Once the credit crunch de-crunches (or whatever it's called), no doubt all the fancypants boutique hotels desperately slashing their rates now will resume their practice of charging up to $500 a night, just because they can.
In the meantime, today's Manhattan User's Guide suggests you stick with these 9 lovely hotels that were priced fairly before the recession: From the UWS's On the Ave (which -- bonus! -- houses the uptown outpost of the excellent Malaysian-fusion joint Fatty Crab) all the way down to Park Slope's Hotel Le Bleu (yes, it's next to a taxi depot -- but the brownstones are a block away), with options in every desirable neighborhood in-between (like the quirky Jane Hotel in the Meatpacking District, with its themed rooms such as the Darjeeling Limited sleeper car room). MUG has them all mapped via Google, so you can send the link directly to your next out-of-town visitors.
We couldn't agree more. These are the places that deserve to be kept in business. Let the rest figure out how to pay off their Venetian blown-glass water fountains and bedside soundsystem docks.