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, though they all have floor-to-ceiling windows that frame classic Manhattan cityscapes, such as the Hudson River and Central Park, and each is furnished with opulent Asian-inspired details, including silk bedspreads and pillows in rich colors of ivory, blue, and gold, and paintings by Taiwanese artist Paul Ching-Bor. The 14,500-square-foot spa (which includes a Vitality Pool and an Amethyst Crystal steam room) is quite possibly the city's best.