Go on Priceline, Hotels.com, Travelocity, or Orbitz, and you'll see a wide price range for New York City hotels. I avoid the cheapest rooms, which sometimes don't have private bathrooms. Tourist class hotels are the sweet spot. Great Manhattan locations, clean rooms, with a private bathroom. Sometimes this includes chains such as Holiday Inn, Hampton Inn, or Comfort Inn, although there are many respectable independent Manhattan hotels that offer a great value.
Oftentimes, budget hotels offer free internet and maybe even free breakfast. I shun luxury, whether it's luxury clothing, luxury cars, luxury restaurants, or luxury hotels. Luxury hotels charge extra for everything. I don't enjoy the feeling of a fancy hotel nickel and diming me for amenities that would be free at a chain like Ramada.
Luxury hotels are also overbearing with their personal service. Have a small roller bag when you check in? You can expect the bellman to bring it to the room for you, and anticipate a tip for the service. Need a bucket of ice? Unfortunately, there are no ice machines in the hallway, but the bellman would be happy to deliver it to your room. Again, he will expect gratuity for something you would prefer to do yourself. And when you check out of the hotel, the bellman will be happy to get a taxi and put your luggage in the trunk. $4 tip, if you please. I don't want or need this level of service. So that's why I choose cheaper value hotels in Manhattan.
As you can see, there are some sacrifices when booking a cheap Manhattan hotel room. Don't expect a view of Central Park from your hotel room window. Unfortunately, you may not be able to watch the sun rise over the Brooklyn Bridge, or admire the glow of the Freedom Tower in the moonlight.
If you like brick, you're in luck. Most cheap hotel rooms in NYC have a view of the neighboring building's brick wall. You may have a fire escape outside your window. Make sure the window's lock works.
All in all, these tradeoffs are fine with me, because I don't spend lots of time in Midtown Manhattan hotel rooms. Generally, I rent a cheap hotel room when there's renovation work going on in my apartment. I'm having the bedroom painted sky blue, so I wanted to let the fumes dissipate before I laid my head down there again.
Other times, a Manhattan hotel room can be a welcome retreat. In my experience, creative energies will naturally foster in a new environment such as a small boutique Manhattan hotel room.