The Pierre - A Taj Hotel Rating: 4.5 Pearls

Built in 1930, the Pierre features a stately neo-Georgian exterior and an ornately detailed interior, especially in its ballrooms and the rotunda, where every inch of the curved walls and high ceiling are covered by trompe l’oeil paintings. With the $100 million, 15-month renovation completed in 2009, however, a few Indian touches -- some furniture and colorful silks in the guest rooms and artwork from Indian artists in the lobby -- were added to the hotel. The overall look is opulent elegance -- not so much East meets West as it is old New York made new.

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Deck the halls: See iconic New York City hotels dressed up for Christmas (20 of 20)

 Built in 1930, the Pierre features a stately neo-Georgian exterior and an ornately detailed interior, especially in its ballrooms and the rotunda, where every inch of the curved walls and high ceiling are covered by trompe l’oeil paintings. With the $100 million, 15-month renovation completed in 2009, however, a few Indian touches -- some furniture and colorful silks in the guest rooms and artwork from Indian artists in the lobby -- were added to the hotel. The overall look is opulent elegance -- not so much East meets West as it is old New York made new.
The Palace's famous façade, originally constructed as a private mansion in 1882, twinkles among a sea of Midtown skyscrapers. The original building was made into a hotel in 1980, at which time the 55-story hotel tower was added to make way for the 900 rooms. The Palace's famous façade, originally constructed as a private mansion in 1882, twinkles among a sea of Midtown skyscrapers. The original building was made into a hotel in 1980, at which time the 55-story hotel tower was added to make way for the 900 rooms. Built in 1931 (then the tallest and largest hotel in the world), the Waldorf-Astoria retains its stunning art deco grandeur. Every President since FDR has stayed in the presidential suite. The hotel is a short walk to Rockefeller Center, known for its giant Christmas tree and ice skating during the cold months. The century-old, 282-room Plaza is a New York landmark. A $400 million overhaul in 2008 gave the huge rooms gold-plated bathroom fixtures, but it also converted most rooms overlooking Central Park into privately owned residences. Still, the beautifully restored Oak Room, exceptional spa, and 24-hour butler service make it worth the splurge. Eloise at Christmastime -- a children's book set at the hotel -- follows the adventures of a precocious Plaza resident during the holidays. It could be said that no other New York hotel is as synonymous with luxury as The Plaza, or has carved out such a place in 20th-century culture. Truman Capote threw his famous Black and White Ball here; in North by Northwest, Cary Grant was captured by spies in the hotel's famous Oak Bar; F. Scott Fitzgerald staged part of The Great Gatsby here; on their first visit to the States, The Beatles took up an entire wing on the 15th floor. And at Christmastime, the hotel is decked out in lights and garlands, making it even more spectacular. Deliberately business-like, the 368-room Four Seasons in Midtown East has all the luxury essentials: stylish lobby, beck-and-call service, a fine spa and fitness center, and some of the city's largest rooms. Plus, guests can use spa facilities and enjoy beautiful Christmas decorations for free. In terms of high-design pedigree, it's hard to ask for more. The squad behind the Four Seasons' look reads like a laundry list of visionaries. I.M. Pei -- the legendary architect behind the Louvre Pyramid in Paris, the Bank of China Tower in Hong Kong, and the east building of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. -- designed the public areas with 33-foot ceilings, rigorous symmetry, and a whole lot of limestone. The lobby and guest rooms owe their look to Remedios Siembieda, the designers behind interiors at high-end hotels from Hong Kong to Munich to Bora Bora. The Gramercy Park Hotel currently sets the bar for New York cool -- hence the celebrities in the lounge and the paparazzi on the sidewalk. It offers ultra-luxe but small rooms done up in high Boho-chic style (even during the holidays), a gorgeous gym, and a young, attentive staff. A choice hangout for the hip, beautiful, and famous, this totally unique hotel has three happening bar/lounges, handsome and luxurious rooms, and state-of-the-art business and fitness centers. This large, luxurious Art Deco icon, located on the southern edge of Central Park, evokes the opulence of bygone times. With a recent redesign that put modern technological amenities in the rooms, the Essex House is moving comfortably into the future. The classic New York luxury of the Essex House evokes a more glamorous time, when men wore hats and women wore gloves. That timeless charm is enhanced by close proximity to the world-class shopping on Fifth Avenue, the world-class museums, and the world-class urban-pastoral playground that is Central Park. The extraordinary service at the grand, century-old St. Regis is rivaled only by the Plaza. The famed Bloody Mary at the King Cole Bar and a dinner at Alain Ducasse's Adour will surely warm you up this holiday season. Built in 1904, the 229-room St. Regis, combines historic details -- Beaux Arts architecture and butlers on call 24 hours a day -- with modern amenities -- blazing-fast Internet and flat-screen televisions that rise from the foot of the bed via remote control. This Ritz -- which features 259 rooms (including 47 suites) in a 33-story limestone building on Central Park South (the southern border of the park) -- was bought by Ritz-Carlton in 2000 and reopened in 2002, the same year their other NYC hotel, in Battery Park, opened. The two are similar in many ways. Both boast rooms with panoramic views. Each features a popular bar, an excellent gym, and a name-brand spa. The ritzier of the city's two Ritzes shoots for Old New York grandiosity. Its prime location adjacent to Central Park and Fifth Avenue's high-end shopping -- not to mention horse carriages -- further its cause. One of New York's most visually stunning hotels, the New York Palace has a gilded, grandiose style that is a little gaudy but still fabulous enough to blow away the boutiques. With 899 rooms, this is an excellent, modern (and less uptight) alternative to its Midtown East neighbor, the famed Waldorf-Astoria. Huge rooms (renovated in 2008), a luxe spa, and a fantastic gym make the Palace a steal for less than $300. The Palace's famous façade, originally constructed as a private mansion in 1882, twinkles among a sea of Midtown skyscrapers. The original building was made into a hotel in 1980, at which time the 55-story hotel tower was added to make way for the 900 rooms. Minimalist or subtle the Palace is not. It's filled with gold flourishes, columns, marble, chandeliers, and statues. Given its proximity to Midtown shopping, as well as ice skating and the famous tree at Rockefeller Center and the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall, the Palace is a prime holiday hotel pick. 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 189 small but freshly renovated guest rooms. The large staff is white-glove formal and caters to both hotel guests and building residents with a high degree of professionalism. Built in 1930, the Pierre features a stately neo-Georgian exterior and an ornately detailed interior, especially in its ballrooms and the rotunda, where every inch of the curved walls and high ceiling are covered by trompe l’oeil paintings. With the $100 million, 15-month renovation completed in 2009, however, a few Indian touches -- some furniture and colorful silks in the guest rooms and artwork from Indian artists in the lobby -- were added to the hotel. The overall look is opulent elegance -- not so much East meets West as it is old New York made new.
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