The 10 American Cities Where Hotels Are the Most Expensive

When planning a trip, the cost of lodging is often one of the biggest expenses. Hotel rates can vary widely between destinations, with some cities notorious for their sky-high prices. If you’re looking to get the most bang for your buck, it’s wise to avoid the most expensive hotel markets in the United States.

To discover the priciest places for overnight stays, we analyzed hotel price data from the past year for major cities across America. Factors like average rates, seasonal fluctuations, and peak events were considered to create the ranking.

Below are the 10 cities where hotel rooms will put the biggest dent in your wallet, along with advice for saving money on accommodations.

New York City, NY

The Big Apple tops the list for having the highest hotel prices in the country by a wide margin. During 2022, the average daily rate for a hotel in New York City was $297. The city’s average is more than $100 per night higher than the second-place city on our list.

Several factors contribute to New York’s steep hotel rates. It’s one of the most visited cities in the world with over 65 million tourists annually. Competition is fierce among hotels to capture this huge demand. Real estate in Manhattan also happens to be some of the most valuable in the world, forcing properties to charge higher prices just to cover costs.

Peak seasons like summer and the December holidays make prices skyrocket even more. For big events like New Year’s Eve, rates can top $1,000 per night at high-end hotels.

Tips for saving:

  • Avoid midtown hotels and look for properties in Brooklyn, Queens, Harlem, or the Upper West Side
  • Visit in January and February when prices are near their lowest
  • Use public transportation instead of taxis to get around easily without a centrally located hotel

Honolulu, HI

Sunny Honolulu ranks second for the highest hotel prices. In 2022, the average daily rate was $213, an increase of over 35% from the previous year.

Unlike most mainland destinations, Honolulu maintains high occupancy and prices year-round due to its tropical weather and island location. The city relies heavily on tourism, so hotel owners aim to maximize rates at all times.

The priciest hotels are concentrated in Waikiki Beach, where room rates average well over $300 per night. Large resort fees tacked onto bills also drive up the costs.

Tips for saving:

  • Stay in condos or Airbnbs instead of big resorts
  • Look for cheaper hotels farther from Waikiki like downtown or Ala Moana
  • Visit in the fall and spring shoulder seasons when prices are lower
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Boston, MA

Hotel prices in historic Boston put it firmly in the top 3 most expensive cities. The average daily rate in 2022 was $211, making it a pricey option for lodging on the East Coast.

A huge influx of tourists during the peak spring and summer months drive up Boston hotel prices. Over 37 million visitors flock to Beantown each year to walk the Freedom Trail and cheer on sports teams like the Red Sox.

Business demand also keeps rates high at downtown hotels, especially during conventions and events at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center. Expect sky-high prices around major events like the Boston Marathon in April.

Tips for saving:

  • Choose a hotel near the suburbs like Cambridge to save on central Boston prices
  • Visit during the fall and winter when tourist demand is lower
  • Use public transportation to get to major attractions easily

San Francisco, CA

San Francisco ties with Boston for having the 4th most expensive hotel rates in the United States. In 2022, the average daily hotel rate was $211 matching Boston’s figure.

This popular West Coast destination sees tremendous demand across all seasons, especially from affluent tech travelers. San Francisco’s hotel market is also impacted by high tourism year-round, numerous conventions, and a lack of new hotel construction to keep pace.

Union Square and downtown hotels fetch the highest rates, regularly over $300 per night. Even budget hotels can cost north of $200 during peak conventions and events.

Tips for saving:

  • Stay at hotels in the Richmond District, South of Market, or near Oakland
  • Take public transit including BART trains and cable cars instead of costly taxis
  • Visit from November to February for lower prices outside of peak summer

Miami Beach, FL

Miami Beach rounds out the top 5 with daily hotel rates averaging $198 in 2022. However, prices in the popular South Florida resort destination waver much more than other expensive cities.

During the peak winter high season from December to April, Miami Beach visitors can expect to pay well over $300 per night at beachfront hotels. When demand falls in the hot and humid summer, rates plummet below $100 for budget accommodations.

Miami Beach also hosts massive events like Art Basel and the South Beach Wine & Food Festival that send hotel prices soaring. Avoid these weeks to dodge prices exceeding $500 per night.

Tips for saving:

  • Book a hotel on Miami’s mainland if you don’t need direct beach access
  • Visit during the steamy summer months for dramatically lower prices
  • Skip the ritzy South Beach area for more affordable options near North Beach
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Nashville, TN

Nashville’s surging popularity has made it one of the most expensive hotel destinations in the South. In 2022, hotel rates averaged $188 per night, representing an 11% jump from the previous year.

