New York: air bnb vs cheap hotel?
January 18, 2015 5:39 PM   Subscribe

I and my partner will be in NYC for about a week in a couple of months, and we're looking at our accommodation options now. We're leaning towards finding a place through air bnb because they look really nice and we've heard good things through friends, but we've also found some hotels in Manhattan that are a cheaper option, and we're not sure which way to go.

We're looking for some perspective either from a local or from someone who's visited recently: would you recommend cheap hotels in or around NYC or do they have a bad reputation? I remember the bedbug scare from a few years ago!

Is it worth staying in the suburbs and commuting in or would we be wasting a lot of time on public transport?
posted by Silentgoldfish to Travel & Transportation around New York, NY (14 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
AirBNB in New York is pretty unreliable. Lots of renters flaking or being shut down. Plus it may be illegal soon. That said my family has used it when they came to visit me in my neighborhood in queens over the summer and it worked great for them renting an entire apartment. If you go for a room rental in an outer borough make sure it's in a decent place to stay in its own right and that the public transport is a Subway train that goes directly to the things you want to experience the most.

Do not stay in jersey. Too far/complicated. In my opinion.

For Hotels in New York there is no gaming the system as far as I can tell. Your best bet might be a hotel in Long Island City somewhere as long as you can handle 10 minutes of walking from a train through a slightly sketchy area.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 5:48 PM on January 18, 2015 [1 favorite]

What do you consider cheap? Because there are some REAL fleabags in Manhattan.

If you need decent accommodation check out the New York Loft Hostel in Brooklyn. It gets good reviews on Trip Advisor.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 5:54 PM on January 18, 2015 [2 favorites]

There are also moral issues about renting from AirBNB hurting the housing market in New York even more so than other cities. I would read up about it here before choosing to go that route.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 5:55 PM on January 18, 2015 [8 favorites]

Partner and I recently went to NYC and chose Airbnb over hotel in Manhattan. We ended up saving money overall because I was able to prepare small meals and coffee in the apt and didn't have to pay extra for things like wifi. Plus, it was less expensive than the hotels I had been looking at in the same area. It also was a far more pleasant home base. I picked a place that had a lot of good reviews and the owner was responsive and professional. He also lived there when not renting, so it had all the comforts of home.
posted by quince at 6:17 PM on January 18, 2015 [1 favorite]

You can also look at subletting a place that's NOT through AirBnB.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:19 PM on January 18, 2015 [1 favorite]

When I have needed a place in NY, I have gone through Hotwire or Priceline.
posted by kat518 at 6:36 PM on January 18, 2015 [2 favorites]

The big plus to something like Air BnB for New York is that you'll have your choice of interesting neighborhoods, whereas most of the affordable hotels are around Times Square. Which is the least charming part of town.
posted by Sara C. at 6:46 PM on January 18, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: What will you be doing there? There are benefits to both.
1) Mostly business, conference, touristy stuff and cultural stuff in Manhattan? Accommodation in Manhattan will be pretty convenient, and you can swing home for a quick nap or clothing change before dinner or theatre shows. It can be tiring to be out all day long doing stuff in museums, then take the train all the way back to Brooklyn to drop stuff off or change, then take the subway all the way back for evening cultural/musical events.

2) If you're more into walking around little neighborhoods, eating at cooler places, quirkier activities, etc., then I think Airbnb in Brooklyn (Park Slope, Williamsburg, Downtown Brooklyn etc.) can be AWESOME and very convenient. I love the cultural events, shopping, cafe culture, neighborhoods in Brooklyn and for me it's such a fun place to be.

Don't stay in Jersey City or Hoboken or whatever. It's too far and not the NYC you're making such a special trip out for!

The key to Airbnb: pick a place with tons of great reviews, with a host who communicates well, and doesn't have any cancellations on their review list.

Another option: if you're there for a full week, you could do the first 3-4 nights in Manhattan, then the next 3-4 nights in Brooklyn. You could do your Broadway / Manhattan museums in the first half, and then save up things like PS 1, BAM, wandering around Williamsburg, Red Hook, Brooklyn, Greenpoint etc., for the second part of your trip.
posted by barnone at 7:00 PM on January 18, 2015

I know people who have stayed here and loved it. They had a room with a kitchenette. All the positives of an air b&b without the sketchiness.
posted by munichmaiden at 7:09 PM on January 18, 2015 [9 favorites]

In my experience, cheap hotels in Manhattan are pretty bad. But I'm kind of a hotel snob, so my opinion may not match yours. On the other hand, I also personally feel pretty uncomfortable with Air BnB. Faced with those two options, I'd likely either look for accommodations somewhere further out, or figure out a way to adjust the budget to allow for a better Manhattan hotel. YMMV.
posted by primethyme at 7:30 PM on January 18, 2015

If you want a direct recommendation for a perfect place in the heart of Manhattan, here you go.
posted by dbiedny at 8:25 PM on January 18, 2015 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I've stayed in about a dozen airbnb places at this point, including several in NYC (and I lived in NYC for a decade).

Particularly if you're looking in a moderate range (which you clearly are if you're finding any hotels in Manhattan to be cheaper), you'll be fine with airbnb in NYC. The cheapest ones ($40-60/night) frequently have issues, but if you're going up to even the $80-90/night range you will find MUCH nicer airbnbs than hotel rooms for the same money.

Needless to say, only consider places with many reviews.
posted by kalapierson at 12:16 AM on January 19, 2015

(Also strongly second barnone's suggestion that you consider splitting the week between two different places based on neighborhoods & stuff you want to see -- I did this for a week in SF and it was fantastic, saving both money and transit time.)
posted by kalapierson at 12:22 AM on January 19, 2015

When I have needed a place in NY, I have gone through Hotwire or Priceline.

This is what I do too. I've always gotten decent, reputable places. You can check out to see what hotels/rates others have gotten - it's really helpful!
posted by SisterHavana at 1:40 AM on January 20, 2015

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