Single shared bath, $80; single en suite and double shared bath, $110; double en suite, $130; triple shared bath, $140; triple en suite, $155; quad en suite, $180
6 at 23rd St.
If these walls could talk, they’d have some long, strange tales to tell. After its early popularity with visiting farmers, merchants, and various Prohibition-era scofflaws, the Gramercy-area hotel began a long era of decline, hitting rock bottom as a junkie-filled SRO in the seventies. To brighten the mood, employees—many of them artists—began painting the walls with colorful ad hoc murals. The idea caught on, and by the mid-eighties, rooms, hallways, and the five-flight staircase were covered in eclectic paintings and mosaics. Now each of the 54 double-bed rooms is a world of its own: One artist left behind a bucolic French garden scene; another a swirling, sherbet-colored Hindu temple; another an Egyptian tomb. (A Minnesota goth band provided a trippy explosion of transgender fairy creatures.) Today, the Arms is often booked-up two months in advance, with the majority of guests coming from Europe and Asia. This despite the super-basic amenities (rooms come with towels and soap, but no phones) and shared communal areas. The artsy, laid-back staff is happy to take messages, give activity advice, and tell tales about the site’s crazy history.Pros
Budget prices; friendly staff; communal vibe.
Basic rooms with no amenities; some communal bathrooms; hostel-like setup; limited space and creature comforts.
Rates are determined by how many people are in the room, and whether the room has a bathroom or uses a shared bath.