New hotels in New York City give travelers more options, from Manhattan high-rises to boutique stays in Brooklyn

Apr 13, 2022

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This time two years ago, New York City was a different place — and not one I personally hope to ever visit again.

When the pandemic gripped the city in the spring of 2020, the streets fell quiet as people were forced to stay inside and New York’s major tourist destinations, such as Times Square, were emptied of tourists.

Without guests, the city’s hotels closed their doors or became temporary homes to the incredible people who volunteered their expertise as doctors, nurses and other first responders in what was the epicenter of a terrifying pandemic. Other properties became makeshift shelters for people who were forced to isolate themselves from friends and loved ones.

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Thankfully, that time is behind us, and New York City did what it does best: pick itself up, put its best foot forward in the face of adversity and keep moving on stronger than before.

Now, if you step onto Fifth Avenue or walk down the Bowery, the streets are crowded again and the sound of the city is replete with tourists from all corners of the globe looking for a taste of the Big Apple.

But though the City that Never Sleeps essentially came to a stuttering stop, the hospitality industry was quietly working behind the scenes to usher in a new wave of hotels to greet the travelers we all knew would be back. In fact, it’s safe to say that New York is in the midst of another exciting hotel boom, from ultra-luxurious resorts to charming boutique properties and everything in between. These hotels have been opening left and right — or are in the final stages of construction.

“We are feeling bullish about the days ahead as we continue on the road to recovery,” Chris Heywood, executive vice president of global communications at NYC & Company, New York City’s tourism board, told TPG. “Vibrancy has returned, New Yorkers are inspired and the city feels brighter. We project that we will recover nearly 85% of 2019 tourism levels this year, as we anticipate 56.4 million visitors by the end of 2022.”

And for those many, many tourists, hotels across all five boroughs are ready to offer a temporary home in the city’s most iconic and colorful neighborhoods.

“As 2021 wrapped up, the city saw 27 new hotel openings adding nearly 6,000 rooms, including Ace Hotel Brooklyn, Graduate Roosevelt Island, Margaritaville Resort Times Square, Arlo Midtown, Civilian Hotel and Pendry [Manhattan West], to name a few,” said Heywood. “This year, we have an exciting roster of anticipated openings coming online … The active pipeline contains nearly 12,000 rooms expected to open in the next three years.”

To put that in perspective, between 2019 and 2020, only 28 hotels open in New York City. So, despite the pandemic, last year was right on par with 2019. But while the numbers may be smaller than in previous years (60 hotels opened between 2015 and 2016 and 55 between 2017 and 2018) the hotels that have opened, or will soon, are more than simply places to rest at night — they’re reason enough to visit (or revisit) New York City.

Take, for example, the soon-to-open Ritz-Carlton New York, NoMad, which is bringing the elegance of Uptown to the heart of the city between the Empire State Building and Flatiron Building. With 250 rooms, a 6,800-square-foot spa and two restaurants helmed by celebrated chef José Andrés, this Marriott property will offer guests incredible views of the city in every direction — especially from the rooftop bar.

dark hotel bar with sunset views of New York City Skyline
(Photo courtesy of Marriott)

“New York City, and the NoMad neighborhood were hit hard during the pandemic, and it’s incredibly exciting to be a part of the return and expansion, especially in our vibrant local community,” Bastian Germer, the hotel’s general manager who was previously with the nearby Edition hotel, said in an email.

New York City has a resilience that is undeniable, and to see and be a part of this rise is an incredible experience as a hospitality professional.”

Towering above the city and implanting themselves as new fixtures of the skyline, Hudson Yards and Manhattan West are both massive building projects that are rapidly redeveloping the stretch of Manhattan west of Penn Station and Madison Square Garden. While Edge at Hudson Yards, the highest observation deck in the western hemisphere featuring a stomach-dropping glass floor, is a major draw for tourists, the Pendry Manhattan West hotel is the newest star in the area.

