As youre probably well aware, New York is more popular than its been in decades. On one hand, thats terrific: Its a reflection of how well the citys doing, and how well its projecting that positive image to the rest of the world. The city feels vital and self-assured; you can practically feel the excitement and energy as you walk down the street.

Now the downside: With increased demand comes higher prices--Economics 101, pure and simple. Occupancy rates have skyrocketed, and rates have responded accordingly. Average room rates are now hovering perilously close to $200, higher than ever before in the citys history. With rates at these levels--and thats just for an average hotel room--accommodations are likely to be the biggest financial commitment of your trip. Choose carefully.
That doesnt mean that there arent a few bargains out there--so even if money is tight, dont give up yet. Ill tell you about some truly wonderful places to stay that wont break your bank account. And even those of you who can afford a bit (or a lot) of luxury still want to get the most for your money; Ill show you how to do that, too.

When deciding what youre willing to pay versus what youre willing to put up with, keep in mind that this is the land of $200-a-night-plus Holiday Inns and HoJos--so if you only want to spend 100 bucks a night, youre going to have to put up with some inconveniences. For the best cheap sleeps in town, youll have to get used to the idea of sharing a bathroom. If youre willing to do so (Europeans seem to have a much easier time with this than Americans do), you can get a lot of bang for your buck.

Know it now: New York hotel rooms give everybody a whole new perspective on "small." Space is the citys biggest asset, and getting some will cost you. If youre traveling on a tight budget, dont be surprised if your room isnt much bigger than the bed thats in it and the cramped bathroom has a sink so small that it looks like it was manufactured in a gnome factory. Even expensive rooms can be on the small side, or lack closet space, or have smallish bathrooms.

Price Categories & Rack Rates--The rates quoted in the listings are the rack rates--the maximum rates that a hotel charges for rooms. Ive used these rack rates to divide the hotels into four price categories, ranging from "Very Expensive" to "Inexpensive," for easy reference. But rack rates are only guidelines, and there are often ways around them.
The hotels listed below have provided us with their best rate estimates for 2001, and all quoted rates were correct at press time. Be aware, however, that rates can change at any time. Rates are always subject to availability, seasonal fluctuations, and plain old increases--especially with demand for hotel rooms being what it is in New York City.