Inside Manhattan’s New Wave Of Micro-Hotels

Spacious suites were once synonymous with luxury, but thanks to the rise of the “micro-hotel”, developers are proving the old adage that the best things often come in small packages.

Inspired by Japanese capsule hotels, the global trend of compact yet impeccably designed abodes shows no sign of waning. In fact, a handful of new micro-hotels in Manhattan have upped the ante by partnering with leading design firms to elevate spaces under 300 square feet. Today, the less-is-more aesthetic is punctuated with built-in storage, foldaway furniture and inspiring communal lounges that appeal to business travellers and design-savvy millennials. In a society of 140 characters or less, these micro-hotels are making a big statement.

Arlo Hotels

Heralded as America's "first micro hotel with four-star design", Arlo Hotels brings a fashion-forward approach to their two properties located in the stylish neighbourhoods of SoHo and NoMad. Thanks to their wild popularity, a third outpost, the Arlo Midtown, is slated to open in 2019. The brand's thoughtfully designed rooms measure an average of 150 square feet, but even its smallest spaces come with smart amenities like hand-held clothing steamers and sleek walnut furnishings. The hotel prides itself on its lively public spaces, which put an emphasis on community programming - think sustainable pop-up shops, wellness workshops, Cozy AF Knitting Classes and Really Sexy Variety Parties…

Freehand New York

Since opening in January 2018 in the Flatiron district, Freehand New York has attracted a cool-kid following for its imaginative design evocative of European-style hostels. This is the second Manhattan property by Sydell Group, which is best known for The Line Hotel in Los Angeles and the NoMad Hotel just a few blocks away. The Freehand lives up to its hype with 395 highly functional Roman and Williams-designed guest rooms (including the 250-square-foot "Three's Company" room featuring a twin-sized bed lofted over a queen bed). Spaces are accented with artwork by MFA students from Bard College, which the hotel partnered with for its artist-in-residence program - a perfect homage to the building's history as a hotel for famous writers, artists and musicians.

The Pod Hotels

With four properties in New York City, Pod Hotels has challenged the status quo of tiny living in the Big Apple. Their newest Manhattan location, Pod Times Square, opened its doors in January 2018 to unveil 665 guest rooms (each measuring 115 square feet) as well as its tropical-inspired rooftop tiki bar, The Polynesian. Its other New York locations (Pod 51, Pod 39 and Pod BK) follow the same design philosophy, offering budget-friendly, socially connected and tech-savvy amenities. This past summer, the brand launched its Pod Pads, a collection of 45 extended stay suites that give travellers and digital nomads a chance to enjoy an ethos of "timeliness, cleanliness and simplicity" for a little bit longer.

citizenM Hotels

Since opening its first hotel in Amsterdam, citizenM has been on a mission to bring its version of the futuristic micro-hotel to cities around the world. Naturally, its first New York location in Times Square has become a buzzy spot for tech lovers. Each of its pod-style rooms come equipped with Samsung tablets that control everything from the lighting to the music, while public spaces are equipped for business travellers. The brand's newest location, the citizenM New York Bowery Hotel, is set to open in September 2018 and has already nabbed the title of the world's tallest modular hotel. The 20-storey building features 300 rooms that were all pre-assembled in Poland, a rooftop bar with sweeping views and several collaborations with local artists that give the property a distinctly Lower East Side vibe.

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City Guide: New York