5 New York City hotel packages, from $160

/ Source: ARTHUR FROMMER'S BUDGET TRAVEL

Stay in the heart of the city over the holidays and go ice-skating, sip gourmet hot chocolate, and visit museums — on the house.

Apple Core Hotels, from $160 per room per night
The Filled-With-Love in the Big Apple package includes accommodations, breakfast daily, and one Filled-With-Love stuffed animal from the Toys "R" Us in Times Square (a must-see for any kid visiting the city). The value of the stuffed animal is about $15, and kids can decorate it. The starting rate of $160 per room per night is good at all five Apple Core hotels: the Comfort Inn Midtown, the Hotel at Times Square, the La Quinta Manhattan, the Red Roof Inn Manhattan, and the Ramada Inn Eastside.

When: Jan. 2-Feb. 14, 2009.

Details: Does not include taxes of 13 percent or local fees of $4 per room per night. Based on single or double occupancy. Package is available online only. Kids under 13 stay free; kids 14 and over pay the adult rate.

Contact: applecorehotels.com.

Casablanca Hotel, from $239 per room per night
The Savvy Senior Sundays package includes $30 off the best available Sunday night rate, a bottle of red wine, dark chocolates, turndown service, passes to New York Sports Club, and daily breakfast. There's also a complimentary evening wine and cheese reception at the hotel. The $239 rate is available at the Casablanca Hotel. This package is also available at the Hotel Giraffe from $259 and at the Hotel Elysee from $335.

When: Ongoing.

Details: Does not include taxes of 13 percent or local fees of $4 per room per night. Based on single or double occupancy. Valid on Sunday night stays only. At least one of the guests must be age 60 or over to qualify.

Contact: 212/869-1212, casablancahotel.com.

Affinia 50, from $285 per room per night
The Winter Wonderland package includes accommodations, ice-skating for two at Central Park's Wollman Rink, a tote bag, and a thermos with Jacques Torres hot chocolate for your outing (perks valued at $75). Also, $10 of your room rate will be donated to the nonprofit Common Ground. The lowest rate is at Affinia 50 in east Midtown, but the package is also available at Shelburne Murray Hill from $295 per room per night, and at Affinia Gardens and Affinia Manhattan from $305 per room per night. The $285 room rate is 10 percent off typical room rates.

When: Nov. 24, 2008-March 31, 2009. The starting rates goes up to $309 per room per night from Nov. 28-Dec. 31.

Details: Does not include taxes of 13 percent or local fees of $6 per room per night. Based on double occupancy; no single bookings.

Contact: 212/751-5710, affinia.com.

Buckingham Hotel, from $299 per room per night
The Go Mad About Art package includes accommodations and two tickets to the newly revamped Museum of Arts and Design (a $30 value) at Columbus Circle, just a few blocks from the Buckingham. You can see exhibits such as "Elegant Armor: The Art of Jewelry," which features jewelry dating back to the 1940s. The real savings in this package come in the room rate; the typical rate can be as high as $479 per room per night, so you're saving 38 percent by booking this package. Plus, the hotel is centrally located, so sightseeing is a cinch. Rates start at $299 per room per night, or $598 for the required two-night stay.

When: Through Dec. 28, 2008 (soldout Dec. 2-13).

Details: Does not include taxes of 13 percent and a hotel tax of $7. Based on single or double occupancy. Requires a minimum two-night stay. Use promo code GO MAD.

Contact: 888/511-1900, buckinghamhotel.com.

The Westin New York, from $299 per room per night
If you're staying the weekend, the Westin New York at Times Square will take 50 percent off your second night. The hotel is close to Broadway theaters, Central Park, and Bryant Park, where you can go ice skating for free. Rates start at $299 per room for the first night, or $449 for the required two-night stay (note that the second night is 50 percent off).

When: Through March 31, 2009.

Details: Does not include taxes of 13 percent or local fees of $4 per room per night. Based on single or double occupancy. Requires a minimum two-night stay. Valid Thursday through Sunday only. Use promo code ZBT.

Contact: 888/627-7149, westinny.com.

If you're just in the market for an affordable room rate without extra amenities, consider The Jane hotel, which opened in a landmark West Village building at the end of the summer. Rates for 50 small rooms—about 50 sq. ft. each—with communal bathrooms in the hall start at $99 per room per night. Find more hotel bargains by reading New York at a Price That's Right.

Planning a longer trip? Try an apartment rental. Roomorama has properties available in New York City for holiday stays. Also, you could consider the trend of house swapping—Budget Travel recently covered the secrets to a good house-swapping experience.

Getting there: A recent Kayak search yielded these fares to New York City in early December: $119 from Boston (Delta), $234 from Detroit (Delta), $300 from St. Louis (American), $306 from Miami (US Airways), and $354 from Seattle (Delta).