The Plaza Rating: 5.0 Pearls
It could be said that no other New York hotel is as synonymous with luxury as the century-old Plaza, which received a $400 million renovation in 2008. Among the highlights -- a Rolls Royce to take you around town, a 24-hour concierge, 24-hour room service, and your own hallway butler on 24-hour call.
The Greenwich Hotel Rating: 5.0 Pearls
This virtually flawless 88-room TriBeCa newcomer (opened in 2008 by Robert de Niro, among others) offers large, homey rooms, breathtaking design, and very attentive service. Even better: free Wi-Fi; free minibar snacks; and free Wii video games by request. Better still: an underground pool; a standout Japanese spa; a premier gym; and the new Locanda Verde restaurant.
Mandarin Oriental, New York Rating: 5.0 Pearls
In the same building as some of the city's best restaurants, and across the street from Central Park, the Mandarin's location is ideal. But it's the hotel's dizzying array of modern luxuries -- a 75-foot pool, one of the city's best spas, sweeping views from nearly every common area, and huge bathrooms with deep soaking tubs (even in standard rooms) -- that make this a true standout among the stars.
The Mark Rating: 5.0 Pearls
The Mark, an historic hotel built in 1927, re-opened in 2009 as one of the best contemporary luxury hotels in New York. The hotel's stunning interiors by France's premier designer are colorful and bold rather than gilded and stuffy, and there's a restaurant and bar from one of New York's most famous chefs. Comfortable, high-tech rooms and personalized service make it a great option for anyone who can afford it.
Trump SoHo New York Rating: 4.5 Pearls
Donald Trump's first hotel in downtown New York has the attention to detail and hands-on service you'd expect from a Trump property, but the slightly hipper vibe and great SoHo location cater to a younger set. The exclusive, celebrity-filled Kastel bar and the pricey Quattro restaurant are the hotel's main features, but a spa and pool are forthcoming.
Gramercy Park Hotel Rating: 4.5 Pearls
The Pierre - A Taj Hotel Rating: 4.5 Pearls
An elegant, historic hotel across the street from Central Park, the Pierre offers a taste of grand old New York to those staying in any of its freshly renovated guest rooms that come complete with Frette linens and Molton Brown toiletries. The large staff is white-glove formal; guests aren't even allowed to push the elevator buttons themselves.
The Surrey Rating: 4.5 Pearls
After a $60 million renovation, this 190-room hotel on the Upper East Side is ready to pull guests away from the nearby Carlyle with room service by Cafe Boulud, a guest-only rooftop garden with butler service, and some of the most comfortable hotel beds in New York.
Four Seasons New York Rating: 5.0 Pearls
Legendary architect I.M. Pei designed the public areas to adhere to a rigorous symmetry. But the enormous rooms value comfort and convenience over adventurous style, making the Four Seasons a premier choice among high-profile business travelers.
The Peninsula New York Rating: 4.5 Pearls
The 239-room Peninsula has small TVs in the standard rooms, but the indoor pool, superb gym (free workout gear, organic teas, and a sauna and steam room), widely praised spa and salon, and in-room fax machines make it a fine choice for a quiet, classically luxurious hotel. And for designer shopping, its 5th Avenue location is ideal.
The James New York Rating: 4.5 Pearls
This 114-room SoHo boutique, with a stunning rooftop bar and pool, great freebies (including free Wi-Fi and free nightly wine and cheese), forthcoming restaurant by David Burke, and a hotel art curator, embodies the hip, creative neighborhood it inhabits. Its bright, minimalist rooms are smaller than those at some of its luxury competitors (including the nearby Trump SoHo), but they're full of enough thoughtful details to make up for it.