Best Hotels in New York City
While some of these properties are already well known, we love them for their hidden charms, such as under-the-radar movie screenings or courtyard tea service. Get the scoop on the top hotels in New York City, based on readers’ votes in our annual World’s Best Awards survey.
No. 1 St. Regis, New York
Built in 1904, and still gleaming from its 2005 renovation, this Beaux-Arts beauty is a well-polished monument to old New York. The lobby is a model of old-school opulence, with a trompe l’oeil ceiling, Corinthian-capped pilasters, and a king’s ransom in marble and gold trim. In the dark-wood-paneled Cognac Room, the ghosts of brandy-sipping patricians linger beneath the antique paintings; and the mahogany King Cole Bar (birthplace of the Bloody Mary) looks better than ever now that decades of tobacco residue have been scrubbed from its famous mural. The 256 redone rooms all have canopy beds, paisley carpets, and silk wall coverings—and each floor comes with its own tuxedoed 24-hour butler. Alain Ducasse's newest restaurant, Adour, opened on-site to great fanfare.
No. 2 Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park
The sight (and, it must be said, smell) of carriage horses greets you as you enter this 33-story, limestone-fronted building on the southern edge of Central Park. Transformed from the St. Moritz Hotel in 2002, it has a laid-back, town house feel (tasseled damask curtains, fringed armchairs) and is known for its beyond-the-call-of-duty service. The multilingual staff—which includes bath butlers, a tech butler (for troubleshooting laptop issues), a gemologist, and an award-winning concierge team—will loan you (or your dog) a Burberry trench coat if it's raining, and come evening, the chauffeured house Bentley is at your disposal. The 259 rooms and suites, done up in taupe and pale rose tones, come with damask curtains and four pillow choices; bathrooms are outfitted with deep soaking tubs and Frederic Fekkai amenities. Cap off your stay with drinks at the African-wood Star Lounge, adorned by potted palms and original Samuel Halpert paintings of New York.
No. 3 The Four Seasons, New York
Raising the opulence bar—even for a Four Seasons property—this soaring, sleek, I. M. Pei-designed tower epitomizes the cool high life in this coolest of American cities. The spare stone façade leads to a cavernous marble lobby, where the voices of arriving guests echo among angular stone columns and vaulted skylit ceilings. Fifty-two stories high, the hotel has 364 rooms with views overlooking the midtown skyline (if you’re facing north) and Central Park (to the south); the higher you go, the better and more expensive the vantage point. The average 600-square-foot size is massive by NYC standards, and all rooms are kitted out with clean-lined wood furniture; velvety fabrics in shades of champagne and cream; and spacious marble baths, many with soaking tubs that fill in 60 seconds. The amenities include a spa offering rose-petal foot soaks and the sublime L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon restaurant.
No. 4 Trump International Hotel & Tower New York
This soaring black monolith on Columbus Circle, with its gold awning that seems to jut out into traffic, isn’t the subtlest hotel in town—but then The Donald has never been known for his modesty. In fact, when the Mandarin Oriental opened nearby in 2003, Trump boasted (in block letters, on the side of the Trump) that his hotel had the better Central Park views. The thing is, though—he’s right. The Trump’s 35 Park View Suites, each 900 or 950 square feet with nine-foot windows overlooking the park's south end, really do feel as though they’re directly on top of Manhattan’s greenest patch. Even the rest of the hotel’s 167 units, though, feel like tricked-out condos; all are modern, with cream-colored fabrics, large closets, and jetted tubs; all suites have full kitchens. You’re not treated like royalty here as much as like a bigwig executive; the staff includes personal “attachés” who can arrange your meeting schedules and stock your fridge before you arrive, and a cadre of personal trainers who can tailor your workout or set the pace as you jog in the park.
