Gramercy Park Hotel Rating: 5.0 Pearls

The Gramercy Park Hotel currently sets the bar for New York cool -- hence the celebrities in the lounge and the paparazzi on the sidewalk. True, even guests sometimes feel excluded from the glamour-fest in the bar. But the place is utterly unique.

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Boutique Hotels in Gramercy and Murray Hill, New York City (1 of 22)

 The Gramercy Park Hotel currently sets the bar for New York cool -- hence the celebrities in the lounge and the paparazzi on the sidewalk. True, even guests sometimes feel excluded from the glamour-fest in the bar. But the place is utterly unique.
The Gramercy Park Hotel currently sets the bar for New York cool -- hence the celebrities in the lounge and the paparazzi on the sidewalk. True, even guests sometimes feel excluded from the glamour-fest in the bar. But the place is utterly unique. Heavy on the velvet, handsomely designed, and extraordinarily comfortable. W Hotels' 270-room Union Square property greatly resembles other W's in New York: comfortable beds, modern rooms, an excellent gym, and plenty of business travelers in the butterfly-decorated, techno-soundtracked lobby. The difference: this one's downtown, near the bar-filled East Village and media-mecca Flatiron. Rooms feature great beds, extensive minibars, and high-end Bliss bath products. But they're also dark and poorly insulated from street noise, even on the 11th floor. Unassuming in every way, the Hotel Giraffe is extremely comfortable (if not quite luxurious), quiet, and relaxed. Service is warm, meticulous, and thougthful. Free breakfasts and wine-and-cheese hours add to the homey atmosphere. The rooms are very comfortable and light-filled -- but not quite luxurious -- with clean, contemporary furniture, all the modern conveniences, and unusually spacious bathrooms. An offshoot of the Starwood hotel chain, the W Tuscany brings a little hipness to the conventional business hotel. The in-house gym, Sweat, and the W's famous beds are consistent crowd-pleasers. But the Murray Hill location is about business more than nightlife. The rooms are big at the W Tuscany. The design -- brown carpet, matching brown chaise lounge, brown bed comforter, and deep ruby red curtains -- is a little dated by New York boutique standards. Located on an especially quiet, residential strip of snazzy Park Avenue in Murray Hill, the Japanese-owned, 149-room Kitano's appeal is in the details -- in-room towel warmers, soundproof windows, and a free morning shuttle to Wall Street. The rooms seemed to be designed with a Japanese sensibility, with the placement of every piece of furniture thought out carefully. There are no unusual corners or misuse of space -- even rooms in the back of the hotel get a lot of natural light, and the bedroom is situated a good distance away from the door to ensure quiet and privacy. The unassuming Murray Hill location of the Court, a low-key, 198-room outpost of the once-hip W chain, translates to less attitude and better service from the staff. A convenient base for exploring the city, huge rooms, and wonderfully comfortable beds make for a very good hotel, but customers definitely pay extra for the name. Hip hotelier Ian Schrager's first property, the 114-room Morgans, opened in 1984 as a discreet hangout for the regulars of his infamous Studio 54 and is often considered the original "boutique" hotel. Morgans' newly renovated rooms are spotless and are a pretty average size for New York hotels, but the design is boring and the bathrooms still need work. A relaxed, 205-room Kimpton hotel, 70 Park is located in Murray Hill, three blocks south of Midtown East's corporate towers. Features are scarce -- no spa, no fitness center, and only a slight business center -- but a knowledgeable concierge, free daily wine, and eco-safe practices make it a comfortable, conscionable option. The comfortable and quiet rooms have some high-end perks, like a 42-inch flat-screen TV, an iHome iPod docking radio, organic treats in the minibar, L'Occitane bath products, and electric candela candles. A quiet boutique on Madison Avenue in the less touristy area of Murray Hill, Roger Williams has a cool lounge, an affordable restaurant, and a modern gym. Rooms are stylish and tiny like most N.Y.C. hotel rooms, but the service is among the best in the city. Talking about the room design is a matter of taste. If you're not a fan of Ikea or contemporary Scandinavian design, then the rooms would probably turn you off. Bright, bold colors dominate the space and geometric patterns are spread throughout the room. Located in an quieter, residential neighborhood more popular among locals than tourists, the Marcel fits a bit of style and top-notch comforts -- like Lather bath products -- into its 135 well-designed guest rooms. Though it lacks a gym and charges extra for Wi-Fi, its popular on-site wine bar and restaurant and beautiful outdoor terrace tend to compensate. Located in Murray Hill, a quieter, less-touristed area in the middle of Manhattan, the charming, 123-room Hotel Chandler offers nightly turndowns, a sauna, top-notch bedding, and Aveda bath products. The guest rooms are simply decorated with wooden furniture, soft carpeting, and velvet chairs, but some rooms are small and lack natural light.
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