If I asked you to tell me the three things you like least about travel, I'm sure cost would be one of them.
New York was somewhere I'd always dreamed of going. From my teenage years spent binge-watching Gossip Girl (still the only TV show I can happily watch alone, by the way) to my early twenties spent lapping up everything and anything fashion-related, New York City sat very high on my travel bucket list.
I wanted nothing more than to live out all my fashion-fuelled dreams of hailing a yellow cab to take me to fancy restaurant in the most fabulous outfit I owned. The thing that always held me back, of course, was the cost.
Let's not beat around the bush: visiting New York is expensive.
Most things cost even more than they do in London, it's pretty much impossible to eat for less than $10, and even a shared dorm will set you back upwards of £60 per night.
Thankfully, visiting New York is getting more and more affordable. It's still not a cheap city to visit, but there's never been a better time to go - especially now that Norwegian offer direct flights from London for less than £100.
You also no longer have to choose between roughing it in a cramped hostel or splurging more than you spent on your trans-Atlantic flight to sleep somewhere comfortable thanks to hotels like YOTEL.
YOTEL New York
YOTEL at Times Square combines the best of everything: a central location for exploring the city, a comfortable room with all the amenities you could need and on-site facilities with 24-hour access, all rolled into a very stylish stay.
The rooms at YOTEL aren't called bedrooms - they're called cabins. And although that word might conjure up images of a ship, it wouldn't be too far from the truth; a stay at YOTEL is a bit like a stay on a spaceship. Let me explain...
You'll notice three things when you first step into YOTEL New York: The queue-less check-in screen on your left, the purple lights straight ahead of you and the robots storing luggage on your right. Yes, robots. You can check in, enjoy your stay, replenish the toiletries you forgot and store your luggage for the day while you head out for some last-minute sight-seeing, all without speaking to another human being.
Hop in a lift up to the 4th floor if you prefer to check-in with a fellow human. Even if you don't, you'll want to spend time in the area's coffee bar or drinks lounge once you see them.
But don't stop to enjoy the outdoor terrace just yet - you'll want to head up to your cabin as soon as you can. Because this is the kind of hotel room you'll actually want to spend time in, especially if you get a room with a view of the New York skyline. I spent three nights on the 25th floor and, for the first time ever, slept with the blackout blind open because I couldn't not wake up with that view.
And if the view isn't enough, the interior is pretty special too. Based on aircraft cabins, the rooms are designed to fit everything you need into a compact yet stylish space. And the designers of YOTEL Times Square have really thought of everything. From the pull out desk and bedside tray to the two hanging wardrobe spaces and enough USB ports and plug sockets to charge every electrical item you own (even if you're a blogger!), they know what their customers need. Oh, and did I mention that the bed moves up and down so you can have more space to dance or a more sofa-like seat to relax on?
And then there's the design. If you don't like purple, you might want to avoid YOTEL. But even if that's the case, it easy to have a change of scene (or colour). The light around the TV can be changed to any colour you like at the touch of a button, and can even be set to change colour automatically. I set it mine to white for working, blue for relaxing and purple for getting ready. If you don't have at least 15 minutes of fun with it, you've wasted your stay at YOTEL.
It's rare to find a hotel that feels like it's been designed with busy travellers in mind, but YOTEL really does. The YOTEL cabins are practical, stylish and don't scrimp or save on anything, even though it's among the cheapest hotel near Times Square. The bed was super comfortable as well as practical (and fun!), and even the shower was the best shower I had in the whole of the United States, with both a rain shower and a handheld head.
Normally, you'd expect to compromise on either location or comfort, but YOTEL offers all this just a couple of blocks from Times Square. It's a 15-minute walk to Central Park, 20 minutes to Grand Central and 5th Avenue, and a short direct subway ride to the Staten Island Ferry (a must-do if you want to get a perfect view of the Statue of Liberty).
It's not often I fall in love with a hotel (after all, I see a lot!) but I've been raving about YOTEL every time someone asks me about New York. If you're looking for an affordable hotel near Times Square, it will be hard to beat YOTEL New York City, and I certainly won't be looking anywhere else next time I go back to NYC.
I received one complimentary night at YOTEL New York in exchange for a video feature but all reviews and words are 100% my own. If you want a further look around, check out my NYC vlog above to see more of YOTEL (at the beginning and end).