America's April 15th tax deadline is fast approaching and those lucky enough to get a big fat check from Uncle Sam may be anxious to spend their wad. No other city in the U.S. does opulence, luxury (or high prices) quite like New York City, but which are the best? We at Oyster.com have inspected nearly 400 hotels in our hometown -- yep, we've tested the designer beds, toured the spas, and checked out the celebrity-chef restaurants. Here are our favorite luxury hotels in the Big Apple worthy of a major splurge -- or at least a spot on the wish list!
A hotel within a hotel, the Waldorf Towers occupies the top floors of the iconic Waldorf Astoria hotel in Midtown East, with a private entrance off East 50th Street. This exclusive boutique has 117 classic, individually decorated rooms — some of which have a rich history of famous guests like the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, and Cole Porter who resided here for 30 years. Most amenities are shared with its sister property — including the great (but pricey) restaurants, high-end Guerlain Spa, and beauty salon — but the hotel has its own lobby, elevators, and fitness center on the 19th floor. Towers’ top-floor Penthouse Suites are spectacular two bedroom units that can get as big as 2,500 square feet!
Rising 14 floors above the Lotte Palace Hotel, The Towers at Lotte is an excellent Midtown location right by famed Fifth Avenue shops and landmarks. Its 176 richly appointed and spacious guest rooms have skyline views (some overlooking St. Patrick’s Cathedral), and some have kitchenettes and separate living and dining spaces. There are four specialty bars, a patisserie, a 7,000-square-foot spa, and a fitness center with stunning views on-site. Luxe perks abound, including free packing/unpacking, shoe shines, clothes pressings, drawn baths, and car service in a Mercedes. For the ultimate splurge, the Jewel Suite (nightly rates start at $25,000) is a 5,000-square-foot triplex designed by jeweler Martin Katz and comes with champagne, private Maybach car service, and Michel Richard white chocolate diamond truffles. For those thinking about popping the question, Jewel Suite guests can consult with Katz and receive a diamond ring designed by him.
Since 1930, The Carlyle on Madison Avenue has been a historic and discreet host to artists, presidents, and local and international celebrities (Wills and Kate stayed here in 2014) and it’s traditional to the core: White-gloved elevator operators, a special concierge vestibule, the classic Bemelman’s Bar, and dinner performances by Judy Collins and Woody Allen (playing jazz clarinet) are hallmarks of this classic American hotel. The king-bed Carlyle Suites are all individually decorated, with styles ranging from a classic Anglo-Saxon private home to a more contemporary, yet timeless environment. The Carlyle Suites — some as big as three bedrooms with baby grand pianos — are located on floors 5 through 18 and come with Kiehl’s toiletries and monogrammed terrycloth bathrobes.
After a $60 million renovation in 2009, this 190-room hotel on the Upper East Side — resembling a New York City townhouse — gives nearby Carlyle a run for its money with room service by Cafe Boulud, a private rooftop garden with butler service, and some of the most comfortable hotel beds in New York. Previous guests include John F. Kennedy and Bette Davis, but today modern renovations from interior designer Lauren Rottet include custom Dux by Duxiana mattresses and Sferra linens, marble bathrooms, and Pratesi bathrobes. The sprawling Presidential Suite is incomparably sleek, with a furnished private terrace, grand marble fireplace, and formal dining room with 24-hour in-room dining and mixology menus.
The Lowell draws well-heeled couples and families with large, beautiful rooms and top-notch service. This tasteful boutique property is located in the tony Upper East Side, a block from Central Park, and a short walk from designer boutiques along Madison and Fifth avenues. Though it lacks big hotel amenities, its 23 rooms and 49 suites have elegant, stylish decor and great amenities, including DDC28 toiletries, movies on demand, and free Wi-Fi. Guests in the suites are particularly well catered for — their accommodation typically includes wood-burning fireplaces and many have fully-equipped kitchens. The Lowell Two Bedroom Suites, for instance, have hardwood floors, oriental carpets and private outdoor terraces.
