Affordable hotels in New York are practically unheard of – which makes this Midtown bolthole, which has sister outposts in Chicago, LA and Miami, even more of a steal for its exceptionally smart spaces and walkable-to-everything location. The buzzy first-floor restaurant is the spot for brunch surrounded by locals chatting over sourdough croissants and giant cups of coffee. The rooftop bar, Broken Shaker, with views of the Chrysler Building, is the place for pre-supper cocktails – order a decadent Coco Puff Old Fashioned, infused with chocolatey breakfast cereal and topped with Demerara sugar.
Address: Freehand New York, 23 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10010, United States
Prices: Doubles from about £160
B&B Quartopiano, Modena, Italy
I rolled back here once after a blow-out feast at Massimo Bottura’s Francescana restaurant a few years back, barely able to climb the stairs. The three-star chef has his own B&B in town now – though B&B isn’t quite the word for a country villa stuffed with artworks with its own pool and tennis court – but I have a soft spot for Quartopiano, right in the center of this little city, looking out over the rooftops to the Renaissance belltower of Ghirlandina. It’s run by a former maître-d’ of Bottura’s, who also oversees the Maison Mon Café just below the guesthouse, and who furnished it with his partner using finds from French flea markets – vintage photos, theater seats, cotton spools. It’s a little atelier with heaps of character.
Address: B&B Quartopiano, Via Bonacorsa, 27, 41121 Modena MO, Italy
Prices: Doubles from about £125
The Franklin Hotel, New York, USA
Yes, it’s compact – especially by American standards – with rooms that are not called petite for nothing, but also unbeatable for location. This 1930s Upper East Side brownstone is the ideal Gilded Age-elegant address for a culture break focusing on the Museum Mile – don’t miss Austrian-style cakes at the Neue Galerie café – and, perhaps even more importantly, Central Park is literally around the block. After trekking all over town, staying here will seem exactly the right decision – just hop across the street to sit by the lake and join (or observe) an open-air tai-chi class. The 50 blue-and-white bedrooms were also refurbished this year. Functional but cute, this is a bargain that leaves you with more cash to spend on museum-hopping and feasting.
Address: The Franklin Hotel, 164 E 87th St, New York, NY 10128, United States
Prices: Doubles from about £100