Whether you’re visiting New York for the first time or the 50th, you’ll need a good place for your home base. Many travelers are now opting for home-sharing arrangements such as Airbnb instead of a hotel when they vacation.
So, what’s the best option for you? Read on to figure out how to choose your accommodations -- because while you’ll be in the city that never sleeps, you’ll eventually need to snooze, and you’ll want to make sure you’re as comfortable as possible when you do!
Why Choose A New York City Hotel
There’s a certain level of security that comes with booking a hotel -- be it a large chain or smaller, homier boutique. From the time you check in, you’ll know exactly what to expect, the level of service provided, and the amenities available. And if it’s your first time visiting the Big Apple, a good concierge could make all the difference in your trip: helping you book theater tickets, scoring you dinner reservations, answering transportation questions, and giving you insider tips and tricks.
From the fabulous, iconic Plaza or St. Regis to the Crosby Street Hotel and The High Line, there are luxe options all over town that will keep you in the ever-beating heart of New York: Manhattan. Another bonus: Many hotels located in Manhattan offer spa and room service, which are perfect to indulge in after a long day of sightseeing, walking, and shopping.
Undoubtedly, there is also the safety factor to consider. No matter how many times we’ve stayed in an Airbnb, there’s always the lurking anxiety leading up to the trip that the host could cancel at the last minute, or that the property isn’t as advertised.
You also need to think about the sheer size and scope of New York City: It’s enormous! Unless you’re planning to venture out to one of the neighboring boroughs for a specific reason, a hotel in Manhattan might well be your best bet to avoid long subway schleps or exorbitant cab or Uber tabs.
Why Choose A New York City Airbnb
Great hotel lodgings in Manhattan can be expensive, and that’s where Airbnb might come into play as an option. Airbnb offerings might be cheaper, and you might end up with far more space than you’d have in a standard hotel room. With a bit of planning ahead of time, an Airbnb or other home-sharing option can be a terrific solution.
Airbnbs can also be great if you’re going to be in New York for an extended period of time. They will offer a homier feel, and most rentals will feature kitchens, which will free you up to self-cater. This can really stretch your vacation-budget dollar. If you’re a self-reliant, independent traveler who doesn’t need a lot of luxe, perks, or direction on the go, an NYC Airbnb can be a terrific alternative to a hotel.
But make sure to read the fine print! If privacy is important to you, you’ll want to be absolutely sure you are getting the entire space, not just a private room. (Sorting by “Type of place” and “Entire place” is essential here.) If you opt for a cheaper private room, it will likely mean you’re sharing the space with the renter or homeowner, something you’ll need to square with your own needs and expectations when it comes to comfort and security.
A quick search of Airbnb homes available in Manhattan shows some private lofts and apartments in a variety of neighborhoods, but they are fairly limited. You’ll find more options further afield in other boroughs. But again, factor in transportation time to the city’s most iconic sights, most of which are in Manhattan, and know that it can easily take an hour to travel from Brooklyn to Manhattan on the subway.
Also: Check the property’s ratings. Once you review those -- and the property’s pictures -- you should feel free to reach out to the homeowner via Airbnb to ask any questions you might have before you book. And make sure you review the property’s cancelation policies, both for the homeowner and yourself.
New York City is a terrific place to visit any time of year. There is always hustle, bustle, and magic in the air. And of course, being one of the world’s top tourist destinations, there are plenty of places to stay. Choosing the one that works best for you is all about your comfort level and how you want to spend your time and money.
Headed to NYC for the first time? Read up on these 25 things to expect when visiting New York City for the first time, plus all the things New Yorkers reveal travelers need to know about transportation in the city.