Even in the middle of it all, “Top of the Rock” and its $30 sunset pass can only buy you so much Manhattan skyline. But skip town—just across the river—and the value of $30 changes dramatically; four unique hotels in Brooklyn, Queens, and New Jersey offer sweeping city views, cocktails, and live music. While the vibe may feel exclusive, there’s no need to book a room in order to relish the cinematic elegance and raw urban beauty of the Big Apple. Each journey takes less than 20 minutes, yet the sense of escape is absolute.

W Hoboken | 225 River Street, Hoboken | 201.253.2400 | whotels.com
Situated along the southern Hudson River waterfront in the hip artsy enclave of Hoboken, New Jersey (a town the Dutch named after the “Hoebuck” Indian tribe meaning “high bluff”), Starwood’s 28th W property is an idyllic retreat for any day of the week. When the W Hoboken doors open officially this April, head to the second floor Chandelier Room endowed with plush banquettes, a top shelf marbled bar, and whimsical décor. The 25-story hotel and residential tower has plenty of places to dine and unwind like Zylo Steakhouse from acclaimed Asia de Cuba chef Nick Ciccone (expect good Italian cooking and locally-made cheeses) and the 5,000-square-foot Bliss Spa. But the ultimate highlight is Chandelier Room’s expansive outside terrace for its breathtaking city views that will lull you into staying the night (rates start at $259) just so you can wake up and do it all over again in the morning, (mimosas at sunrise anyone?).

How to get there: Take the PATH train to Hoboken Terminal, and walk 2.5 blocks north on River Street to the hotel.

Hyatt Regency | 2 Exchange Place, Jersey City | 201.469.1234 | jerseycity.hyatt.com
Business travelers and tourists always get lucky when they stay at this Hudson-perched Jersey City hotel. That is, the scenery never fails to please. Vu’s varied space—renovated three months ago with a new private dining room—channels a nightclub energy at its 75-seat bar that exhibits the Statue of Liberty, while the larger dining room area provides formal yet cozy places to eat next to New York skyline-facing windows. If you’re having more than a happy hour drink (5pm-7pm, $4 beers, $7 cocktails), order the pan seared organic salmon with pancetta, Maitake mushrooms, Brussels sprouts, and chestnut sauce. Unlike the other three venues, which have not yet opened, this spot could seat you today, so hop on the New York Waterway ferry and enjoy the Vu.

How to get there: Take the PATH train from Wall Street Station to Exchange Place in Jersey City, or visit the NYWaterway website for a ferry schedule.

Ravel Hotel | 8-08 Queens Plaza South, Long Island City | 718.289.6101 | ravelhotel.com
Few would say Long Island City is a romantic destination. Yet this spring, at the foot of the 59th street bridge, a year old luxury boutique hotel will become just that. On top of the fifth floor, barely an arm’s distance from midtown, the venue is introducing some important stuff: an outdoor bar, rooftop menu, and a DJ. When the weather warms up in March, the upgraded deck will transport guests from the surrounding industrial scene of LIC to a South Beach setting with big umbrellas and colorful modish furnishings. And if the forecast isn’t great, an indoor section available year-round has heaters so you can still ogle the views without the shivers. While the Manhattan vista is what you’re here for, Ravel is offering 20% room discounts for $139 through March 15th, which means standing on a private balcony in your bathrobe, 400-thread-count Egyptian-cotton linens, a soaking tub, and many other amenities worth reveling in.

How to get there: Take the N,W,7, E,F,G,V (Queens Plaza, Queensboro Plaza, Queens Bridge) or the Ravel Hotel shuttle.

Hotel Le Bleu | 370 4th Avenue, Brooklyn | 718.625.1500| hotellebleu.com
The one thing this uber-modern, cobalt chic Park Slope hotel is missing will arrive in 2009 in the form of Vue: a futuristic 150-seat restaurant (with room for up to 300) and rooftop bar featuring Continental fare. Designed by award-winning architect Andres Escobar, the sleek steel structure offers special room rates starting at $169 and is in close proximity to many of the borough’s cultural attractions like the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, and the antique district of Atlantic Avenue. Hotel Le Bleu’s eighth floor will soon be another reason to spend a quick getaway in BK—it’s old meets blue.

How to get there: Take the F train to 4th Avenue and head north on 4th towards 8th street for 1.8 miles.

Photo: Courtesy of Ravel Hotel