Whether you’re looking for Old World opulence, celebrity-studded party scenes, or a fawning staff, you’ll find it in one of New York’s most luxurious hotels. To ensure that you can also expect the royal treatment, we slept on the high-thread-count linens, sipped the exorbitantly priced cocktails, and befriended the famous — it’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it. See our picks for the top luxury hotels in New York City.
It could be said that no other New York hotel is as synonymous with luxury as the century-old, 282-room Plaza. A $400 million overhaul to the New York landmark gave the huge rooms gold-plated bathroom fixtures, but it also converted most rooms overlooking Central Park into privately owned residences. Still, the exceptional spa, 24-hour butler service, and history make it worth the splurge.
The grand, century-old St. Regis is known for its extraordinary service, but the hotel has many other outstanding features, including 229 elegant rooms and a great location on Fifth Avenue. While it lacks the pool and Central Park views of other Midtown luxury hotels, some will find that a famed Bloody Mary at the King Cole Bar more than compensates.
With a prime location across from the MoMA and close to top shopping, this Midtown luxury hotel from the famed French crystal brand provides an opulent experience. A host of luxurious features includes the world's first La Mer spa, a beautiful indoor pool, a state-of-the-art fitness center, and chic all-day dining and drinks -- though food is pricey (as is everything at this hotel) and the menu is fairly limited. The 114 guest rooms feature high-tech details like tablet-controlled settings and large flat-screen TVs concealed in mirrors, plus gourmet minibars stocked with Baccarat glassware, Champagne, and Laduree treats (plus free non-alcoholic drinks). White marble bathrooms have separate tubs and rainfall showers. For something less ostentatious and with a downtown address, check out the Greenwich Hotel in TriBeCa, which offers similar amenities, less expensive rates, and an Italian restaurant on-site.
Deliberately business-like, the 368-room Four Seasons in Midtown East has all the luxury essentials: an elegant, cavernous lobby (legendary architect I.M. Pei designed all of the public areas to adhere to a rigorous symmetry); beck-and-call service; a fine spa and fitness center; and some of the largest, most comfortable rooms in the city. Plus, guests can use spa facilities (whirlpool, sauna, and steam room) for free.
In the same building as some of the city's best restaurants, and across Columbus Circle from Central Park, the Mandarin's location is ideal. But it's the hotel's dizzying array of modern luxuries -- a 75-foot pool, one of the city's best spas, sweeping views from nearly every common area, huge bathrooms with deep soaking tubs (even in standard rooms), superb on-site fine-dining options, to name a few -- that make this a true standout among the stars.
The 239-room Peninsula has elegant guest rooms, an indoor pool, superb gym (free workout gear, organic teas, and 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. And for designer shopping, its Fifth Avenue location is ideal.
This virtually flawless 88-room TriBeCa newcomer (opened in 2008 by Robert de Niro, among others) offers large, homey rooms, breathtaking design, and very attentive service. Even better: free Wi-Fi; free minibar snacks; and free Wii video games by request. Better still: an underground pool; a standout Japanese spa; a premier gym; and the critically acclaimed Locanda Verde restaurant.
With seamless service; plush, Old World rooms; and Warhols littering the top floor, it's no wonder the Gramercy Park Hotel currently sets the bar for New York cool, especially in the velvet-heavy Rose Bar.
Originally built in 1927, the Mark 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. Comfortable, high-tech rooms and personalized service make it a great option for anyone who can afford it.
One of the most recognizable and respected luxury properties in New York City, The Palace lives up to its hype. The 909-room hotel completed a massive renovation in 2013, and features numerous property features, including a large, modern fitness center, a fine dining restaurant, and two intimate lounges. Tourists, business travelers, and celebrities alike stay in its spacious, sophisticated rooms, and it's convenient Midtown location, across the street from St. Patrick's Cathedral and within walking distance of numerous sights, is also a major draw. The lack of a full spa at such a large hotel is surprising, however, and there's an annoying Wi-Fi fee for guests not staying in the Tower suites. Nonetheless, The Palace remains a grand New York icon; Tiffany stained glass windows and gilded ceilings remain from its days as a private mansion
Consisting of 14 floors above the Lotte Palace Hotel, The Towers at Lotte is a five-pearl luxury property with 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. But some luxury features are missing, such as a full restaurant or a pool. Still, little luxe perks abound, including free packing/unpacking, shoe shines, clothes pressings, drawn baths, shuttles to the Theater District, and car service in a Mercedes.