No. 5 Mandarin Oriental, New York
As sumptuous and plush as the Four Seasons (a few blocks away) is slick and modern, the popular MO occupies the 35th through the 54th floors of the Time Warner Center at the southwest corner of Central Park. The hotel is accessed via a special elevator in an entryway decorated with a giant, fiery-looking Dale Chihuly sculpture. Of the 248 rooms, many of them are on the small side, and some have views that are compromised by neighboring high-rises. Still, all are furnished with opulent Asian-inspired details, including silk bedspreads and pillows in rich colors of scarlet and gold, Japanese brush paintings, and in some suites, cushy Oriental rugs. The 14,500-square-foot spa (which includes a glassed-in 75-foot-long pool and Espa treatments like ayurvedic scalp stimulation and Thai yoga massage) is quite possibly the city’s best.
No. 6 NoMad Hotel
It took a New York minute for the long-overlooked stretch between the Flatiron and Herald Square to go from interstitial wasteland to Manhattan’s “it” neighborhood. Out went the wig shops and counterfeit perfume dealers; in came glittery nightspots and brand-name chefs. The tipping point? The elegantly burnished NoMad Hotel, which opened in a 1903 Beaux-Arts tower on 28th Street. Developer Andrew Zobler—whose Ace Hotel jump-started the area’s transformation in 2009—has partnered with chef Daniel Humm and restaurateur Will Guidara, the acclaimed duo behind Eleven Madison Park. The NoMad’s 168 Jacques Garcia–designed guest rooms channel old New York, with atelier-inspired furniture and claw-foot tubs. But you’re likely to spend more time in the five—yes, five—dining rooms and bars downstairs, where walls of bookshelves and mohair banquettes provide a sexy backdrop for Humm’s signature foie-gras-and-truffle-stuffed chicken.
No. 7 Andaz Wall Street
Perhaps a sign that things are looking up on Wall Street: Hyatt’s bullish move to open the tech-savvy, David Rockwell–designed Andaz. Hosts carry handheld PC’s used to make key cards on the spot, and at Bar Seven Five, located at the top of an undulating staircase, a bartender will prepare Manhattans tableside from a Pullman-style caddy. The 253 guest rooms feature seven-foot-high windows, which means that the bleached wood interiors (complete with soaking tubs) are flooded with natural light. In lieu of a conventional check-in desk, a host greets you in the lobby, offers you a seat and a glass of wine, and enters your name into a handheld e-tablet that looks something like an iPad. After swiping your credit card and producing a key card, the host escorts you to your room—which, for around $275, features 345 square feet of crisply designed and furnished space, 10-foot ceilings, dark stained-oak floors, and a long, transparent window between the bedroom and the bathtub.
No. 8 Andaz 5th Avenue
The city’s second property from Hyatt’s boutique brand—located directly across from the New York Public Library—has 184 loftlike guest rooms with 12-foot floor-to-ceiling windows and muted interiors by designer Tony Chi. With the signature Andaz check-in process (there’s no reception desk), you’ll be greeted by a tablet-toting host who accommodates you throughout your stay. Nods to New York City fill every nook and cranny: high-profile artists decorate the ever-changing Fifth Avenue doors with their vision of Gotham; the Shop restaurant incorporates fresh food from local purveyors (donuts from Brooklyn’s popular Dough bakery); and guest room sconces resemble early 1900s subway lanterns. And if you’ve been strolling the streets in sandals on a scorching summer day, you’ll certainly appreciate thebathroom’s porcelain footbath.
No. 9 The Pierre
The Pierre-by-Taj refreshes the luxury and exclusivity that have long defined the hotel. From that unparalleled location—at the southeast corner of Central Park—to a reputation for quality and discretion that has attracted and coddled guests of wealth and taste from Britain’s Prince Philip to the Rolling Stones, the Pierre has always been one of New York’s top-tier hotels. The new Pierre—lighter, more contemporary, but still an assured grande dame—was unveiled in stages. First, Taj hired designer Alexandra Champalimaud to refresh the Grand Ballroom and the Cotillion Room. Then, every room and suite was redesigned by James Park Associates of Singapore. They now hint at Taj’s ownership with Indian-made window treatments and handwoven carpets and South Asian art chosen by a Mumbai gallerist. The Pierre has also installed state-of-the-art electronic systems in every room, and bathrooms have been enlarged and equipped with wall-to-wall marble, deep tubs, and glass showers with rain heads.
