When you visit New York, you make hard choices. There are a lot of good restaurants, there are a lot of good bars, and there are a lot of good hotels. And the problem with choosing a hotel is that you usually only choose one. Limiting your options to boutique hotels in NYC might simplify the decision, particularly if you’re seeking an intimate, upscale stay that’s not only for out-of-towners. Plus, boutique hotels were practically invented here. Typically with 120 rooms or fewer, and characterized by strong, focused design identities, boutique hotels sprung up in the 1980s. The phenom is widely credited to Studio 64’s Ian Schrager, whose scene-y, since-closed Morgans Hotel in Midtown is unofficially considered the first boutique hotel in the world.
Now, everything old is new again. As Condé Nast Traveler spotlighted in its December 2022 issue, New York City’s hotel scene is fresh off a splash of exciting openings—and boutique hotels feature heavily. The writer, Tony Perrottet, posits that the wave of properties emerging from the pandemic reflects travelers’ increased needs for space and tranquility, while also serving their desire to be tapped into a scene. Boutique hotels check all of these boxes. The new Fouquet’s, Nine Orchard, and reopened Hotel Chelsea, all featured below, are just a few examples.
If one of these 19 hotels suits your fancy, you can use this page to book a stay through Skylark. Skylark works exclusively with a curated group of luxury hotels around the world and ensures the quality of your trip, offering extra perks like room upgrades or resort credits, insider deals, advice, and 24/7 support. Read on to learn more about the best boutique hotels in NYC, or jump straight to the area you’d like to stay in.
Upper Manhattan: The Lowell | Midtown: The Chatwal | High Line Hotel | Hotel Chelsea | The Whitby Hotel | Queens: Boro Hotel | Lower Manhattan: The Bowery Hotel | The Beekman | Crosby Street Hotel | Fouquet’s New York | Greenwich Hotel | Hotel Hugo | The Mercer | ModernHaus Soho | Mr. C Seaport | Nine Orchard | Soho House | Walker Hotel, Greenwich Village | Brooklyn: The Wythe Hotel
What is the best area to stay in New York City?
Midtown and downtown are the most popular and convenient areas for travelers bopping around Manhattan. Midtown is best for first-time visitors because of its central location and proximity to tourist attractions like Times Square, the Empire State Building, The Met, and Central Park, while downtown is great for nightlife, top restaurants, and a more local experience. Brooklyn is a good choice for visitors who have seen the Manhattan highlights and are looking to explore neighborhoods with cool restaurants, bars, and shopping.
What makes boutique hotels special?
Boutique hotels are beloved for their strong character, intimate scale, and general cool factor. Their food and beverage programs are often a special focus, too, and can be destinations in and of themselves.
Is NoMad New York closed?
The NoMad Hotel sadly closed in 2020 due to the pandemic, but in its former space, the new Ned NoMad just opened, backed by Soho House parent company Membership Collective Group. The Ned shows promise to be a stalwart NYC hotel, like its predecessor.
The vibe: Petite, personal, unflashy
Location: Upper East Side
Top amenities: 300-thread-count Frette sheets, fresh flowers by your bed, in-room fireplaces
Best for: A trip to the city with an upscale, residential feel
At the Lowell, where the bathrooms are marble, the service is discreet, and the flower centerpieces probably cost more than your outfit, five-star hospitality is tasteful and low-key. The timeless restaurant Majorelle explodes with flower arrangements and serves French and Moroccan Cuisine. A block away from Central Park, the hotel’s location on East 63rd Street is like a snapshot from a New York City postcard. The 74-room hotel is focused, forgoing extras like a spa.
The vibe: Theater District haunt
Location: Times Square
Top amenities: Infinity saltwater lap pool, personal butler services on request, wellness center, pets allowed
Best for: Being in the middle of the action—while getting to escape it at a moment’s notice
In the heart of Midtown’s Theater District, the Chatwal is a sleek, luxury boutique hotel with an Art Deco aesthetic. The 76 rooms, inspired by early 20th century travel, feature custom furniture designed by Despont, suede upholstered walls, tinted floor-to-ceiling mirrors, rain showers, and in-room wardrobes and vanities that evoke vintage luggage. Historically, the building was the Lamb’s Club—a social club for New York City’s theater crowd that originated in 1874. Now, the hotel has an 80-seat restaurant of the same name.
High Line Hotel
The vibe: Tiny, special, nostalgic
Top amenities: Intelligentsia coffee bar, gem of a private garden, oversized beds, locally sourced furniture
Best for: A birthday weekend, a city staycation
The sixty-room High Line Hotel is a slice of the past within Chelsea’s of-the-moment gallery district—the gothic red brick building it occupies was a cloistered Collegiate Gothic Seminary built in 1895, and where Clement C Moore penned The Night Before Christmas. Rooms look out onto the city’s decade-old elevated park, the High Line, and are outfitted estate-style, with gothic moldings, hardwood floors, and antiques. Guests are encouraged to borrow the hotel’s bicycles to get around.
The Hotel Chelsea
The vibe: Former playground of Andy Warhol and the Factory
Top amenities: Legendary El Quijote restaurant, lobby bar, marble bathroom, rainfall shower, select rooms with soaking tubs and balconies
Best for: Wishing you were there, then