NYC Hotels: For a Classic Experience, Opt for a Grand Dame

With more than 350 years of wisdom, New York City has perfected the tourist experience. From the out-of-this-world bagel to the ideal soundtrack, walking the streets of the city is always unforgettable, no matter how many times you visit. Finding a place to sleep is one detail that can ease your way around town. “Location, location, location…” will color your journey with fondness rather than a cookie-cutter experience that will have you bemoaning that all the hotels in New York City are "just too small." Elegance and not a touch of snobbery at these very confident grand dame properties will color your memories forever.

These prime New York City hotels are certainly not small, nor will they be disappointing. They are, as Tina Turner would say, "Simply the best." Choose a hotel built in 1906 in the heart of Times Square or one that dates back to 1927 that overlooks Madison Avenue and is less than a block from Central Park. The Mark certainly hits all the right marks. Or splash out at one of the city's most iconic hotels, The Carlyle, The St. Regis New York, The Pierre with brass detailing and marble staircases that will transport you to a time of lavish elegance. At one property you even get your own butler, dressed in black tails, to take all your worries away (and your laundry, too). Langham Place is home to its own Michelin-starred restaurant, while the Library Hotel and the Knickerbocker are promise intimacy and tranquility right in the heart of the action.

Some of these hotels are splurges, while others can be found for lower rates if you plan well in advance. And with so many top-notch hotels from which to choose, you will just want to come back for more. Besides, you’re worth the best of the best.


Robert De Niro. The man doesn't only do movies, he also does real estate: hotels and restaurants. He does this hotel in particular, which seems to bridge the gap between casual and rustic. The Greenwich Hotel is an eight-story property with 88 rooms that are uniquely decorated. You may stay in a room that isn't shy with the zebra prints or pad around on a bathroom floor that is decorated with Moroccan floor tiles. The minibars are delightfully free (except for the alcohol. Let's not get crazy.). The basement houses the state-of-the-art fitness centre and spa, with teak-and-bamboo walls that keep the air fragrant. Group yoga classes are available daily at 8am. In Casino, De Niro said There are three ways of doing things around here: the right way, the wrong way and the way that I do it." This is HIS way and you're bound to love it.

Recommended for Best Hotels because: From urban Italian cooking at Locanda Verde to one-of-a-kind hotel rooms, a stay at the Greenwich Hotel is old-world New York charm all the way.

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If you fancy yourself a bibliophile, The Library Hotel is likely your idea of paradise. Each of the 10 guestroom floors honors one of the 10 categories of the Dewy Decimal System. The 60 rooms are not only filled with the traditional hotel amenities, but also are rich with books and art. Deep wood furnishings outfit the rooms, befitting as a backdrop for a bespectacled librarian. A lavish continental breakfast and an evening Prosecco reception are two of the perks. But let's be honest: it's all about the books. The 14th Floor Writer's Den and Poetry Garden provides sublime views of New York City architecture, while the private reading room allows access to hundreds of books. Sip a complimentary cafe au lait while you thumb through the pages and embrace your inner intellectual.

Recommended for Best Hotels because: Steps away from the New York Public Library that is worth a look since its recent renovations, The Library Hotel is a literary delight.

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It will be difficult to find a New York hotel with a more desirable address than the Knickerbocker. It was the first luxury hotel in Times Square. Opened in 1906, it certainly has had its renovations and today it is sleekly appealing and comfortably modern. It still retains its old-world class, because what was good enough for F. Scott Fitzgerald (who wrote here for a time) is good enough for us. Guest rooms are delightfully large, with walk-in rain showers and writing desks to help you pen the next great American novel. It is a must to visit their rooftop bar, with unparalleled views of the city decked out in billboards and bright lights. The hotel is the rumored birthplace of the martini, so what better place to drink? Charlie Palmer restaurant surpasses every hotel restaurant stereotype that you may have.

Recommended for Best Hotels because: Couple a location in the heart of the New York social scene with an exciting history and you get the glamorous Knickerbocker.

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Just a block east of Central Park on Madison Avenue, the residential-style Carlyle happens to be the very best small East Side hotel. Two of the very best reasons to stay at the Carlyle are its outstanding restaurant and the entertainment.. Built in 1930, it is named after British essayist Thomas Carlyle. Prince William and Kate have found it good enough for them, so likely it is exceptional for the rest of us. More recently, this is where Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise hosted a party for their daughter, Suri. Its 193 rooms and suites are all luxuriously appointed, and there are apartment rentals for those who get a little too used to the good life. The old-fashioned touches are charming, with real keys rather than plastic ones to open doors, and an elevator attendant that performs the tough job of pressing the button for you. Wake up to an amazing buffet breakfast with fresh croissants and fruit.

Recommended for Best Hotels because: A swanky residential hotel that will wow you with everything from the exceptional entertainment to the plushest of linens.

