New York is absolutely magical at Christmas time, with trees galore, elaborate displays in department store windows, and skaters twirling atop ice rinks. Hotels partake in the whimsy, too, dazzling guests by decking out their lobbies and entrances with lights, ornaments, presents -- the works. In the spirit of the holidays, we're sharing with you some of the best hotel decorations we've found around New York. Consider it a little gift from your friends at Oyster.
One of the below hotels stood out above the rest, so check back tomorrow to find out which was our favorite (and to see more pretty pictures we took there).
Photos after the jump, along with a summary of our review for each hotel.
Hotel: The Waldorf Astoria Location: Midtown East Price: $349 A Midtown East icon, the 1,300-room Waldorf-Astoria comes with some of New York's best (or at least most expensive) spa services, fitness facilities, restaurants, and bars. The dress code, antique décor, and outdated tube TVs aren't for everyone, but the cinematic history and unrivaled elegance make the $250-plus price tag well worth it.
Hotel: The Plaza Location: Upper East Side Price: $714 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.
Hotel: Four Seasons New York Location: Midtown East Price: $806 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 for free. But before booking, check the rates at the Waldorf-Astoria (more historic) or the Mandarin Oriental (better gym).
Hotel: Gramercy Park Hotel Location: Gramercy and Murray Hill Price: $523 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, a gorgeous gym, and a young, attentive staff. True, even guests sometimes feel excluded from the glamour-fest in the bar. But the place is utterly unique.
Hotel: Jumeirah Essex House Location: Upper West Side Price: $386 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.
Hotel: The St. Regis New York Location: Midtown East Price: $809 The extraordinary service at the grand, century-old 229-room St. Regis is rivaled only by the Plaza. It lacks the pool, amazing spa, and Central Park views of the Mandarin Oriental, but a famed Bloody Mary at the King Cole Bar and a dinner at Alain Ducasse's Adour more than compensates.
Hotel: The Ritz-Carlton New York Central Park Location: Midtown East Price: $736 If you're looking for a five-star experience in New York, and you insist on a Ritz, the sister property downtown offers a nearly identical experience for half the price. If you're looking for a five-star experience and insist on being in the thick of things, the Plaza, the St. Regis, and the Mandarin Oriental offer more pizzazz.
Hotel: The New York Palace Location: Midtown East Price: $430 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.
Hotel: The Pierre - A Taj Hotel Location: Upper East Side Price: $548 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, but service is not without the occasional glitch -- and the hotel lacks the on-site amenities of some of its by-the-park luxury competitors, like the Plaza and the Four Seasons.
Hotel: Helmsley Park Lane Hotel Location: Upper West Side Not yet reviewed by Oyster!