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BEST 4: VALUE
In perfect lockstep with the iPodifaction of the known world, the former Pickwick Arms has been recently reborn as The Pod (230 E. 51st St., btwn Second & Third Aves.; 800-742-5945; singles $89+, doubles $99+), where accommodations are simple but stylish and savvy. Rooms feature a hip bounty of things you'd never expect to find in this price class: LCD TVs, iPod docking stations, free WiFi access and waterfall showerheads.
Budget-minded hipsters will like Hotel 17 (225 E. 17th St., btwn Second & Third Aves.; 212-475-2845, fax 212-677-8178; singles $89+, doubles $99+), where a tradeoff in creature comforts (the mostly shared-bath accommodations are a tad weathered, albeit passably well kept) is amply compensated for via price, locale (a mere stone's throw from both Gramercy Park and the East Village), and Downtown-cool bragging rights (Madonna once dwelled here; club scene queen Amanda LePore still does).
With its fabulous location smack between East and West in the heart of Greenwich Village, the Washington Square Hotel (103 Waverly Pl., at Washington Square North; 212-777-9515 or 800-222-0418, fax 212-979-8373; singles $165+, doubles $205+) is a solid choice and a great deal, offering 165 small and basic but clean and comfortable rooms. The property is extremely well managed, and has the vibe of a European hotel.
Coyly calling itself "a B&B without the breakfast," East Village Bed & Coffee (110 Ave. C, btwn 7th & 8th Sts.; 212-533-4175 or 917-816-0071, fax 212-979-9743; singles $95+, doubles $110+) is quite possibly the best sleep bargain in town (which indeed, the New York Post recently agreed). It's tucked a bit far down and east for some tastes and the baths are all shared, but for those wanting a clean and very pleasant explore-the-East Village address, this one's hard to match. Book far ahead.
BEST 4: MIDTOWN
St. Regis (see BEST 4: LUXURY)
Trump International (see BEST 4: LUXURY)
The Four Seasons (57 E. 57th St., btwn Park & Madison Aves.; 212-758-5700 or 800-332-3442, fax 212-758-5711; $625+) is on the gilded stretch of East 57th Street, neighboring prestigious art galleries and the world's priciest boutiques. It has a soaring, marble lobby with gargantuan floral displays, and features the minimalist d?cor and very smart service typical of the chain.
The Peninsula (700 Fifth Avenue, at 55th St.; 212-956-2888 or 800-262-9467, fax 212-903-3974; $625+) matches the Four Seasons for service and d?cor, wrapping their hospitality in a less conspicuous package. The interior is a stunning mix of antique and modern, recreating the refined elegant aura of its Hong Kong parent in a more relaxed, less formal atmosphere. The top two floors are home to one of the city's top spas.
Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four | Part Five
New York City: Introduction
New York City: Where to Eat
New York City: Where to Play/Meet
New York City: What to See and Do
New York City: Where to Shop
New York City: Neighborhoods
New York City: Resources