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Nu Hotel / Hersha Hospitality (Gridley+Graves Photographers/Gridley+Graves Photographers)
Nu Hotel / Hersha Hospitality (Gridley+Graves Photographers/Gridley+Graves Photographers)

It's cheaper to stay outside Manhattan - what are the best borough hotels? Add to ...

The Question: I’ve heard that staying in hotels outside Manhattan is a great way to save money. What are the best borough hotels?

You’re on to something. In the past six years, more than 40 per cent of new hotels opened in boroughs beyond Manhattan: We’re talking Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx and Staten Island.

In Long Island City, a neighbourhood of Queens, for instance, the Z New York Hotel ( zhotelny.com) switched on its lobby lights this summer. The property mingles retro-themed travel (its front desk is constructed of steamer trunks) with modern style; Times Square is a 20-minute subway ride away. Meanwhile, Wyndham Garden Inn Long Island City ( wyndham.com), with its views of Manhattan and a colour scheme meant to evoke Gotham at dusk, is slated to open on Jan. 31.

But it’s Brookyln that has swiped the most hotel keys, says Lisa Ritchie, editor of the upcoming edition of The Time Out New York Guide ( timeoutnewyork.com). And it isn’t just cheap sleeps drawing travellers.

“Brooklyn … is a destination in itself these days,” Ritchie says. “Williamsburg, for example, is an essential stop for cool hunters under 40. Increasingly, Manhattanites are crossing the river for a night out because of the great bars, restaurants and adventurous arts scene.”

Some properties to consider:

  • The Aloft Brooklyn ( alofthotels.com), part of the W Hotels’ budget-boutique line, opened in June, revealing tech-savvy rooms and a lobby decked out with egg-shaped chairs. “[It’s] about a 25-minute subway ride from Times Square – and a short walk from the borough’s premier performing arts complex, Brooklyn Academy of Music,” Ritchie says.
  • The NU Hotel ( nuhotelbrooklyn.com), located near the leafy family friendly districts of Boerum Hill and Cobble Hill, is also an easy commute to Manhattan. The hotel mixes it up with bunk beds and hammocks and offers guests the use of iPads and bikes.
  • And the boutique Hotel Williamsburg ( hwbrooklyn.com), with its in-room record players and rooftop bar, just opened its doors. “While not exactly cheap,” Ritchie says, “[it]will set you back less than similar Manhattan properties.”
  • If you’re looking for deals, she suggests the New York Loft Hostel ( nylofthostel.com). Located in Bushwick, an artsy area near Williamsburg, the converted warehouse features dorm-style bunk beds, as well as private rooms, and is within walking distance of Roberta’s, a popular pizzeria.

Wherever you sleep, know that the subway in New York runs around the clock, so Manhattan is just a ride away.

Send your travel questions to concierge@globeandmail.com.

Follow Karan Smith on Twitter: @karan_smith.

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