The Soho House New York is a members-only club that caters to the film and media industries. The Meatpacking District branch also has 30 luxury hotel rooms -- Small, Medium and Big -- that are open to the public. Despite the impressive cuisine (an improvement from days past), food still takes a slight backseat to the hip party scene; alcohol is pervasive in and out of the rooms, from the late-night cocktail scene, to the fully stocked minibars (with fresh lemon and limes), to the "One While Changing," where guests receive a personal in-room visit from a bartender between the hours of work and play. Throw in the infamous rooftop pool and terrace -- which some consider worth the price alone -- the Cowshed spa, library, and free Wi-Fi (for those who attempt to get work done), and it's clear there's not another hotel in NYC quite like it.
An elegant Old World 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 traditionally decorated guest rooms. The large staff provides exceptional, white-glove service (guests aren't even allowed to push the elevator buttons themselves), but the Pierre lacks some of the on-site amenities (full-service restaurant, spa) that can be found at other by-the-park luxury hotels.
After a $60 million renovation, this 190-room hotel on the Upper East Side is ready to pull guests away from the nearby Carlyle with room service by Cafe Boulud, a guest-only rooftop garden with butler service, and some of the most comfortable hotel beds in New York.
Housed in a section of one of Manhattan's priciest apartment buildings, the five-pearl Park Hyatt New York offers a slice of life as a Midtown millionaire. The 210 rooms range in size from Standard Rooms to Presidential Suites, and come with balconies and Nespresso coffeemakers. However, views are only impressive from the higher floors and guests staying on lower levels may feel hemmed in. Features include a spa, a fitness center, and a pool, plus a restaurant serving new American cuisine.
Centrally located near Madison Square Park, The NoMad (which shares its name with the surrounding neighborhood north of Madison Square Park) is a luxurious, impeccably designed hotel with attentive service but limited features (there's no spa or business center). The hotel's focal point is its eponymous bar and restaurant, featuring five separate-but-connected spaces that sprawl along the ground floor. Guests can order cocktails in the cozy, book-lined Library or order brunch in the sun-filled Atrium room, though they should be prepared for price tags that match the high level of style. The 168 guest rooms are luxurious (there are Sferra linens, Frette towels, and robes), and successfully evoke a bygone era with Persian rugs, old maps, and antique-looking fixtures.
The Knickerbocker is a polished five-pearl hotel right in Times Square. Reopened in 2015, this sleek, hip property has 330 spacious, but not overly luxurious, rooms with bedside tablets that control lighting and temperature. Stand-out features include a coffee bar, a popular rooftop terrace with great views, a high-end restaurant headed by celebrity chef Charlie Palmer, and an excellent fitness center, but there's no pool or full spa (in-room treatments can be arranged).
This 114-room SoHo boutique, with a stunning rooftop bar and pool, great freebies (including free Wi-Fi and free nightly wine and cheese), forthcoming restaurant by David Burke, and a hotel art curator, embodies the hip, creative neighborhood it inhabits. Its bright, minimalist rooms are smaller than those at some of its luxury competitors, but they're full of enough thoughtful details to make up for it.
The Carlyle has been a historic and discreet host to artists, presidents, and local and international celebrities since 1930, 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 214-room Langham Place Fifth Avenue is a modern, luxurious hotel conveniently located close to the popular tourist sites and corporate offices of Midtown Manhattan. Rooms are huge and come with top-notch features (free Wi-Fi, iPod docks, high-end linens and toiletries), but the decor is plain and lacks character.