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6 Cool New York City Hotels That Just Beg for Photographs

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By AAA Travel Editor Katie Broome
November 15, 2021
Looking for the best place to stay in New York City for the design-conscious traveler? Luxury hotels across the city offer the chance to live like a local in hip, urban spaces featuring loft-style rooms, rooftop lounges and unique perks. Trade ho-hum amenities for sophisticated spaces and killer views at these AAA recommended Manhattan hotels, perfect for your next NYC vacation and close to all the action.
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Archer Hotel New York

45 W. 38th St.
(212) 719-4100
Nestled in Midtown’s Garment District just steps from Bryant Park and the New York Public Library, this independent boutique offers trendy rooms with a residential feel. Though rooms are quite compact, the AAA Four Diamond hotel makes up for its limited space with floor-to-ceiling windows, industrial-inspired furnishings, gleaming black-and-white subway tiled bathrooms and free Wi-Fi. Locally curated goodies appear at the nightly turndown service, accompanied by a note from “Archer,” the property’s hospitable (and fictional) host. Don’t miss the Spyglass Rooftop Bar where you’ll find unobstructed views of the Empire State Building.
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Arlo NoMad

11 E. 31st St.
(212) 806-7000
Snug meets stylish at this Midtown micro-hotel, where rooms average just 150 square feet. But the AAA Three Diamond property uses clever design tricks to make the most of its limited footprint. Suitcases fit perfectly in an under-bed drawer, custom pegboard closets provide vertical storage space, and a stone-topped vanity doubles as a desk. Large communal spaces like the BARlo second-floor lounge and The Heights rooftop bar offer cozy seating nooks and plenty of Instagram-worthy photo ops. Spring through fall, guests can borrow complimentary bicycles from the front desk.
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Arlo SoHo

231 Hudson St.
(212) 342-7000
The first of the two Arlo hotels in Manhattan, the SoHo location features its characteristic micro-hotel concept, with rooms averaging 150 square feet. Modern, wood-veneered furniture is attractive yet functional—mini fridges are tucked into nightstands, fold-out desks are mounted on the wall and open pegboard closets hold hanging items. Larger rooms include a private outdoor terrace and city views. The AAA inspector notes that “public spaces cleverly shine” at the AAA Three Diamond property; on-site restaurant Harold’s hosts a popular weekend brunch, while the A.L.B. (Arlo Lobby Bar) serves up handcrafted cocktails and small bites.
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Dream Downtown

355 W. 16th St.
(212) 229-2559
Lounging on a sand beach in downtown NYC? It’s possible at Dream Downtown, one of the hippest, most happening luxury hotels in NYC. The AAA Four Diamond property, situated in the Chelsea neighborhood and just a short walk from The High Line and other things to see, dazzles with uber-modern furnishings and unique porthole-shaped windows in guest rooms. But communal gathering places are the real draw here; a glass-bottom pool, rooftop club and underground music lounge extend the party atmosphere late into the night.
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Ink 48 Hotel

653 11th Ave.
(212) 757-0088
Escape the hustle and bustle of most hotels in Midtown NYC with a stay at this residential-style retreat, located in a former printing house at the western edge of Hell’s Kitchen. Spacious rooms offer stunning views of either the Manhattan skyline or the Hudson River (or both, from specialty suites). For a panoramic perspective, head to the hotel’s attractive rooftop oasis The Press Lounge. Complimentary amenities include cruiser bikes and in-room yoga mats.
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Refinery Hotel New York

63 W. 38th St.
(646) 664-0310
Among the most stylish of the Midtown Manhattan hotels, this luxury boutique embraces its former life as a 1920s hat factory and Prohibition-era tearoom with vintage details and repurposed materials. Loft-style rooms are effortlessly trendy, blending industrial features like exposed sprinkler pipes and concrete ceilings with distressed oak floors, antique bronze fixtures and writing desks resembling 19th-century sewing machines. An added perk? Hotel guests receive preferred reservations at the Refinery Rooftop, a restaurant and lounge offering can’t-miss views of the Empire State Building and Manhattan skyline.
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