Wythe Hotel, Brooklyn
Housed in a red-brick former barrel factory built in 1901, the Wythe is easy to spot, with its big red neon sign on the exterior. The brick walls are a feature of the bedrooms, which have a pared-down, casual look. Expect patterned wallpaper, locally made furniture, leather armchairs and excellent views of Manhattan (some rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows). It’s in the Williamsburg part of Brooklyn, just one subway stop from Manhattan, in a lively neighbourhood that’s home to the Brooklyn Brewery (brooklynbrewery.com). The unpretentious restaurant serves simple soups, steaks and and chicken dishes.
Details Doubles are from £175 (001 718 460 8000, wythehotel.com), 80 Wythe Avenue

The New York Edition, Flatiron District
Part of the Edition brand overseen by American hotelier Ian Schrager, this hotel is in the striking Metropolitan Life clock tower, which was designed to look like the campanile in Venice. It dates from 1909 and was once New York’s tallest building, with 41 floors. Now it’s become a 273-room hotel, with minimalist rooms with faux fur rugs on beds and arty black-and-white photographs on the walls. The Clocktower restaurant is run by Jason Atherton — of London’s popular Pollen Street Social — who has introduced dishes such as macaroni and cheese with slow-cooked ox cheek, king crab and brioche thermidor sandwich, and roasted dover sole.
Details Doubles are from £490 (001 212 413 4200,editionhotels.com/new-york), 5 Madison Avenue

The Paper Factory Hotel, Queens
First there was a radio factory (founded in 1922), then a paper factory (which supplied the city’s newspapers), and now the cavernous burgundy and white-coloured building on 36th Street has been converted into a 122-room hotel at great cost: more than $27 million has been spent on the building work. Low-slung beds, reclaimed wood furniture, steel support columns and modern art create an eclectic look in the bedrooms, many of which have tall windows looking out across the hipster streets of Queens. The restaurant/bar is named Mundo and serves Latin-meets-Mediterranean food, with live music events. It’s ten minutes by subway to Manhattan.
Details Doubles are from £160 (001 718 392 7200,paperfactoryhotel.com), 37-06 36th Street

1 Hotel Central Park, Manhattan
Opened in August, this eco hotel is one block from Central Park, with furniture made from reclaimed wood, wardrobe hangers consisting of recycled cardboard, and five-minute egg timers in showers (so guests don’t waste water). Computer tablets in rooms allow you to check how much of a carbon footprint you are creating during your stay. The restaurant serves locally grown and sustainably raised food; it’s headed up by the renowned chef Jonathan Waxman. Rooms come with window seats with throw-cushions and panelled walls.
Details Doubles are from £265 (001 877 288 1111, 1hotels.com), 1414 Avenue of the Americas

20 cool hotels in New York Central Park

Ace Hotel New York, Midtown
Part of the lively Ace Hotel chain — which also has properties in London and Los Angeles — this is a hipster magnet with avant-garde art, lounges with bars and DJs, plus cafés with wi-fi and tables to plug in laptops. It describes itself as being a “hotbed of start-ups, freelancers and people who just want to kick it” (ie, kick back and relax). Rooms have a Manhattan loft style, and they come in seven categories ranging from a tiny room with a bunk bed to a loft suite with vintage furniture, a turntable and a dining table. Even if you don’t stay, the bar is worth a visit; check the website to see which DJs are performing.
Details Doubles are from £170 (001 212 679 2222,acehotel.com/newyork), 20 West 29th Street

Nu Hotel, Brooklyn
Some of the rooms at Nu Hotel, which opened last year, have hammocks as well as beds — so you can literally hang out in New York during your stay. Contemporary local artists have decorated much of the hotel, adding bright murals in rooms, some of them in street-style graffiti. Expect retro furniture (1970s-style chairs), designer lights and the occasional sheepskin rug. The laid-back restaurant-bar Misdemeanor serves burgers and cocktails, and it opens on to the street, creating one of the biggest sidewalk cafés in Brooklyn.
Details Doubles are from £165 (001 718 8528585,nuhotelbrooklyn.com), 85 Smith Street

The Jane Hotel, West Village
Down by the Hudson River in West Village, this 1908 red-brick building once sheltered Titanic survivors and was originally built as a hotel for sailors. Now it is a stylish budget hotel run by the people behind the more upmarket Bowery (theboweryhotel.com) and the Maritime (themaritimehotel.com). There’s a slightly unusual arrangement as many of the cheapest rooms (called “cabins”), have communal bathrooms down the hall. However, if you opt for a Captain’s Cabin, you get an en suite bathroom. The look throughout is eclectic but warm, with wood panels, Chesterfield sofas and patterned old-fashioned wallpaper.
Details Standard cabins are from £63 or Captain’s Cabins are from £146 (001 212 924 6700, thejanenyc.com), 113 Jane Street