No. 10 Ritz-Carlton New York, Battery Park
Set at the southern tip of Manhattan, this Ritz may be the only hotel in the city where you'll wake to the morning cries of seagulls. The 39-story tower's location is either a huge selling point or an inconvenience, depending on your point of view: although it's set far from most of the city's main attractions, it's also set far from crowds, and the natural light that floods through the windows—reflected off the waters of the Hudson—is of a quality you won't find elsewhere here. These simpler pleasures—light, quiet, views of the Statue of Liberty and passing ships—are the real reasons to stay here; the customary Ritz-Carlton crystal-and-marble formality isn't much in evidence. The 298 lemon-yellow and sea-green rooms—all with Frette linens and Bulgari bath products—start at a spacious 425 square feet; those with harbor views have window telescopes. Abstract works by New York artists hang on walls throughout the hotel, while gently curving hallways and Art Deco touches allude to the cruise liners that once called at the adjoining harbor.
No. 11 Hôtel Plaza Athénée, New York
One of the few independent hotels left in Manhattan, this 142-room bijou is cherished by Europeans (and savvy celebrities) for its intimacy and attentive staff. Set on a quiet, tree-lined street off Madison Avenue, the hotel entry has a hushed, secret-garden ambience; guests check in while seated at an antique French desk, then pass huge granite urns of cascading flowers on their way to the elevators. Guest rooms are decorated with fanciful elegance—marble bathrooms, fine Italian linens, gold Paul Garnier wall clocks—while architectural drawings add a touch of civility to public spaces. In the afternoons, guests can join well-heeled locals for cocktails or afternoon tea in the dusky, leather-floored Bar Seine.
No. 12 The Carlyle, A Rosewood Hotel
A stylish classic, the Carlyle gets all the details right—from the chessboard floors and (still-working!) mail chutes to the new Empire Suite, a cashmere-walled, $15,000-a-night duplex designed by Thierry Despont and curated by the Metropolitan Museum of Art. A haven for presidents and blue bloods since 1930, the Carlyle has a pedigreed past, to say the least; it's easy to imagine Jackie Kennedy and Audrey Hepburn bumping into one another at lunch—oh wait, they did. Each of the 187 surpassingly tasteful rooms is unique, but many feature Louis XVI-style furnishings and black-marble bathrooms courtesy of decorator Alexandra Champalimaud, who recently revamped the –05 line. Audubon prints and hardwood floors throughout the hotel are original; cocktails at Bemelmans (with murals by the author of the Madeline children's books) and cabaret at the recently spiffed-up Café Carlyle are two nonpareil experiences of uptown nightlife.
No. 13 The Surrey
Set in a landmark 17-story Beaux-Arts-style building on Madison Avenue and 76th Street, the 190-room hotel reopened in 2009 following a $60 million top-down restoration led by award-winning designer Lauren Rottet. The result? An aesthetic nod to uptown swank (the Bar Pleiades has beige-quilted walls that were inspired by a Chanel handbag) mixed with contemporary accents (a striking six-foot tapestry of Kate Moss greets guests in the lobby). Spruced-up rooms and suites—in shades of gray, cream, and white—have Duxiana beds, Pratesi bathrobes, and exclusive amenities from perfumer Laura Tonatto. Other tony features: a 2,200-square-foot, private rooftop garden; a deluxe room service menu from Café Boulud; and the relocated Cornelia Spa, which opened at the property in July 2012.
No. 14 The London NYC
Since opening in late 2006, the London may have received less press than its Gordon Ramsay-run in-house restaurant, but this elegant, all-suite hotel justly deserves its own following. The 562 suites, the smallest of which are an expansive 500 square feet, are models of streamlined elegance; the parquet oak floors, dark embossed-leather desks, and curving velvet banquettes were all chosen by designer David Collins, who has worked his magic at some of Europe's chicest hotels. All bathrooms are furnished by Waterworks with sunken marble tubs, showers with dueling "rain" showerheads, and sumptuous bath towels and robes. Book a table at Mr. Ramsay's only stateside restaurant a month early; if you can't get in, try for a slate-blue banquette at his less-formal spot, Maze—or just order room service from the restaurant.