The 149-room Kitano hotel could not have a better location for business or leisure travelers. It is on Park Avenue in Manhattan’s Murray Hill neighborhood, close to top sites such as the Empire State Building, Grand Central Station, Broadway, and hundreds of shops and restaurants. Subway lines and bus routes are just blocks away, and the hotel offers complimentary car transportation to Wall Street. The property is also a historic building of note: originally owned by the Rockefeller family, it was purchased by the Kitano Group in 1973 and became the first Japanese hotel in New York. Rooms, starting at 305 square feet, are quiet and tranquil thanks to muted earth tones, marble bathrooms, and soundproof glass windows. Amenities include daily newspapers (New York Times, USA Today, and a handful of Japanese papers); Gilchrist & Soames bath products, 42-inch plasma TVs, and complimentary Wi-Fi. The hotel also has the only authentic Japanese Tatami Suite in the Big Apple, completely built with materials from Japan such as all-natural wood floors and shoji paper screens. Among the hotel’s three restaurants and bars, Hakubai Japanese Restaurant is one of only a few in the city that serves traditional kaiseki cuisine, known for its delicateflavors and artful presentation. While menu items read simply (kelp served with herring roe or shrimp with shiitake mushrooms, for example), dishes are often very complex, served in hand-painted bowls or delicate wooden boxes.