The Standard High Line, Meatpacking District
Soaring above a former elevated train track — from where the hotel gets its name — the Standard High Line is an eye-catching, relatively new addition to New York’s Meatpacking District (the tall building was completed in 2009). It’s the brainchild of the hotelier André Balazs, who also runs the Mercer hotel in the Big Apple (mercerhotel.com), Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles (chateaumarmont.com) and London’s hip Chiltern Firehouse (chilternfirehouse.com). All of the 338 sleek, minimalist rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows with views of either the Hudson river or the city. There are several restaurants (including the Standard grill-steakhouse, and a pizzeria), plus a German-style biergarten serving sausages and pretzels. Take a stroll along the old high line, which is now a popular park.
Details Doubles are from £300 (001 212 645 4646K,standardhotels.com/high-line), 848 Washington Street

Roger Smith Hotel, Midtown
Former guests at the Roger Smith, a few blocks north of Grand Central Station, include the late Kurt Cobain, who stayed when performing with Nirvana in New York. It’s a family-owned hotel with 138 smart rooms spread over 16 floors. Henry’s Rooftop Bar, open during summer months, is a popular in-the-know spot for a drink, with a tucked-away terrace that’s lit by candles by night. There’s also the lively downstairs Lily’s Bar & Lounge, which serves cocktails. Both are open to non-guests. There is no restaurant, but there are many good nearby places for a burger such as the Ginger Man (gingerman-ny.com) and the Galway (galwaypubnyc.com).
Details Doubles are from about £175 (001 212 755 1400,rogersmith.com), 501 Lexington Avenue

Aloft Harlem
Jazz musicians and DJs bring alive the popular bar at this decent-value hotel, a short walk from Harlem’s famous Apollo Theater, where the likes of Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, the Jackson Five and Jay-Z have played over the years (you can book tours of the theatre: apollotheater.org). Bedrooms are colourful, with pictures of vinyl record players on the walls, retro furniture and Bliss Spa products in bathrooms. There’s a room with a purple-baize pool table, which is free to use. Aloft Harlem is close to the 125th Street subway station and it’s a quick journey to Central Park and Times Square.
Details Doubles are from about £160 (001 212 749 4000,aloftharlem.com), 2296 Frederick Douglass Boulevard

20 cool hotels in New York Nu Hotel Brooklyn
Sanctuary Hotel, Midtown
The Sanctuary has an ostentatious nightclub style with chandeliers, black lacquer walls, pink neon lights in Tender, its signature restaurant-bar, where steaks and sushi are served. There’s also a polished-brass cocktail bar and a rooftop terrace. The lighting throughout is subdued, and gas fires keep corners of side lounges warm. Rooms have padded tan leather headboards, chandeliers and minibars with champagne.
Details Doubles are from about £190 (001 212 234 7000,sanctuaryhotelnyc.com), 132 West 47th Street

Gansevoort Park Avenue, Meatpacking District
The highlight of the sleek, chic Gansevoort is its great little rooftop pool, which is heated year round and has views across Manhattan. The hotel also has a popular nightclub, the Provocateur, with leather booths, chandeliers with disco balls attached, and a line-up of world-renowned DJs. Meanwhile, a small spa offers facials and massages, and personal instructors can be hired to oversee workouts in the gym. Add to all of this two restaurants — one in an American diner style and the other offering light Mediterranean food — plus a cool lobby bar with a pool table, and the Gansevoort has a lot to offer. Rooms are minimalist and bathrooms have L’Occitane products.
Details Doubles are from about £225 (001 212 206 6700,gansevoorthotelgroup.com), 18 Ninth Avenue

Andaz 5th Avenue, Midtown
Opposite the New York Public Library and bang in the centre of the shopping heaven that is 5th Avenue, the Andaz’s Midtown location is hard to beat. It’s a stylish city base too, with 14-foot murals downstairs, and 184 rooms done out in typical Manhattan loft style. It’s chic and minimalist but sometimes comfort is ignored in the name of style: chair seats of string cry out not to be sat on, and some cupboards are so high up you can’t reach them. But we love the informality of this hotel, which has complimentary wi-fi and a non-alcoholic minibar with snacks, as well as the nice touch of free wine from 6pm-7pm and coffee from 6am-11am.
Details Doubles cost from £313 a night (001 212 601 1234,newyork.5thavenue.andaz.hyatt.com), 485 5th Avenue