This iconic musical city has become a top spot for bachelor and bachelorette parties along with leisure travel. Small supply and huge visitor demand places immense pressure on the hotel market.

Downtown hotels consistently charge over $300 per night, even more during popular events like the CMA Music Festival. Places near Vanderbilt and Midtown also break the bank.

Tips for saving:

  • Pick accommodations east of downtown in the Gulch or Germantown
  • Visit in January, August, or September during quieter tourism periods
  • Take free downtown shuttles instead of taxis between Lower Broadway and attractions

Portland, OR

Portland, known for its craft breweries and natural beauty, has seen hotel rates balloon in recent years. The average price per night was $187 in 2022, an impressive 23% jump over the previous year.

Boutique and trendy hotels flourish in neighborhoods like the Pearl District and charge a premium to tourists. High-end hotel construction also caters more to luxury travelers than budget options.

Portland’s compact downtown and excellent public transportation help offset the pricey hotels somewhat. But avoiding peak summer rates remains key for savings.

Tips for saving:

  • Look for accommodations outside downtown in Northwest Portland or the suburbs
  • Visit in the late fall and winter when prices dip below $150 a night
  • Use the MAX light rail to easily reach downtown without a central location

Los Angeles, CA

Spread-out Los Angeles features a wide variety of hotel options and neighborhoods. Yet LA still ranks as the 8th most expensive hotel market nationally with an average 2022 rate of $184 per night.

Right along the beach in Santa Monica or Marina Del Rey, daily rates routinely exceed $400 in the summer. The Hollywood and West Hollywood areas where celebrities flock are also exceptionally pricey, especially during awards season.

Downtown LA and revitalized areas like the Arts District offer cheaper options than the top tourist zones. But long drives between attractions counteract some of those savings.

Tips for saving:

  • Consider downtown LA, Koreatown, or Long Beach instead of beach cities
  • Visit in winter when LA hotel prices drop by 50% or more
  • Use LA’s metro and bus system to reach key spots without costly rides

Seattle, WA

Seattle rounds out the top 10 list with hotel rates averaging $181 per night in 2022. Tourism, business travel, and major conferences like Emerald City Comic Con keep hotel demand sky high.

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Pike Place Market and downtown hotels hover around $350 per night during the peak summer. Waterfront accommodations on Elliott Bay easily exceed $400 when cruise ships are in the port.

Seattle’s far-flung layout makes public transportation difficult, so downtown hotels maintain leverage with travelers despite steep sticker prices.

Tips for saving:

  • Stay in Capitol Hill or the University District to be centrally located for less
  • Visit from November to April during the rainy off-season
  • Use the Link Light rail from the airport to downtown to avoid costlier taxi rides

New Orleans, LA

New Orleans rounds out the list, where hotel rates averaged $177 per night in 2022. The lively city attracts everyone from rowdy bachelor parties to families seeking unique food and culture.

Accommodations in the walkable French Quarter sit around $300 per night even in off-peak seasons. Citywide festivals and Mardi Gras in February/March also send prices soaring over $400 for high-end hotels.

Venturing out of the French Quarter to neighborhoods like the Garden District or Magazine Street can yield better rates. But you’ll need to rely on streetcars, buses, or rideshares to reach top attractions.

Tips for saving:

  • Book hotels downtown near the CBD or in the Warehouse District
  • Visit from June to September during low-occupancy summer months
  • Use streetcars, buses, and rideshares instead of expensive taxis

Avoiding the Most Expensive Cities is Key to Savings

Booking a hotel in any of these 10 cities will result in some sticker shock for travelers on a budget. Room rates routinely exceed $250-300 per night during peak seasons in the most popular neighborhoods.

But visiting these destinations doesn’t have to drain your wallet if you follow some savvy tips like:

  • Choosing alternative neighborhoods with cheaper hotels and Airbnbs
  • Visiting during shoulder seasons when prices are lowest
  • Using public transportation or rideshares to retain flexibility in hotel location

Avoiding expensive cities altogether is also an option to spend less on accommodations. U.S. destinations like Orlando, Chicago, Atlanta, Houston, and Dallas offer hotel rates averaging well under $150 per night.

With smart planning, you can still enjoy an amazing trip without overpaying for a place to rest your head at night. Analyzing hotel price data helps make savvier choices possible when budgeting any future vacation.

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Mohamed SAKHRI
Mohamed SAKHRI

I am Mohamed SAKHRI, the creator and editor-in-chief of this blog, 'Discover the World – The Blog for Curious Travelers.' Join me as we embark on a journey around the world, uncovering beautiful places, diverse cultures, and captivating stories. Additionally, we will delve into mysterious and, at times, even bizarre destinations.

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