New York City: A Travel Guide for Savvy Philadelphians

Because we’re not exactly tourists, are we?

Where to Stay

Find the right vibe, the right price and the right crowd.
For Central Park Opulence
The Plaza Hotel

The Plaza Hotel. Photo by Susanne Kremer

Book At: The Plaza, 768 Fifth Avenue, 212-759-3000
Why: A veritable United Nations of chic guests enjoys Old New York grandeur with New New York amenities. With three bars, two European-style food halls, luxury shops and a spa, the Plaza makes it deliciously difficult to leave the confines. And that’s only the public spaces. The rooms have been exquisitely redone to feel fresh and new, but still elegant and as storied as the hotel itself.
Get there: Twenty minutes by taxi or Uber from Penn Station. Valet parking is available for $65 per night.
Price: Rooms from $595 to $795 a night; suites from $1,095 to $30,000.

For Upper-East-Side Class

Book At: The Surrey, 20 East 76th Street, 212-288-3700
Why: The Surrey — all polished marble and Art Deco design — may be best defined by its famous women, like former guest Bette Davis and Coco Chanel, upon whose aesthetic the stylish hotel bar and lounge is based. This exclusivity comes without snobbery and has a modern kick: The mattresses are Duxiana, the in-room dining is from chef Daniel Boulud, and dogs (which are welcome) are treated like little royals.
Get There: From Penn Station, take a cab or Uber. If you drive, you can park across the street for $59 a day.
Price: Rooms range from $450 to around $1,500 a night … and up from there.

For a Roomy Side of Downtown

Book At: Conrad New York, 102 North End Avenue, 212-945-0100
Why: The towering atrium-like lobby may give off a cruise-ship vibe, but from there the Conrad is all comfortable and stylish — an artsy home base in the rather sterile Financial District. All of the options here are spacious two-room suites, making it an ideal choice if you require a little more breathing room or have the family in tow. (The west-facing rooms have stunning views of the Hudson at sunset.) It’s a quick walk to some can’t-miss sights, like the 9/11 Memorial Museum, the well-kept Battery Park area, SoHo and the Brooklyn Bridge.
Get There: It’s less than a 10-minutewalk from the Chambers Street subway stop, and a few blocks from the Holland Tunnel — although parking is $65 a day.
Price: $269 to $1,200 a night.

For a Reason to Stay in Midtown
Ace Hotel

Ace Hotel. Photo by Douglas Lyle Thompson

Book At: Ace Hotel, 20 West 29th Street, 212-679-2222
Why: The Ace ushered in a new era in hotel design with its turn-of-the-century beards-and-frames vibe, and is easily the coolest spot you’ve ever stayed in. The rooms aren’t huge (unless you opt for a “loft suite”), but the furnishings (platform bed, flannel cover, found mirrors, guitars) will make you forget you’re in a hotel in the first place. Of course, with a lobby like the Ace’s — where locals, fueled by Stumptown coffee and fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches from the Breslin, camp out for hours — you won’t want to be upstairs anyway.
Get There: It’s a 10-minute walk from Penn Station.
Price: $279 to $899 a night.

For a Laid-Back Brooklyn

Book At: NU Hotel, 85 Smith Street, 718-852-8585
Why: You came to Brooklyn because it’s rumored to be the epicenter of every trend ever; thankfully, at NU Hotel the hipsters are friendly, the look is airy, and the vibe is only slightly ironic. This boutique hotel from the Shah brothers — yes, the same Shahs who own the Rittenhouse Hotel — has some particularly witty amenities, like bathrooms with chalkboard walls, free loaner bikes, a baby concierge,and a suite with a hammock. (Don’t worry, there’s a bed, too.)
Get There: Park in the lot adjacent to the hotel for $25 a day.
Price: $179 to $499 a night.

For a Quiet Corner of SoHo

Book At: The James, 27 Grand Street, 212-465-2000
Why: The location of this light-filled, intimate downtown hotel couldn’t be better — just steps from SoHo’s world-class shopping and eateries and blocks from the hippest neighborhoods (East Village, TriBeCa). The corner rooms at the end of the hall have the most space, but all rooms have a glassed-in bathroom (with a clever shade for the more modest), dreamy beds and free wi-fi. David Burke has a subterranean eatery for a tasty breakfast.
Get There: The subway entrance is across the street, or take the Holland Tunnel.
Price: $256 to $799 a night.

For Thrifty Midtown Trend-Seekers

Book At: Yotel, 570 10th Avenue, 646-449-7700
Why: There are neon colors, room “cabins,” a luggage-storing robot and a buzzy aura at this thrifty and quirky Euro-import hotel. You’ll check in through a Wawa-like self-serve terminal and shoot up to your room, which — having been inspired by Japanese capsule hotels — is efficient but also comfortable. The couch converts into a bed with the push of a button, although there are options with a queen bed and a lofted bunk to squeeze in that third person, or a deluxe cabin with a hot tub on the balcony.
Get There: This Times Square hotel is a quick cab, Uber or subway ride or walk from Penn Station and the bus terminal.
Price: $129 to $599 a night.