locanda Verde restaurant.
The Gramercy Park Hotel currently sets the bar for New York cool -- hence the celebrities in the lounge and the paparazzi on the sidewalk. It offers ultra-luxe but small rooms done up in high boho-chic style, a gorgeous gym, an acclaimed Italian trattoria, and a great rooftop bar. True, even guests sometimes feel excluded from the glamour-fest in the bar. But the place is utterly unique.
Centrally located near Madison Square Park, The NoMad (which shares its name with the surrounding neighborhood north of Madison Square Park) is a luxurious, impeccably designed hotel with attentive service but limited features (there's no spa or business center). The hotel's focal point is its eponymous bar and restaurant, featuring five separate-but-connected spaces that sprawl along the ground floor. Guests can order cocktails in the cozy, book-lined Library or order brunch in the sun-filled Atrium room, though they should be prepared for price tags that match the high level of style. The 168 guest rooms are luxurious (there are Sferra linens, Frette towels, and robes), and successfully evoke a bygone era with Persian rugs, old maps, and antique-looking fixtures.
It may be on New York's former Skid Row and decked out with distressed furniture and preciously faded rugs, but the Bowery Hotel is pure faux-vintage luxury inside the outstanding rooms. LED flat-screen TVs, custom Turkish sheets and wool blankets, marble bathrooms to die for, and great views of the city from floor-to-ceiling windows are all standard. On-site Italian restaurant Gemma and the low-key and boho-chic lobby bar are both very popular, even among the mercurial downtown set.
This 114-room Soho boutique, with a stunning rooftop bar and pool, great freebies (including free Wi-Fi and free nightly wine and cheese), restaurant by David Burke, and a hotel art curator, embodies the hip, creative neighborhood it inhabits. Its bright, minimalist rooms are smaller than those at some of its luxury competitors, but they're full of enough thoughtful details to make up for it.
With a hopping rooftop bar boasting jaw-dropping views of Manhattan, a wonderful restaurant, and cutting-edge industrial design, the Wythe is a destination unto itself. It’s located near the subway as well as dozens of restaurants, bars, and shops in the heart of trendy Williamsburg. Rooms are spacious and have high pine ceilings, reclaimed wood furnishings, and great amenities, including flat-screen TVs; local, hand-made toiletries; free Wi-Fi, and radiant floor heating. But noise can be a problem, and thelobby and the elevators can get crowded with non-guests on weekends.
This stylish urban boutique hotel in New York's Garment District is located in a historic building that was once a tea salon and hat factory. The property's past inspired its present industrial-chic design, and small details such as decorative milliner's tools pay homage to the building's former function. In the lobby, cool white stone and Gothic arches are contrasted against colorful contemporary art, while in the rooms, a minimalist black-and-white motif is warmed up by the oak hardwood floors. Features include afitness center, a lobby bar (named for the historic tea salon's owner), Parker & Quinn bistro, and a cool rooftop bar. The location is within walking distance of popular sights such as the Empire State Building, Bryant Park, and Herald Square.
The WestHouse Hotel New York is one of the city's most special boutiques, and easily one of the most luxurious intimate options in this price range in Midtown West. It's on a prime square of real estate, with several train stations within a two block radius and close proximity to numerous sights, including Times Square, Rockefeller Center, and Central Park. The decor is sophisticated, from the marble columns, wall maps and quirky trinkets in the lobby to the 1920s-inspired furnishings in the hotel's 172 rooms and suites. The numerous daily food and drink offerings -- from the breakfast to the happy hour with charcuterie -- add a homey feel, and most guests feel that they are worth the daily fee.
Chelsea's 56-room, Euro-Asian boutique Hotel Americano is one of New York's newer luxury hotels and one of its artsiest; it opened in Chelsea in 2011 with the goal of attracting an art and design crowd. Thoughtful room amenities include hidden storage, personal iPads, hanging fireplaces, and luxurious (if small) bathrooms with Aesop products and rainfall showerheads. The 14th-floor rooftop grill, lounge, and seasonal pool is a standout feature, and is especially popping during the hotel’s summer pool parties. It’s an ideal spot for younger couples and business folk not on a budget -- and while the proximity to the Hudson River is nice, it also means the hotel is a bit farther from public transport.
With chic decor and a youthful, almost-nightly party scene in the lounge, the Soho Grand offers an authentic but accessible taste of the hip downtown scene -- and still attracts its fair share of celebrities. The trendy restaurant and bars, a well-equipped gym, and a generous pet policy make it a top pick for creative types. Rooms are comfortable and well equipped.
The 86-room Crosby Street Hotel is just off Broadway, meaning that it's steps from SoHo shopping but can still feel like a peaceful retreat. As if to drive the point home, there's even a sculpture garden for quiet contemplation. Rooms start at 340 square feet -- big, for New York -- and have great design, nice lighting, fine Frette linens, even heated towel racks. The one thing you won't find? An alarm clock -- though, given the tranquil vibe, we should've expected it to go missing.
This 76-room luxury boutique hotel in a landmark building near Times Square evokes the glamorous 1920s. Rooms combine high quality linens and beds with playful touches like backgammon sets, custom playing cards, and desks that look like steamer trunks. The rooms here meet all of the modern luxury standards, but they also include fun decor that bring guests back to the Jazz Age. For example, the closets and desk are covered in pebbled leather, both designed to look like trunks you would have seen on a steamship in the early 20th century, and the desk top lifts up to reveal a lighted vanity. A restaurant by Geoffrey Zakarian and a small, lovely spa are the hotel's stand-out features.
