Accommodation prices in New York are not for the faint of heart — especially for people like my dad.
Despite that, you can stay in Manhattan without having to take out a loan or sell your car (or give your dad a heart attack).
The trick is to be open and flexible when doing your search.
So, when my first long-haul international trip after travel opened up again earlier in 2022 would take me to New York, I was determined to stay in a points hotel that wasn’t going to break the bank.
I knew I wanted to be somewhere around the East Village to have more of an authentic New York experience rather than being slap bang in the middle of tourist bedlam.
That’s when I came across Moxy NYC East Village and stopped my search.
If you’ve been there and done that in New York, then the Moxy is the hotel for you.
Just 3 blocks southeast of Union Square, the hotel is perfectly located to be able to enjoy both the local neighborhood as well as some of the sites should you want to get a couple of classic New York selfies.
Hot Tip: For the best of the best, check out our ultimate travel guide to New York City, featuring the best things to do, see, and enjoy!
It’s no secret that a trip to the Big Apple doesn’t come cheap, no matter whether you’re visiting from the U.S. or abroad.
Despite what you might think, Manhattan does indeed have a well-located, high-quality, hotel for all budgets: Moxy East Village.
For 3 nights on a room-only rate in one of the hotel’s Queen Guest Rooms — the hotel’s main room type — it cost me $699 (~$233 per night).
I was certain that I’d gotten an excellent value for my money even before my stay. This was confirmed by the experience I had during my 3 nights at the hotel.
I used my U.K. Marriott Bonvoy® American Express® Card, which earned me 3x bonus Marriott Bonvoy points per £1 spent.
If I was based in the U.S., I could have used one of several cards to maximize the points earned on my Marriott stay. Check out our guide on the best credit cards for Marriott Bonvoy loyalists to see which card would be best for you.
I arrived at the hotel around 10 p.m. on a cold February night after an amazing flight with JetBlue from London Heathrow (LHR).
Check-in was quick and smooth and I was on my way to my room within a few minutes.
One thing to note if you’re a Marriott Bonvoy elite is that there are no room upgrades available at Moxy East Village, as each of the 173 rooms is exactly the same room type.
Guests also had the option of using the self-check-in desks.
If you’ve read any of my previous hotel reviews, then you’ll know that I’m often disappointed by hotel gyms. Unfortunately, Moxy East Village has been added to that growing list.
The stack of weights and single bench in the corner were the only pieces of resistance and weight lifting equipment.
As for cardio, there were 3 treadmills and 2 cross-trainers. You’ll also spot the signature Moxy bike in pink.
To keep hydrated while working out, there was an ice and water machine just outside the door.
Opposite the ice machine was the “Oh shit, I forgot something” machine, which would come in handy for last-minute packers like me.
The gym at the Moxy was average at best … I’ll give it a 4/10.
The dazzling lights and mirrors of the elevator up to my 10th-floor room were just the attack on the senses I needed to help me through the jetlag that was setting in hard.
I liked that the corridor to the rooms felt more like an apartment block than a hotel.
Small hotel rooms (and apartments for that matter) in New York are commonplace, so I wasn’t shocked when I opened the door and saw pretty much the entire room at first glance.
The Moxy East Village is no exception to New York’s tiny living space rule. However, the way that every nook and cranny of the space was used for functionality and practicality made the small size insignificant.
One such example is that instead of lots of cupboard and drawer space, hooks were strategically placed along a wall for hanging up items like jackets, bags, or clothes on hangers.
On the last hook was a clipboard announcing the weekly events taking place at each of the hotel’s hospitality venues.
The bed was tucked up flush against the window and right-hand wall with just enough room at the foot of the bed for the TV unit. Some might say too small … I say cozy.
I was barely even in my room, but it would have been a nice place to snuggle up and watch a film on a cold winter’s night. Though, thinking about it, that’s not at all what anyone comes to New York for.
The only semblance of a wardrobe was a narrow section to the left of the TV. I’ll hold my hands up and say that I did not unpack for this 3-night stay.
For those who like to work from or eat in bed, there was a handy fold-away mini table for doing exactly so.
When looking out the window during the day, there’s absolutely no mistaking where you are.
Hot Tip: It’s always worth sending an email to the hotel after you’ve made your reservation to make extra requests for high or low floors, and the specific view you’d like (so long as it’s not a higher category room).
Directly opposite my room was a United States Postal Service depot that produced enough early morning noise to wake me up. Thankfully, the windows drowned the sound out enough when closed that I was able to get back to sleep with no problem.
I realize I could have used the air conditioner, but I prefer fresh air rather than using A.C., if possible.
Next door you’ll also find Webster Hall, making Moxy East Village an ideal hotel to stay in if you’re heading to a show.
I found the large armchair and swivel desk to be another great use of the small space in the room — especially given that remote working is taking over.
This is definitely a staged photo, but as you can see, the space works well as a make-shift office. Oh, and that phone you see on the wall will play you a bedtime story if you struggle to get to sleep. Cool, right?
Another space-saving technique was putting the sink inside the bedroom where you’d typically find the built-in wardrobe in similar-sized hotel rooms.
Under the sink were more towels, a clothes steamer, and a hairdryer.
The bathroom was small and simple, but perfectly practical.
The shower unit featured the ever-popular matte black finish shower head and soap dish.
In true space-saving style, the towels were tucked neatly into a matte black towel rail above the toilet.
As per every Moxy I’ve stayed in (and that’s a few), both the hair and body wash and conditioner are by Muk.
One thing’s for sure, while Moxy isn’t by any means classed as a luxury Marriott brand, nothing about the room felt cheap. In fact, I caught up with Leo Glazer — the hotel’s manager — who spoke proudly of the high-quality materials they used and that lessons from the 2 other NYC Moxys (Moxy NYC Times Square and Moxy NYC Downtown) are what gives Moxy East Village its edge.
