Mandarin Oriental, New York Rating: 5.0 Pearls

At this modern luxury hotel on the Upper West Side, massive rooms start at 420 square feet. The thoroughly modern rooms feature elegant Asian decor, high-tech electronics, and bathrooms that include small flat-screen TVs. Beds have pillow-top mattresses and Egyptian cotton sheets by Fili D'oro. Addition perks include a yoga mat and books labeled "Bedside Reading" -- like an ironic pairing of The Great Gatsby and "Warren Buffet and the Interpretation of Financial Statements." Guests are even encouraged to take the books home.

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Living large: The biggest and best hotel rooms in New York City (2 of 12)

 At this modern luxury hotel on the Upper West Side, massive rooms start at 420 square feet. The thoroughly modern rooms feature elegant Asian decor, high-tech electronics, and bathrooms that include small flat-screen TVs. Beds have pillow-top mattresses and Egyptian cotton sheets by Fili D'oro. Addition perks include a yoga mat and books labeled "Bedside Reading" -- like an ironic pairing of The Great Gatsby and "Warren Buffet and the Interpretation of Financial Statements." Guests are even encouraged to take the books home.
The 184-room, ultra-hip Gramercy Park Hotel currently sets the bar for New York cool -- hence the celebrities in the lounge and the paparazzi on the sidewalk.  Loft rooms, the standard rooms at this luxe downtown boutique, are huge (370 to 440 square feet) and have a bold design that blends old-world elegance with a Boho chic that's heavy on velvet. In addition, this hotel offers a gorgeous gym and a young, attentive staff. At this modern luxury hotel on the Upper West Side, massive rooms start at 420 square feet. The thoroughly modern rooms feature elegant Asian decor, high-tech electronics, and bathrooms that include small flat-screen TVs. Beds have pillow-top mattresses and Egyptian cotton sheets by Fili D'oro. Addition perks include a yoga mat and books labeled "Bedside Reading" -- like an ironic pairing of The Great Gatsby and "Warren Buffet and the Interpretation of Financial Statements." Guests are even encouraged to take the books home. The big Louis XIV-style rooms at this century-old, 282-room New York landmark were all renovated in 2008 with luxurious Italian bedding and 37-inch HD plasma TVs, but some of the views are weak -- very few rooms overlook Central Park. The gigantic bathroom comes with fixtures plated in 24-karat gold -- but not all name-brand toiletries. Completely renovated in 2008, The New York Palace's standard rooms are large (360 square feet), and have all the essential comforts of a classic luxury hotel -- sateen bed linens and plush, pillow-top mattresses; a 42-inch Panasonic flat-screen TV; an iPod hookup on the alarm clock; and a quality minibar. But the Towers Royal Suites (pictured here) are decorated in a lavish, gilded style unlike any other New York hotel room. With a super-hip bar tucked away in the nostalgic, velvet-filled lobby, 24-hour room service, free Wi-Fi, and bike rentals, this boutique redefines class in a gentrified downtown neighborhood where punk rock and squalor once ruled. Small details -- the antique, doily-like fabric draped over the backs of the chairs, the wainscoted ceiling, the brass fixtures, the Villeroy & Boch sink, and the pencils and par avion envelopes in the desk drawer -- make the Bowery's 135 rooms shine, though they start at a fairly average size (220 square feet). Rooms at this deliberately business-like Midtown East hotel are luxurious, without being adventurous. Starting at 500 square feet -- some of the largest standard rooms anywhere in New York -- the Four Seasons' rooms come with excellent beds, high-powered, two-head showers, large desks, and plush seating. Plus, the rooms on higher floors take in substantial daylight from large windows -- no small feat in skyscraper-riddled Midtown East. A hip boutique situated in the unhip Flatiron neighborhood, the Ace has small rooms -- standard rooms start at a mere 140 square feet -- that feature custom artwork on the walls, making each room different. The brainy design takes a cue from the building's industrial surroundings; accents like garment racks, for example, are made of repurposed plumbing pipes fitted with black metal shelves. Dark, industrial notes aside, funky elements like turntables, blank sheet music, and cozy Pendleton wool bed covers made in Portland, Oregon, are a nod to the hotel's Northwest roots. For ecological reasons, the shampoo, conditioner, and body wash are in large pump dispensers, like those found at a health club -- but it's high-quality stuff from co-owner Alex Calderwood's Rudy's Barbershop. This gorgeous 141-room boutique may seem a bit out of place in the still-gritty Lower East Side neighborhood, which is known for its raucous late-night activity. But for well-heeled hipsters looking for downtown action, the cool design, attentive staff, fitness center, and pool combine to make this a very fine place to crash after a night out in skinny jeans. Rooms at the Thompson LES start at a comfortable 300 square feet -- larger than most New York boutique hotel rooms -- and the sleek, faux-industrial design includes floor-to-ceiling windows and a back-lit black-and-white Lee Friedlander photograph on the headboard. Because the hotel towers over the surrounding buildings, all rooms will have good views of the neighborhood below -- once a tenement-filled haven for freshly arrived immigrants that, in recent years, has been transformed into a fashionable boutique-, restaurant-, and bar-filled haven for young urban professionals who like a little grit in their neighborhood. And you can watch the sunset from those on the west side of the building. Plenty of space, a high-concept Rockwell design, flat-screen TVs in the bathrooms, and Frette linens make even the standard rooms at this modern business hotel luxurious. There's an open closet built into the wall, a desk area with a series of vertical shelves, and a 29-inch Sharp Aquos flat-screen TV across from the oh-so-comfortable king bed. Even cooler, there's a small LCD TV in the bathroom next to the sink. Located farther from the subway stations than most other Midtown East hotels, the Alex's neighborhood isn't exactly fashionable (it's dominated by offices and residential buildings), but it's a smart, stylish option with an intimate, low-key vibe, a great gym, a friendly staff, and easy access to Midtown's corporate centers. The Alex Hotel targets extended-stay business travelers, so 130 of the hotel's 203 rooms are suites that include luxe amenities like Poggenpohl kitchens, Sub-Zero refrigerators, and Miele dishwashers. The two-bedroom penthouse suite is 800 square feet. Travelers who stay here are kept safe by the Alex's remarkably tight security, designed to protect the U.N. diplomats who frequent the hotel. Hip midcentury-inspired ultramodern design, wall-to-wall windows that flood the space with light and allow for panoramic views of the city, comfy beds, and gigantic minibars at this one-of-a-kind Meatpacking District hotel add up to some of the most extraordinary rooms in New York. The Standard is one of the hottest hotels in the city -- Madonna and Lindsay Lohan attended the opening of the Boom Boom Room (now officially called the Top of the Standard), the hotel's glam mirrors-and-brass cocktail lounge.
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