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The St. Regis in New York is luxuriously appointed and ideally located on 5th Avenue in Manhattan. From enormous floral arrangements in the lobby to your own private butler, there is no detail too small for the staff at the St. Regis. Recently renovated and redesigned, the 171 guestrooms and 67 suites are outfitted with textured fabric walls and marble entryways. The walls are hung with art and photography inspired by New York. Even the butlers have traded in their silver trays for smartphones. John Jacob Astor IV, who first conceived The St. Regis, had the vision to create "the finest hotel in the world." Well done, sir.

Recommended for Best Hotels because: This bastion of old New York has been modernized without losing its charm. New New York looks good too.

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If you're planning an early morning or evening visit to the Empire State Building when you are in New York, consider staying at Langham Place. They are neighbors. In fact, Langham Place has found itself the unwitting backdrop to many tourist photos and film backdrops. Not that it minds. This high-class hotel has 214 residential-styled guestrooms with details such as Swedish Duxiana beds with Italian linens by Pratesi and large marble bathrooms with gentle rainfall showers. Guest rooms have sublime skyline views and walk in closets if you decide you want to stay awhile (and who wouldn't?).

Recommended for Best Hotels because: From its Michelin-starred restaurant, Ai Fiori, to urban sophistication, Langham Place will steep you in luxury after you visit the classiest streets of Manhattan.

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Upper East Side

Its Triple AAA five diamond status is testimony to not only a fabulous retreat decked out in lavish murals, chandeliers, and gold leaf, it also means its guests love the place. A truly intimate respite from bustling New York City, the elegant rooms and suites hve lofty ceilings, soft lighting and peaceful interiors. The storied Rotunda, an iconic room within The Pierre, was re-imagined by renowned architect and designer Daniel Romualdez. As posh as this place is, The Pierre has room for the little ones. Call it brand recognition or nurturing the next generation, this place is child proof and invites kids to learn the finer things in life, like delicious food under the tutelage of a resident chef.

Recommended for Best Hotels because: A perfect location with bountiful amenities for short stays when you want to see everything without sacrificing your beauty sleep. Watch for third-night-free offers.

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From the minute the doorman greets you at The Ritz Carlton in New York, you know that you are in very good hands. Central Park is kind of a big deal in New York, so if it is possible for your pocketbook, why not stay steps away in the heart of luxury? With one of the best views of the city, you can fall asleep on 400-thread-count French sateen linens or 800-thread-count satin bed linens in the suites. Take full advantage of the park view room with telescopes and bird watching books, but make sure you watch birds so that you don't come off as a stalker. Make sure to visit the Ritz-Carlton Club Lounge on the second floor and enjoy a cocktail while overlooking a breathtaking view of that famous park and Midtown Manhattan. Ask about the Ritz-Kids is an engaging educational program in partnership with Jean-Michel Cousteau's Ocean Futures Society.

Recommended for Best Hotels because: This oasis invites you into the open magical air of Central Park; its Battery Park location is another story to savor on your next visit.

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The Sherry-Netherland not only has a dramatic name, but also a signature sidewalk clock that beckons you inside. It defines itself as an "expression of privilege since 1927." The mural on the hotel lobby ceiling was inspired by Raphael's frescoes in Cardinal Bibbiena's Loggetta in the Vatican Palace and was recently restored to its former 1920s glory. Rooms have enviable views with king-sized beds and marble baths. Considering the location, it is highly recommended to splurge on their "Picnic in Central Park" offer. Along with your room with a view, you will also be presented with a prepared picnic basket of charcuterie and cheeses.

Recommended for Best Hotels because: This hotel will exceed your expectations, even if your expectations are sky-high.

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The Mark
Photo courtesy of Francesco Tonelli

This 5-star luxury hotel is located on Madison Avenue just near Central Park. We have two words for you: ka ching. If you have the dollars to spend, The Mark will give you a hotel experience unlike any other. Designer Jacques Grange applied his bold eye to the details of each room with features like Madison Avenue views and walk-in closets. Borrow one of their custom bicycles with a striped chain case and monogrammed bell for a chic ride around Central Park. Take advantage of their partnership with Bergdorf Goodman and have an exclusive, personal shopper experience 24 hours a day. From Beetlejuice striped floors to televisions hiding in your bathroom mirrors, staying at the Mark is a mark above the rest. Ask about the Artist's Afternoon Tea and avail yourself of a private guided tour of the museum of your choice.

Recommended for Best Hotels because: Be vigilant for remarkable offers of 20% or more off when you book The Mark for two nights or more.

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Meet Maria Lisella

No matter how many countries Maria Lisella has visited (62), this native New Yorker finds the world at her doorstep in amazing Queens where its residents speak 138 languages.

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