surf globally, pour locally, drink responsibly
September 2013

Where to Stay in NYC: Independent Hotels
By Sara Kay

Blue Bar @ The Famed Algonquin Hotel, New York

If you’re at all familiar with the makeup of NYC, you know that it is full of big time names. Big restaurants, big business, big celebrities. What can we say? We like it big.

Another element of this city that tends to be quite big is the hotel industry. Some of the most gargantuan and stunning hotels have some incredibly valuable real estate in the big apple, most of which are booked solid every night and weekend of the year. With all of this big we raise a valid question; what about the little guy?

Small and independent hotels make up a great deal of the overall industry, making for a more intimate and sometimes better stay in the city. Does this mean that the big name hotels don’t offer a fantastic New York experience? Not at all. However, this city is full of little bits and pieces that are unique and full of history and culture, making those big guys seem not nearly as cool.

If you happen to be passing through this lovely city of ours, try booking a night or two at one of these independent hotels. A visit to the big apple should be full of new and rich experiences, so why not start with where you’re waking up?

NU Hotel Brooklyn
85 Smith Street

Brooklyn has seen an incredible transformation over the last decade in terms of style, trendiness and general urban funkiness, and that is more than reflected at the NU hotel in Cobble Hill. Close to some of the cooler neighborhoods in Brooklyn, including Carroll Gardens, Boerum Hill and Park Slope, NU Hotel offers up the borough itself as its most impressive amenity. The Brooklyn Fitness & Wellness Program offers visitors complimentary cruiser bikes to tour the area on two wheels, as well as Tuesday morning runs across the Brooklyn Bridge with the general manager. The guest rooms even speak to the artistry of Brooklyn, with each room being designed by local artists. If you’re looking for as much of a Brooklyn experience as possible in the short time you may be visiting, NU Hotel is the place to stay.

The Iroquois
49 West 44th Street

A New York City staple that laid down its first bricks in 1899, The Iroquois has seen an incredible transformation over the last century, making for not only a comfortable hotel stay, but an educational one as well. Before it became strictly a hotel, it was a hotel and apartment building, meaning that there were visitors that came and went as well as permanent tenants, including the likes of James Dean and many a Broadway actor and actress. It may not offer the same permanent amenities that it used to, but the in-house library, famed restaurant and refurbished lobby will certainly make you feel at home.

The Algonquin
59 West 44th Street

The size and location of The Algonquin may seem a bit intimidating to the traveler who is looking for a quiet stay in the city, but don’t let the flashing lights of Times Square scare you away. The Algonquin has been sitting pretty in the Theater District of Manhattan for over 100 years, and has been serving its visitors quite well ever since it was first opened in 1902. If a theatrical city experience is what you’re looking for, book your next stay at The Algonquin. Frank Case, the original owner of The Algonquin, hoped to make this hotel a theatrical and literary go-to for visitors and natives alike, and to this day it is still a remarkable place to get a feel for old New York as well as the new.

Hotel Giraffe
365 Park Avenue South

Located just a few blocks south of the Deauville, Hotel Giraffe is a beautiful boutique hotel that offers all of the amenities of a big name hotel without all of the fuss. The architecture is modeled after the Art Modern period that has set “NoMad” apart from the rest of the city. While the interior of the hotel is beautiful and enough to sell a weekend stay to just about anybody, Hotel Giraffe also has some pretty classy amenities to give visitors a city experience without a bar tab to pay at the end. If a night on the town isn’t in the cards for one of your night stays, a wine and cheese reception that takes place every evening from 5pm-8pm, complete with live piano music on weeknights.

Hotel Deauville
103 East 29th Street

This European-inspired hotel in the historic Murray Hill neighborhood of Manhattan has a lot to offer in terms of putting visitors in the thick of the city. Located just blocks away from the Empire State Building, Madison Square Park and plenty of other notable city landmarks, Hotel Deauville is an excellent little spot to hang your hat at for a visit. The family-owned hotel has 54 rooms inside an elegant brownstone, fully equipped with spacious rooms and a hand-crank elevator. If a quaint and memorable hotel experience with just a hint of Euro-charm in the heart of the city is what you’re looking for, Hotel Deauville is the perfect spot.

Blue Moon Hotel
100 Orchard Street

Many visitors to New York City come to see the sights or take in a show, while others are here strictly for the artistry and insist on visiting as many art museums as possible. At the Blue Moon Hotel, you are able to kill the proverbial two birds with one stone, as the hotel is not only in the heart of the Lower East Side with access to eclectic neighborhoods like the East Village, SoHo and the Financial District, but it is also an art preservation and design project. A 19th century tenement building formerly occupied by immigrants and factory workers, the Blue Moon Hotel has preserved much of the historical integrity of the building, making for a memorable, museum-like experience just by walking through the doors.

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