This U.S. National Historic Landmark experienced a $400 million overhaul in 2008, a century after it first opened. With views of Central Park, an exceptional spa, 24-hour butler service, and incredible history, the Plaza is always worth the splurge. Rooms feature a Beaux Arts-inspired decor, along with more modern touches such as iPads which control in-room features. The Royal Suite — accessed by a private elevator — is a magnificent, three-bedroom suite (4,400 sq. feet!) in a private area of the hotel overlooking Fifth Avenue and the Pulitzer Fountain. Exquisite furnishings are inspired by the royal court of Louis XV, and features a grand piano, state-of-the-art kitchen with Viking appliances, 12-seat dining room, and a library stocked with titles hand-selected by Prosper Assouline, the founder of luxury book publisher Assouline.
This 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: Jean-Georges Vongerichten. Comfortable, high-tech rooms and personalized service make it a great option for anyone who can afford it. Each guest room is outfitted with state-of-the-art HD televisions, an audio system and a Crestron room control panel. Additional amenities include a private bar, free Wi-Fi, daily shoeshine and morning delivery of New York Times or Wall Street Journal. The biggest splurge here is the chic Three Bedroom Terrace Suite boasting furnishings of ebony, sycamore and nickel, fine Italian linens, and a black-and-white marble bath with deep-soaking tub.
The 239-room Peninsula has elegant guest rooms, an indoor pool, superb gym (free workout gear, organic teas, a sauna and steam room), widely praised spa and salon, and in-room printers that make it a fine choice for a quiet, classically luxurious hotel. Its 5th Avenue location is ideal for designer shopping, and guests are an easy walk to the MoMA, Central Park, and the Rockefeller Center. For a major splurge, the six-room Peninsula Suite features stunning views of Fifth Avenue, hand-stitched Savoir beds and round-trip airport transfers in the hotel’s bespoke BMW 7-series.
Sitting on top of the Time Warner Center is the 244-room Mandarin Oriental, which offers a dizzying array of modern luxuries — a 75-foot pool, one of the city’s best spas, sweeping views from nearly every common area, and superb on-site fine-dining options, to name a few — even as it upholds traditional values and outstanding service. On the 53rd floor, the Presidential Suite offers breathtaking panoramic views of the Hudson River, Central Park, and NYC skyline along with handcrafted rugs and unique artwork. Guests have an easy commute to some of the best restaurants in the city like Per Se and Masa — both in the building.
The grand, century-old St. Regis is known for its extraordinary service — rivaled only by that of the Plaza — and a great location on Fifth Avenue. While it lacks the pool and Central Park views of the Mandarin Oriental, some will find that a famed Bloody Mary at the King Cole Bar more than compensates. Featuring 164 rooms and 65 suites, the property is lavishly finished with marble floors, Louis XV furniture from France, Waterford crystal and Oriental rugs. Modern-day visitors to the hotel can still see and enjoy many of its original features, as well as additional amenities and services including complimentary garment pressing upon arrival, fresh fruit or sweets delivered to the room daily, use of the Remede Spa and access to the St. Regis Signature Butler service. Ask the concierge for a reso at Ralph Lauren’s Polo Bar — notoriously difficult to get into — right across the street.
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. As the tallest five-star hotel in the city it enjoys views of both Central Park and the New York skyline, and rooms feature marble bathrooms and bedside controls that open curtains at the touch of a button. Plus, guests can use spa facilities for free. For the ultimate in luxury, head to the Ty Warner Penthouse suite. At $50,000 a night, it’s currently listed as the most expensive hotel suite in New York (and was even named the most expensive hotel suite in North America). The 4,300-square-foot suite occupies the entire 52nd floor with breathtaking views, and guests have access to a Rolls-Royce chauffeur, a personal trainer, and art concierge. Soft calfskin leather walls line the dressing room and restroom comes with an infinity tub, a rain shower, and sinks made from tiger’s-eye stone.
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