The 100-room Smyth is an upscale boutique hotel with coolly curated residential style and understated rooms, some with dead-on views of One World Trade Center. Anchored by a star-chef restaurant and a posh speakeasy-style bar, the hotel's first floor is a collection of living rooms, ideal for socializing and relaxing. Its trendy TriBeCa location, on the border of the Financial District, puts guests steps to the subway (literally -- it's on the corner), and within walking distance of great dining and the 9/11 Memorial Museum.
The meticulously curated, vintage-inspired design will be a turn-off for some -- the Ace doesn't aspire to most conventional notions of luxury -- but the property is as cool, comfortable, and inviting in its own way as any fancy downtown hipster boutique. Rooms are a bit small, and in some cases dark. But service is solid and the rates are usually very fair.
At 193 rooms, The Time in Midtown Manhattan is a bit larger than the average boutique hotel, but it still retains the typical boutique vibe. Its 2015 Rockwell Group-led renovation gave the property a super-chic, modern look (though it couldn't do anything about the cramped bathrooms). Suites with separate bedrooms and living areas are also available. Features include a lounge bar; an Italian restaurant with a huge pizza menu; event, meeting, and private-dining space; and a small but sleek fitness center.
The Standard, East Village is one of the hottest properties in the newly hip Bowery area of Manhattan's East Village. The hotel's crown jewel may be the fact that is it home to one of the city's most sought-after restaurants, Narcissa, but great city views, a lovely garden for cocktails, and freebies such as Wi-Fi and bicycle rentals are all pluses. Rooms, albeit sleek with brand-new everything, are small -- even by New York standards -- and the hotel has few on-site amenities; there is no spa or fitness center, but guests do get free access to the Crunch gym across the street.
This chic 60-room boutique hotel opened its doors in 2013, taking up residence in a section of a still-working theological seminary dating back to the 1800s. In the warmer months, guests can enjoy champagne and oysters on the outdoor terrace restaurant, and Intelligentsia Coffee (from Chicago) serves serious caffeine fixes and local pastries in the lobby year-round. Luxurious rooms and suites haveplush king beds, pine wood floors, unique antique furnishings, bathrobes and CO Bigelow bath products. There are a series of meeting and event rooms next door at Hoffman Hall, including the Harry Potter-esque "Refectory" -- a big draw for weddings and fashion runway shows. Just note that the hotel is still working through a few service and maintenance kinks.
The Nolitan is a boutique with tiny, simple, and charming rooms that are very appropriate for its neighborhood. The soft-industrial motif is similar to that of The James: Rooms take on a retro-modern style with exposed cement poles and ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows, high-design furniture, and cool touches such as drawers under the bed and safes and minibars hidden in nightstands. There's a distinct lack of bathroom privacy, however: In some units (such as Neighborhood Corner Rooms), bathrooms are entirely open to the rest of room, while others have exposed glass showers (granted, there's a privacy curtain). But the healthy amounts of natural light and great views go a long way in making everything feel homey.
This gorgeous 141-room boutique joined other high-end hotels and restaurants to help revitalized the once-gritty Lower East Side neighborhood, which is known for its raucous late-night activity. For well-heeled hipsters looking for downtown action, the cool design, attentive staff, fitness center, and pool combine to make this a very fine place to crash after a night out.
The Paper Factory Hotel is a boutique property with 123 loft-style guest rooms and suites. Located in Astoria's trendy Kaufman Art District in Queens, this hip mid-range hotel occupies a former 100-year-old paper factory and retains many industrial accents and unique vintage details. Guest rooms are spacious and light-filled, while the Lofts are huge, with separate living areas and kitchenettes, though there have been some complaints about noise issues due to poor soundproofing. Mundo, the on-site restaurant and bar, is known for is quality Peruvian and Argentinean cuisine. Other features include a 24-hour fitness center, a game room, and a guest lounge with a kitchen.
This smart boutique hotel with reasonable rates is located in TriBeCa, close to upscale shops and restaurants. It was renovated in 2013 and has 43 rooms as well as a modern American restaurant that opened in the spring of 2016. A big hotel highlight is the free wine, beer and snacks served Monday through Thursday. Chic but small rooms have black-and-white decor, high ceilings, hardwood floors, plush bathrobes, and L’Occitane amenities. Duane Street Hotel mostly appeals to couples, but business types will likely appreciate the working areas and free Wi-Fi.
From the curated library to the retro rotary phones in every room, no detail has been left out at this sexy boutique. Its 113 stylish rooms have tasteful decor inspired by the Paris of the 1920s, and feature top-notch amenities, including high-definition TVs, Tivoli radios with iPod hookups, and free Wi-Fi. Society Cafe, a bar and restaurant reminiscent of the old New York speakeasies, attracts a varied clientele with its intimate yet casual vibe and American menu. Walker Hotel Greenwich Village is a great pick for couples and business travelers, but those with kids in tow might find some rooms to be too small and the walls too thin.
The Z is a hip boutique in the up-and-coming neighborhood of Long Island City, Queens. Stylish roomshave dark grey accent walls with funky murals, floor-to-ceiling windows offering sweeping Manhattanviews, and tons of fun details. The attractive, industrial-chic lounge is the meeting point for guests day and night, and offers a solid drinks and tapas menu well into the evening. The hotel's location (a short walk from seven subway lines and one stop on the E train from Midtown); outstanding freebies (Wi-Fi, hourly shuttle to and from Manhattan, loaner bikes, and phone calls); and reasonable rates (cheaper than Manhattan hotels) make it a great value. It's a chic option for those who don’t mind staying in a quieter part of the city.