“Pendry Manhattan West is part of the evolution of New York City, particularly Manhattan’s new west side,” said Ash Bhasin, the hotel’s general manager, who added that the area is “a much-needed link between the city’s Theater District, the art galleries of Chelsea, the sports and entertainment mecca of Madison Square Garden, and on the horizon the ultimate pedestrian path with the extension of the High Line directly connecting to the Manhattan West plaza.”

(Photo by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy)

High on design (and in price), New York’s first Pendry hotel is a standout property that actually opened in the midst of the pandemic — a feat in and of itself considering what New York went through during the time.

“In opening Pendry Manhattan West at the end of last summer we understood that with the local and federal protocols in place, our guests still wouldn’t have the ‘typical’ hotel experience circa 2019, but our team worked diligently to create a space and an ambiance that would provide our guests with a bit of respite from the outside world,” Bhasin said.

And it worked. So much so that TPG named it one of the best new hotels of 2021.

While tourists were able to visit the exciting new property, locals were also able to take a staycation and experience this new area of their own city. Now, Bar Pendry, the stylish lobby bar, is a popular meeting spot for New Yorkers who were once wary of spending any unnecessary time anywhere near Midtown.

“I believe New Yorkers and visitors alike are excited to explore a new side of the city,” said Bhasin, “and we will continue to nurture that excitement.”

Other exciting Manhattan openings include the long-awaited Aman New York, an ultra-luxe wellness resort that will have a three-story spa with an indoor pool and fire pits (the opening date is, admittedly, a moving target), Six Senses New York, the French-inspired Hotel Barriere Fouquet’s New York, Hard Rock Hotel New York, an outpost of Richard Branson’s Virgin Hotels and the return of Waldorf Astoria.

Aman New York indoor swimming pool
(Image courtesy of Aman)

But New York isn’t just Manhattan, and if you’re planning a proper trip to the city it’s necessary to spend some time in the other boroughs. I’d argue you should actually stay in one (or all of them!) to really understand what makes New York tick. And there are plenty of incredible hotels, old and new, to visit outside of the traditional tourist haven around Times Square and Midtown.

“We’re seeing more brands popping up in neighborhoods across the boroughs such as the Renaissance Hotel brand opening properties in Flushing and Harlem, and Moxy properties opening in Williamsburg and on the Lower East Side,” Heywood told TPG.

Across the East River in Brooklyn, for example, Ace Hotel opened its second New York location in Boerum Hill. A trendy hotel with a stylish lobby, an Instagram-worthy bar and the As You Are restaurant, this Ace outpost is as Brooklyn as it comes.

hotel room with large windows, white bed and multi-color chair
(Photo by Stephen Kent Johnson)

I’ve seen with my own eyes Brooklyn’s mini hotel boom: I saw a Holiday Inn Express pop up outside my previous apartment window in Bushwick, one of the city’s trendiest neighborhoods. It’s not a place I expected to see a Holiday Inn, but it’s proof the demand is there. And after moving to Williamsburg in 2020, I watched from my balcony as a large building across the street grew taller and taller still, only to later realize it was Marriot’s aforementioned Moxy Williamsburg, set to open later this year.

In Queens, the Renaissance New York Flushing Hotel will bring a spa, steakhouse, a whiskey bar and a rooftop deck to the area while a Hotel Indigo is also in the works. And dotting the entire city are plenty of new properties from trusted brands like Residence Inn, Courtyard by Marriott, Aloft and more.

In total, there are at least 54 hotels in the pipeline, according to data from NYC & Company.

“Visitors come to New York City for a variety of reasons — and interest in our hotel scene is one of those reasons,” Heywood said, adding that demand is picking up fast and it’s best to book early. “Hotels are a novelty … and people do visit to see a certain property or have that New York City hotel experience.”

Hotels will always play a vital role in New York City, as both homes away from home for travelers and as community hubs for locals.

And now, with so many new hotels opening across the city, along with the return of Broadway, music festivals, sporting events and concerts, there’s never been a better reason to visit. The only problem is deciding which one to book first.

Featured image courtesy of Marriott.

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