By Madeline Bilis
July 10, 2019
Courtesy of Lotte New York Palace

Hotels in New York City are a special breed. They’re storied, stately, and numerous — hundreds of them exist in Manhattan alone. So when it comes to choosing where to stay in this one-of-a-kind place, it’s no surprise readers value history, elegance, and wonder. They weed out the average options to savor the true gems.

Every year for our World’s Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top hotels, resorts, cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. Hotels were rated on their facilities, location, service, food, and overall value. Properties were classified as city or resort based on their locations and amenities.

Take the castle-like High Line Hotel, which came in at No. 5 on this year’s list. With its stained-glass windows and red-brick turrets, former dormitories of the Grand Theological Seminary has a commanding presence on 10th Avenue. Inside, oversize windows in each room overlook either the High Line or the hotel’s leafy enclosed courtyard.

While the High Line Hotel acts as an entry point to Chelsea, the Chatwal, voted No. 3 this year, opens to the door to midtown. “What an amazing hidden gem in the heart of the most energetic city,” one reader gushed. The Chatwal’s historic neo-Georgian building sits among skyscrapers, while other properties offer views of Central Park — for instance the Surrey, which invites visitors to marvel at the park from its private roof garden. No. 15, the Carlyle, on the Upper East Side, possesses a unique charm, thanks to Bemelmans Bar, a sophisticated spot named for the illustrator of the Madeline book series, who hand-painted the bar’s wallpaper.

As for the No. 1 pick this year? It’s a familiar sight on the list, managing to dazzle T+L readers year after year.

15. The Carlyle, a Rosewood Hotel

Courtesy of The Carlyle, A Rosewood Hotel

Score: 90.04

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14. Park South, A Joie de Vivre Hotel

Courtesy of Park South, A Joie de Vivre Hotel

Score: 90.20

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13. Four Seasons Hotel New York Downtown

Courtesy of Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts

Score: 90.21

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12. Aliz Hotel Times Square

Courtesy of Aliz Hotel Times Square

Score: 90.22

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11. The Iroquois New York

Courtesy of The Iroquois New York

Score: 90.50

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10. Archer

Courtesy of Archer Hotel New York

Score: 90.84

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9. The Surrey

Courtesy of The Surrey

Score: 91.33

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8. The Greenwich Hotel

Courtesy of The Greenwich Hotel

Score: 91.62

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7. Lotte New York Palace

Courtesy of Lotte New York Palace

Score: 91.93

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6. Hotel 50 Bowery , A Joie de Vivre Hotel

Courtesy of Hotel 50 Bowery, A Joie de Vivre Hotel

Score: 92.40

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5. The High Line Hotel

Courtesy of The High Line Hotel

Score: 93.50

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4. The Mark

Todd Eberle/Courtesy of The Mark

Score: 94.40

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3. The Chatwal

Courtesy of The Chatwal

Score: 94.58

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2. The Whitby Hotel

Courtesy of The Whitby Hotel

Score: 94.75

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1. The Lowell

Courtesy of The Lowell

Score: 95.29

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For the second year in a row, the Lowell tops New York City’s list of best hotels. That hardly comes as a surprise to one returning guest, though: “I have been staying in this hotel for over 28 years for both business and pleasure,” this reader wrote. “It is one of the best in the world!” The Upper East Side landmark features recently renovated public spaces, plus a top-notch spot for high tea: the sparkling Pembroke Room. “The Lowell is one of a kind,” wrote another reader. “It has a pedigree that gives it a gravitas in the field of luxury New York City hotels, yet it has stayed relevant in today’s top end of the market.”

See all of our readers' favorite hotels, cities, airlines, cruise lines, and more in the World's Best Awards for 2019.