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Where to Stay in New York City for a Local Experience

Get under the skin of New York City by experiencing it like one of the locals
Get under the skin of New York City by experiencing it like one of the locals | © Patrick Tomasso / Unsplash
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America’s most storied city has perfected the art of the hotel – as well as having some of the best-preserved historic hideaways, it’s a hotbed for innovation, with trendy new brands springing up each year. Whether you want a mega-label up near Central Park and the museums, or a more low-key, character-packed pad downtown, you’re spoilt for choice. Just make sure you’re well connected to the rest of town – New York is a city with a million reasons to leave your hotel.

The Knickerbocker Hotel

4.5/5 (1126 Reviews)
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Courtesy of the Knickerbocker / Expedia
Price Drop
Now from $289 per night
Just a step away from the neon fizz of Times Square, The Knick has calm, clean rooms behind its frilly Beaux-Arts facade, decked out in tranquilizing hues of stone, pine and biscuit. The Charlie Palmer restaurant taps into the farm territory of NY’s Hudson Valley for its seared steaks and roasted-squash soups; and its rooftop bar has one of the best views around for buzzy Manhattan moments such as New Year’s Eve or the Fourth of July.
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The Dominick

4.5/5 (753 Reviews)
The Dominick
Courtesy of The Dominick / Expedia.com
Price Drop
Now from $390 per night
The SoHo neighborhood, with its sharp designer stores and cult bakeries, breeds a slicker brand of boutique hotel, and The Dominick’s tree-trimmed rooftop, lofty bronze lobby and art-bedecked rooms sum up that vibe. Sip martinis by the pool in the summer months; or hunker down in its small-but-perfectly-formed spa – or in elegant fine-dining spot Vestry when the cold snaps set in.
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Conrad New York Downtown

4.7/5 (968 Reviews)
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Courtesy of Conrad New York Downtown / Expedia
Price Drop
Now from $344 per night
There’s an abstract, sci-fi feel to The Conrad’s towering, glass lobby – and the cool tones and curvaceous furniture continue everywhere from rooms to rooftop bar. Placed way downtown, near the World Trade Center, there’s an almost corporate smartness to this hotel that tempts business travelers and jet-setters; but the rooftop bar, with its unobstructed views of the shimmering Hudson River, could romance the socks off anyone.
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Royalton Park Avenue

4.1/5 (995 Reviews)
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Courtesy of Royalton Park Avenue / Expedia
Price Drop
Now from $144 per night
There’s a relaxed, youthful feel to this still-smart hotel in trendy NoMad – a plant-wrapped living wall hangs over the bar terrace, a pink chandelier dangles in the lobby and exposed lightbulbs are strung festively above the outdoor pool. Pop up for a swim with a view of the Empire State Building, then settle into modern rooms with pops of hot pink and royal blue.
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The Langham, New York, Fifth Avenue

4.7/5 (973 Reviews)
The Langham, New York, Fifth Avenue
Courtesy of The Langham / Hotels.com
Price Drop
Now from $640 per night
Blessed with a super-central location and attentive, approachable staff, The Langham feels a cut above some of its established Midtown rivals. With sculptural, liquid-look areas in the lobby and moody murals behind reception, it’s a sharp, arty stay. Rooms may look basic, in crisp, cool white and navy, but their simplicity hides some serious investment in your comfort – they’re kitted out with cloud-like Duxiana mattresses and kitten-soft Sferra bedding.
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  • Empire Hotel

    3.9/5 (2392 Reviews)
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    Courtesy of Empire Hotel / Expedia
    Price Drop
    Now from $183 per night
    Situated in the underrated Upper West Side, The Empire has art deco looks and an oversized neon sign to match. Busy rooms with patterned carpet and taupe wallpaper are not to everyone’s taste, but behind that sky-level sign is a sceney rooftop lounge, with vine-strung walls and tangerine sofas – try the smoked port old fashioned or the jalapeño margarita. Skip around the neighborhood to find brutalist concert spot Lincoln Center, countless Jewish delis and the Museum of Natural History.
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    Refinery Hotel

    4.5/5 (985 Reviews)
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    Courtesy of Refinery Hotel / Expedia
    Price Drop
    Now from $261 per night
    This bijou hotel ticks all of the boutique boxes – a great location, walkable from Midtown’s sights and theaters; a sense of place (it’s fashion-themed, in the historic Garment District); and fun creative touches, such as the retro newspaper of hotel info in your room, or live jazz and free wine in the lobby. Rooms are white, wood and leather, with the odd designer’s sketch thrown in – and a small, sheltered rooftop bar with stretches of exposed brick completes the picture.
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    The Michelangelo Hotel

    4.4/5 (1002 Reviews)
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    Courtesy of The Michelangelo Hotel / Expedia
    Price Drop
    Now from $130 per night
    Plum in NYC’s theatreland, close to foodie Hell’s Kitchen, the Michelangelo channels old-school glamour, from the marble and velvet of its lobby to the scarlet and gold upholstery of bar-restaurant The Lounge. Rooms similarly purr with sophistication – polished wood bed-frames, snuggly armchairs and pearly curtains framing the metallic grid of the city. Rooms are on the large side for Manhattan, so there’s no chance of cabin fever here.
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