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

Worldwide

CitizenM

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

Worldwide

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…
What to do in Nashville: Don’t miss out on these incredible activities
Need help planning your trip to Music City?
Nashville

Looking pretty, Music City. Are you thinking about taking a trip to Nashville this year? Nashville offers a rich blend of culture, history, and entertainment that promises a memorable experience for every visitor. Whether you’re a music enthusiast looking to explore iconic venues or a foodie ready to dive into delicious Southern cuisine, Nashville has something for you. If you aren’t sure what to do in Nashville, TN, we’ve got you covered. Here are just a few of the best things to do in Nashville, Tennessee.
Take a stroll down Lower Broadway

Lower Broadway consistently makes the list of the top things to do in Nashville. This vibrant stretch, often referred to simply as “Broadway,” is lined with honky-tonk bars, live music venues, and busy eateries that showcase the best of Nashville’s legendary music scene. Lower Broadway is not only the heart of Nashville’s nightlife but also a hub where famous musicians bring their flair to the local scene. Jason Aldean’s Kitchen + Rooftop Bar offers a mix of Southern cuisine and stunning rooftop views, while Blake Shelton’s Ole Red combines great food with live music. 
Indulge in some hot chicken

Read more
This is the longest flight in the world
You'll definitely need a nap on this flight
an airplane on the runway under a cloudy sky

When it comes to ultra-long-haul travel, one route stands out above the rest – the Singapore to New York flight operated by Singapore Airlines. This flight covers up to a mind-boggling 9,537 miles nonstop.
How long is the longest flight in the world?

In total, passengers are airborne for a whopping 18 hours and 40 minutes, nearly an entire day spent soaring across the world. Making such an extremely long-haul flight possible is the Airbus A350-900ULR (Ultra Long Range). This specialized aircraft features a modified fuel system that allows it to carry a higher quantity of jet fuel, giving it the extended range required to complete the Singapore-New York route without refueling stops.
Comfort amenities for the world’s longest flight

Read more
A new report says this is the most stressful airport in the U.S.
Anticipate high stress levels when traveling through this airport
Chicago O Hare

Traveling can be an exciting experience, but it often comes with its own set of challenges, especially at airports. According to a recent study by StressFreeCarRental.com, Chicago O’Hare Airport has earned the honor of being the most stressful airport in the United States. For seasoned travelers, this news might not come as a surprise. O’Hare’s reputation for congestion, frequent delays, and confusing terminals have long been the source of many travel nightmares. Let’s dive into the factors that make O’Hare the most stressful airport in the country.
What makes Chicago O’Hare Airport so stressful?

The recent study analyzed the top 15 airports in the United States, focusing on five key stress-inducing factors: passenger numbers, distance from the city center, number of flight destinations, car parking charges, and the overall airport satisfaction score. Chicago O’Hare’s ranking as the most stressful airport is largely due to the high parking charge and the large number of flight destinations.

Read more