Skip to main content

The Manual may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

These Great Micro Hotels Prove Good Things Can Come in Small Packages

As recently as the last century, most travelers seeking accommodations were starved for choice. Some could afford to splash out on a proper hotel room, but hardcore budget travelers and backpackers were relegated to hostels and questionable guesthouses. There was little in-between. Then, Airbnb changed the game completely. But many travelers still want the feel and familiarity of an actual hotel without the exorbitant nightly rates. Enter “Micro Hotels.”

The ethos behind this new breed of hotels starts with compact guest rooms (around 150 square feet). The thinking is that most young travelers prefer to spend as much time outside exploring the city as much as possible, so an oversized room of mostly empty space is a waste. They then ditch underused hotel amenities like the gym, business center, and redundant staffing. These simple changes allow micro hotels in major cities to offer room rates that are less than half of their traditional hotel competitors. They focus instead on designer decors, high-tech conveniences, and destination-worthy in-house events (live music, creative discussion panels, and exhibits by local artists) to draw a good mix of tourists and locals.

Basically, they guarantee everything most travelers want in a hotel room while sparing them from paying for things they’ll never use. These four designer micro hotels prove that even urban travelers can find good — and, more importantly, affordable — things in small packages.

The Jane Hotel

New York City

It’s impossible to visit New York City without suffering a severe case of sticker shock. Mid-range hotels average USD $200-300 nightly, and extras like parking, paid Wi-Fi, sky-high tourism taxes, and other hidden fees can easily tack on an additional $100 or more per day. The Jane Hotel helped pioneer the city’s alternative micro hotel scene back in 2008. Its “cabin hotel rooms” are modeled after the timeless luxury of vintage train cars. The entry-level Standard Cabin measures just 50 square feet, and the shared bathroom is down the hall. It’s a tight fit, even by hostel standards. Inside, however, it’s like a step back in time to the glory days of rail travel. Every room includes essentials like a TV, a phone, and free, super-fast Wi-Fi. Nightly rates start around USD $100 – a steal in one of the world’s most notoriously expensive cities.

Book The Jane Hotel

ZIP Hotel by Premier Inn

United Kingdom

ZIP Hotels

Capsule hotels are well-known to travelers in Asia. The concept was popularized in Japan, where overnight accommodations are often prohibitively expensive. ZIP Hotel by Premier Inn takes the capsule hotel model and peppers in a bit more space and a private bathroom to boot. At just over 90 square feet, the rooms are still compact, bordering on cramped, but well-equipped with a pod-like power shower, a flat-screen TV, free Wi-Fi, and universal power outlets. For travelers looking for nothing more than a clean place to lay their head, wash up, and charge their gadgets, it’s an ideal setup. The best part is that rooms cost just £19 (approximately USD $24) per night.

Book ZIP Hotel




CitizenM might be the world’s most popular micro hotel brand. With their first Amsterdam location, the focus was on high-end design in a low-cost hotel. They nix things like a concierge, room service, ironing boards, and bellhops. Instead of a traditional reception desk, guests check themselves in and out at an automated kiosk. The sleek designer rooms are compact but with plenty of upscale amenities, including king beds, on-demand movies, bottled water, and fast, free Wi-Fi. They offer affordable nightly rates (think USD $127 per night in Boston and Seattle) in some of the world’s most famous cities, including London, New York City, Paris, and Copenhagen. What’s more: Every room is the same price.

Book CitizenM

Motto by Hilton


Hilton is well-known for its large, upscale hotels in cities around the world. But, their Motto by Hilton brand looks to be something altogether different. Guest room floor plans at Motto will average just 163 square feet. They’ll rely on space-saving techniques like wall beds, lofted beds, and Swiss-Army-knife-style furniture like beds that double as sectional sofas to ensure guests don’t feel cramped. Every room will focus on high-tech amenities like ultra-fast Wi-Fi and allowing guests complete control over the space – including lighting, climate control, and electric window shades – all through the Hilton Honors mobile app. The brand is scheduled to open its first location in London in 2020. Other big cities popular with travelers will follow, including Boston, D.C., Dublin, Lima, and San Diego.

Learn More About Motto

If you’re after a slightly different “designer budget” experience, these luxury hostels offer all the swagger of an upscale hotel with the vibrant community vibe of a traditional hostel.

Mike Richard
Mike Richard has traveled the world since 2008. He's kayaked in Antarctica, tracked endangered African wild dogs in South…
Plan a trip to see some incredible fall foliage: 7 stellar spots across the U.S.
The fall colors will be gorgeous in these travel destinations
A pop of fall color in Oak Glen, California (in the San Bernardino Mountains).

The weather is cooler. The nights are longer. The tree leaves are starting to change colors. Finally, fall is here. And now, we have to think about where to go to find the best fall foliage.

Whether you need a quick weekend getaway, a nice change of scenery as you "work from home", or another good reason to travel for great fall foliage, we have you covered. As we enter into a new season, let’s discover some new ideas for fall travel. Come for the colorful fall foliage, and stay for the stunning mountain views, the friendly locals, various pleasant surprises, and a whole lot of good vibes. 

Read more
Will Sony’s portable PlayStation Portal be your new travel buddy?
Move over, Nintendo Switch?
Sony PlayStation Portal

If you want to travel and play video games remotely, you can connect your smartphone to your PS5 at home using the PS Remote Play app. However, there are two limitations to using your smartphone or tablet to stream your PlayStation games. For starters, most smartphones don’t have the ideal visuals to get the best performance out of PS5 games. But even if you own a smartphone with a display that exceeds expectations, you may find it inconvenient to use on-screen buttons.

Well, Sony has a solution for gamers who want a handheld gaming console that’s better than a smartphone — it’s called the PlayStation Portal remote player. It comes with an 8-inch LCD screen that can support 1080p at 60 frames per second. But the best part about it is that the LCD screen is sandwiched between a PS5 DualSense wireless controller. This means you can enjoy the full gaming pad experience, including the haptic feedback when you’re playing your PlayStation games remotely.

Read more
Yellowstone National Park, the Amalfi Coast, and more: Add these top 5 heritage sites to your travel bucket list
When you should visit (and more)
The South Rim of the Grand Canyon (Arizona)

Betway has recently revealed the top 100 most beautiful Natural heritage sites based on the number of Instagram hashtags, and the United States and Italy dominate the top 5 spots. If you're considering a trip this year, why not go and see what all the fuss is about? This post will explore the top 5 results of Betway's study and provide some valuable planning information for all of these heritage sites.

Grand Canyon
What list would be complete without the Grand Canyon? About 5 million people visit the Grand Canyon every year, so it's not a surprise that it's one of the most Instagrammed places out there. Coming into first place with a whopping 4.3 million hashtags, the Grand Canyon is sure to blow your mind.

Read more