The Kitano, Midtown
This is tennis player Maria Sharapova’s pick for a quiet hideaway in Midtown, not far from the façade of Grand Central station. The Kitano has Japanese owners and there is, naturally, a Japanese restaurant — the Hakubai, which has a strong following and serves some of the city’s best sushi, sashimi, tempura and kobe beef, prepared by head chef Yukihiro Sato. Set menus range from $100 to $190 a head. There’s also a high-class jazz club-bar offering burgers and sushi. Neutral colours pervade in the smart, well-appointed bedrooms.
Details Doubles are from about £260 (001 212 885 7000,kitano.com), 66 Park Avenue

Sixty Les, Lower East Side
Sixty Les is another Manhattan hotel with a rooftop pool, but this one has a difference: an unusual pattern on the pool’s bottom depicting the artist Andy Warhol. The owners pitch it as a “scene and be seen” pool terrace, which is connected to a cocktail bar and a sushi restaurant. A spa offers massages. Rooms have low-slung, oriental-style beds and are decorated with Jackson Pollock-style art. The ceiling-to-floor windows offer good city views. The “Les” in the hotel’s name refers to its location in Lower East Side. It also has a sister hotel in New York’s Soho district.
Details Doubles are from about £175 (001 877 460 8888,sixtyhotels.com), 190 Allen Street

Baccarat Hotel, Midtown
Classical sculptures, chandeliers, great bouquets of red roses in crystal vases . . . for a theatrical, OTT stay in the Big Apple head for Baccarat, which is housed in a splendid glass-box building by the renowned designers Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. Across the street from the Museum of Modern Art (moma.org), Baccarat is an ostentatious hotspot — perfect for luvvies — with a white-washed minimalist look throughout. Rooms, referred to as les chambres, come with four-poster beds and red-lacquered minibars. In keeping with Baccarat’s French crystal-making background, wine is served in the finest crystal glasses at its lavish ruby-red restaurant and bar.
Details Doubles are from about £580 (001 212 790 8800,baccarathotels.com), 28 West 53rd Street

20 cool hotels in New York Viceroy NY Midtown

Dylan Hotel, Midtown
Right next to Grand Central station, the Dylan has a no-nonsense approach with modern art and a pared-down style. It’s in a venerable, 1903 Beaux-Arts building that was once home to the Chemists’ Club of New York (the name remains inscribed above the hotel entrance). There are 107 rooms in the 16-storey building, with oatmeal carpets, whitewashed walls and either blue or red bedcovers, adding colour to the minimalist feel. Enjoy a meal at its Benjamin Steakhouse, with its high ceilings and relaxed atmosphere. During your stay, make sure to take one of the interesting tours of Grand Central station led by the Municipal Art Society of New York ($20,grandcentralterminal.com).
Details Doubles are from about £100 (001 212 338 0500,dylanhotel.com), 52 East 41st Street

Viceroy New York, Midtown
Music in the rooms at the Viceroy is played through Beats by Dr Dre sound systems — so you can listen to your favourite hip-hop tracks in appropriate fashion, looking out across the skyscapers of Midtown or towards Central Park. Rooms have varnished wood fittings and navy-blue curtains and carpets; the look is reminiscent of the interior of a high-class, old-fashioned yacht. The Kingside restaurant has a classic American diner vibe, with dishes including burgers, steaks, lobster on toast, oysters and poached tuna. Cocktails and craft beers are served at the cool rooftop bar, which is open until 4am.
Details Doubles are from about £245 (001 212 830 8000,viceroyhotelsandresorts.com/en/newyork), 120 West 57th Street

Boro Hotel, Long Island City
Just two subway stops from 57th Street, the new Boro Hotel is not as far from the Manhattan action as it may seem. The hotel’s neighbourhood is also home to a selection of well-regarded restaurants and has a relaxed vibe compared to the bustle at the heart of Manhattan; Casa Enrique, the city’s only Michelin-star Mexican restaurant, is a short stroll away (henrinyc.com). Boro’s overall look is industrial chic, with concrete walls, modern art, blonde-wood floors and retro chairs. Rooms have low-slung beds. A café serves simple dishes and there’s a hip rooftop bar with 360-degree views.
Details Doubles are from about £130 (001 718 433 1375,borohotel.com), 28-38 27th Street

Hotel Hugo, SoHo
In a quiet corner of SoHo, this 20-storey hotel has an art deco interior. You enter a marble-floored reception with shiny, well-polished walnut walls and comfy leather armchairs. Beyond is Il Principe, an Italian restaurant serving clam languine, lasagna, steaks and “lobster with winter truffle” (on the current menu). The 20th storey is home to two rooftop bars including one with a Cuban theme that serves light bites such as grilled-fish tacos and guacamole with nachos. Both have great views of the Hudson River. Rooms are slick with arty pictures of New York scenes and designer lights.
Details Doubles are from about £200 (001 212 608 4848,hotelhugony.com), 525 Greenwich Street

20 cool hotels in New York Hotel Hugo