You know that New York’s nightlife is world-famous. But did you know that some of the hottest scenes in town are in hotel lobbies, lounges, clubs, pools, and rooftops bars? Discover all of New York City’s best party hotels, where a night of staying in has nothing to do with TV and room service.
One of New York City's hippest hotels is also its most architecturally striking: The one-of-a-kind Standard hovers above the High Line on concrete pillars. The 338 ultra-mod rooms look a bit like ship cabins and feature wall-to-wall windows, which flood them with natural light and present staggering views (and can also result in a bit of a peep show, so consider yourself warned). The Standard has several trendy bars: the casual beer-hall-style Biergarten; the clubby (and selective) Le Bain, which features a plunge pool and roof terrace; and the super-exclusive Top of the Standard (formerly known as the Boom Boom Room), the celebrity hot spot lounge which is open to the public only at certain times. After it closes to the public, it becomes a members-only club with a "pre-made list."
For travelers looking to place themselves in the center of cool, the Gramercy Park Hotel is one of the places to stay in New York. The historic luxury hotel's velvet-heavy Rose Bar is one of the hottest places in the city for the hip, beautiful, and famous to meet over drinks. Just don't casually stroll in late at night and expect to get a table -- unless, that is, you've been on the cover of a fashion magazine or won a Grammy in the past year or so. Hotel guests do at least have an edge: They're entitled to jump the line if people are actually waiting to get in. And they can book reservations for a table through the concierge -- which is strongly suggested if you hope to sit down, though even that isn't a guarantee.
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 countless 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 the lobby can get crowded with non-guests on weekends.
After tremendous success with the original property in the Meatpacking District, the Gansevoort Hotel Group aimed to bring some glamour to a corporate neighborhood with their Park Avenue location. It's hard to say just how many bars this hotel has, because many of the nightlife areas run into one another, but suffice it to say there's an impressive amount of space in which to party -- the Plunge lounge that runs across the top floor of the hotel and out onto the pool deck; the rooftop sundeck-cum-event space; the Ivy Lounge, the Red Room -- the list goes on. The hotel has been hosting A-list events since before it even fully opened.
This 187-room Meatpacking District hotel is more than its lauded rooftop pool -- guests also score luxe 400-thread-count bedding and cool Cutler toiletries, plus free Wiis, HBO, and Wi-Fi. The nightly parade of clubhoppers outside the door can grow tiresome -- but if that's your scene, the proximity to so many excellent restaurants and bars is hard to beat.
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 316-room Dream Downtown is a futuristic-looking hotel located directly behind the Maritime in Chelsea, near the border with the trendy Meatpacking District. The hotel blends public spaces together in a unique way: The fitness center has portholes overlooking the pool, and the pool itself has a glass bottom that looks down into the lobby. The hotel's scene is decidedly hip, especially at rooftop PH-D lounge (a popular celeb haunt). Gold King rooms have portholes surrounding the bed with killer views. Aside from the pool, nightclub, and snazzy interior decor, hotel features include a 24-hour gym, luxury hair salon, rotating art exhibit space, and two Mexican eateries. It's easily one of the hippest options in this area.
Since opening as New York's first hotel specifically tailored for gay travelers, the Out has rebranded to broaden its appeal. Indeed, the 105-room boutique property hosts guests of all orientations, including many foreigners drawn by the hotel's central location, sleek design, gorgeous common areas, and hot nightlife. Rooms are clustered around three open courtyards, which are great for socializing: the Great Lawn, an Astroturf-carpeted space with bean bag chairs and regular film screenings; the Secret Garden, a bamboo-fringed oasis with a long common table for group meals; and the Sun Deck, with lounge chairs for catching rays in the summer. While the hotel offers many opportunities for relaxation, it also offers a trendy nightlife scene. The ground floor XL Nightclub is one of the city's largest gay dance clubs, with one of the most advanced sound and lighting systems in the world. There is a different cabaret show, DJ, or theme night each evening, and weekend lines often stretch around the block. Celebrities such as Cyndi Lauper and Ru Paul have been known to make on-stage appearances.