Food and Beverage
Moxy East Village prides itself on the quality of its hospitality outlets — and with good reason. I was impressed by each: Alphabet Bar & Café, Cathédrale Bar & Restaurant, and The Ready. So much so, that I’ve since recommended them to East Village and New York locals who’ve been equally impressed as I was.
- Sunday to Monday: 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
- Tuesday to Saturday: 7 a.m. to 12 a.m.
The space is wrapped around the entire main ground floor level of the hotel and is split into café, lounge, bar, and outside sections.
I rated the quality of the Alphabet Café’s coffee that I started my day with each morning.
I somehow resisted the temptation of the sweet treats that were on display.
I did try the Cafe d’Avignon drip coffee that was free for hotel guests, but it didn’t get the thumbs up from my very particular taste buds.
Following around from the café was a large room with an abundance of comfy sofas and armchairs.
As an avid would-like-to-read-more reader, I was happy to see this mini library of books, curated by The Strand, available for guests to borrow.
In true Moxy style, guests could make use of this old-school record player.
In a corner of the lounge was an arcade game and a photo booth — another fun Moxy touch.
Following through past the arcade machine to the left (and past my favorite swing seats), you get to the main hotel bar.
The lobby and bar area is a cozy place to sit in the evening with the lights down low and the music up high.
If you’re old and grumpy like me, then you might find the music a bit intense if you need to get work done during the day.
Back around by the café was also a dedicated meeting area that could be made more private by pulling across the curtains.
- Monday: Closed
- Tuesday to Friday: 5 p.m. to 12 a.m.
- Saturday: 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., 5 p.m. to 12 a.m.
- Sunday: 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Downstairs in the basement of the hotel is Cathédrale Bar & Restaurant.
To get to the main dining area, you walk through the bar, which has classic bar-style seating, as well as booths.
I pitched up here early one evening to round off some work with a side of happy hour Champagne.
My worry that $8 per glass of Champagne, $4 for “bites,” and $2 for oysters was too good to be true was confirmed when I noticed my server pouring Prosecco into my glass.
After politely pointing out that this wasn’t the advertised Champagne before she poured my second glass, she winked at me and didn’t make the same mistake again.
Fun fact: The super-high 30-foot ceilings were a purpose-made design feature of the building. Given that regulations stopped the planners from building up, they dug down into the ground instead.
I imagine the cozy surroundings and atmosphere of Cathédrale would make an ideal place for a date. Any takers for next time I’m in town?
Later when I came back for dinner, the restaurant was jam-packed — clearly a hit with locals and guests of the Moxy alike.
As you’d expect from a restaurant named Cathédrale (pronounced in my best French accent), the menu had a distinct French theme. However, if you know your French, you’ll know that while “entrée” in American English means main course, in French it means “starter.”
I dined with fellow Upgraded Points writer Jarrod West, and we both decided we wanted to eat the exact same thing. We went for the Faroe Island Salmon with a side of broccoli and wild mushrooms and washed it down with a gin and tonic (or two).
While the food wasn’t cheap, the excellent quality, quantity, and flavor of our meals meant that it was certainly value for money.
There was another dining area at the opposite end of the restaurant with a glass ceiling.
If you’re celebrating an occasion or simply have a couple dozen friends, you can also rent out this private dining area.
- Tuesday, and Thursday through Saturday: 11 p.m. to 4 a.m.
The ground beneath the hotel is also home to Little Sister — an exclusive bar and lounge.
While it’s in the same building, Little Sister is independently owned by Tao Group and entry is not automatically granted just because you’re a guest of the hotel.
I know this because I was politely informed by a hotel staffer before finding out the hard way and getting rejected for not being East Village cool enough to get in.
If anyone can get me in next time I’m in Manhattan, then drinks (a drink) are on me.
- Monday to Friday: 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.
- Saturday to Sunday: 12 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Head from the bottom all the way up to the top, and you’ll find The Ready — the hotel’s rooftop bar.
When I say it’s a vibe, I mean it’s a vibe. Even in the cold of winter, the bar was a bustling social hive of activity on the evening I visited. The picture below was taken when I was being shown around the property by Leo.
When the sun is shining, the roof opens up to turn the space into a proper open-air rooftop. I’ll look forward to making it back here in the warmer months.
When hunger strikes after one-too-many margs, the food stand is on hand.
The vibrant colors, slightly wacky design, and the flamboyance of flamingos make for a New York rooftop hangout like no other.
I value staff interactions and service so much so that they can be a deal-breaker for how good my experience was all together.
My stay at the Moxy was a rare exception to that rule in that other than with Leo, the hotel’s General Manager, I had so few interactions with other staffers that I didn’t get anyone else’s name, which is unusual for me.
That said, this is in no way a criticism of the hotel and its staff. It was more owing to the fact that New York is not a city where I tend to spend much time in a hotel — stays here are far more transactional and function as a place to get some sleep at night.
As always, the question I pose myself at the end of a hotel stay: Would I stay here again?
Yes, absolutely. Having stayed at several Moxys around the world, New York’s Moxy East Village property has made its way to the number 1 spot.
Marriott’s Moxy brand can often get pooh-poohed by the luxury-loving points and miles aficionados out there. However, if all you need is a modern, clean, and relatively well-priced place to spend the night, then a stay at a Moxy is really all you need.
The clever use of space in the bedroom meant that it didn’t feel cramped, even though it was small, the food and beverage options were exceptional for a New York hotel, and the location meant I was only a few minutes’ walk from the many cafés, bars, and restaurants of the East Village.
If you want a value-for-money stay in Manhattan, look no further than Moxy East Village.
The information regarding the Marriott Bonvoy® American Express® Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.