The music at the Soho Grand gets upbeat and loud in the evenings, as the lounge fills with 20- and 30-something scenesters for the almost-nightly party scene -- don't be surprised if you have to push your way to the bar. The scene is particularly frenetic on weekend nights, when a DJ spins.
Part of the design-oriented Morgan Hotel Group, which also owns the Mondrian brand, the 876-room Hudson Hotel strives to be hip and fun as well as affordable. Its common areas -- lobby, restaurants, and lounges -- are spacious and high-design, offering room to party, relax, hold a meeting, and socialize. The stylish rooms, however, are tiny, accessed by barrack-like hallways and lacking amenities such as minibars and coffeemakers. But most guests are more interested in spending time at the dining and nightlife hot spots on site than staying in.
Dating back to the mid-1890s, the Empire is one of New York's oldest hotels, and its iconic rooftop neon sign and traditional entrance preserve that nostalgia. But the hotel's interiors tell a different story. The 422-room hotel's lobby bar, 12th-story rooftop bar, and private areas near the pool all attract young locals, and the hotel has also been known to host swanky private events. But because (in part) the public gains access to the rooftop bar via a separate elevator, the cocktail crowd doesn't interfere with a good night's sleep.
The Sanctuary is a 111-room upscale boutique hotel close to the bustle and lights of Times Square and the Theater District. As its name indicates, the hotel strives to set a soothing vibe, and with low lighting, luxury decor, and a Buddhist theme, it succeeds. While the vibe is calm by day, in the evenings the restaurants and lounges on street level and on the roof cater to a beautiful crowd that likes to socialize and party. Rooms come equipped with cushy robes, spa-like showers, and minibars stocked with late-night snacks and spirits.
W Hotels' 270-room Union Square property greatly resembles other Ws in New York: comfortable beds, modern rooms, an excellent gym, and plenty of business travelers in the chic lobby. The difference: this one's downtown, near the bar-filled East Village and media-mecca Flatiron.
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. The giant lobby, with the Breslin Bar tucked in the back, is filled with cozy leather couches, plaid upholstered chairs, and fur throws. By day the atmosphere is Seattle coffee shop, with rows of bespectacled faces peeking over Apple laptops at the long, library-style tables; by night it's a hip neighborhood bar, with clusters of guests chilling out and sipping cocktails into the wee hours.
For the price, this colorful 139-room Times Square boutique hotel offers more: great beds; free Wi-Fi; excellent healthy breakfasts; free access to sauna, steam room, gym; great rates on four-person rooms; and a small indoor lobby pool and swim-up bar that hosts a popular gay pool party every Wednesday.
With shared bathrooms and hilariously small (though cleverly designed) rooms, this West Village landmark offers quirky accommodations for hipsters on a tight budget -- most rooms cost a fraction of the New York average. But most NYC micro-hotels don't have anything close to the cool-kid scene of the Jane, which draws locals to its indoor/outdoor rooftop bar, bohemian Jane Ballroom, and perennially hip Cafe Gitane.
Set in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Bushwick, the New York Loft Hostel offers 21 large, spartan, high-ceilinged rooms with the option of a private or dorm-style set-up. The common areas are configured around hang-out spots, such as the outdoor patio with lounge chairs and a ping-pong table. The hostel plays host by throwing weekly barbecues in the summer and fondue-pot nights in the winter. The area is home to a plethora of bars and artisanal food offerings; the bustle of Union Square is a 15-minute ride from the Morgan Avenue L train stop, which is two blocks from the property.
The loft-style Bowery House (not to confused with the more expensive Bowery Hotel) is best suited for 20- or 30-something hipster types looking for proximity to downtown nightlife. It falls somewhere between a hostel and a hotel, and though snug "cabin" rooms are private, the latticed ceilings make for a lack of aural privacy (hence the earplugs). They're best suited to single travelers on a budget, but adventurous couples can book the Full Cabins (with a full bed), or the one private room that has a queen bed and actual ceiling. Shared bathrooms (gender specific) have upscale touches like Italian marble, Parisian fixtures, rain showerheads, and eco-friendly toiletries. The living room is a great place to mix and mingle, and the great rooftop deck is open in summer months. The eclectic small plates at the downstairs restaurant are excellent, though the bill might cost more than room itself.