Far from the Times Square crowds, on the relaxed, upscale Upper West Side, The Lucerne is close to New York City attractions like the Museum of Natural History and Central Park. Its 202 small, classically styled rooms feature flat-screen TVs, coffeemakers, and free Wi-Fi. In-room spa treatments and 24-hour room service are available, plus the hotel offers fitness and business centers. The on-site French restaurant, Nice Matin, serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Excelsior Hotel is even closer to Central Park, but it lacks in-room coffeemakers.
European decor and traditional, attentive service in Manhattan's mostly residential Upper West Side
Fronting the ornate 1904 red-stone building that towers over its immediate neighbors in Manhattan's Upper West Side, the 202-room Lucerne's entrance is often manned by two alert doormen and has an aura of quiet power. Inside, the hotel feels warm and secure, with its hibiscus flowers, red and gold Asian-inspired patterns. The Lucerne takes its name from an alpine city in Switzerland -- though there isn't much of a Swiss vibe at the hotel, and the hotel is operated by the Empire Hotel Group, which manages a series of other mid-range New York hotels. The name speaks, vaguely, to a more traditional, European aesthetic, exemplified by the tapestries flanking the entrance and the lobby's intricately patterned upholstery.
The Lucerne trades midtown chaos for a quieter atmosphere, and proximity to Central Park and great family museums
The corner of West 79th Street and Amsterdam is at the slow-beating heart of the Upper West Side, an area comprised mostly of apartment buildings that could, with their doormen and front desks, be confused for luxury hotels. But excellent restaurants are close by, and there's still a fair smattering of night life, with popular local bars close by like Dive 75 and the 79th Street Boat Basin, which features an enormous stone patio overlooking the Hudson River.
Several of New York's vaunted museums are immediately accessible. The American Museum of Natural History is one block east, and the Children's Museum of Manhattan is four blocks north. A 20-minute walk through Central Park lands visitors at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Subway access around the city is more limited here than in Midtown West and Times Square, which is more than 30 blocks south. There's only a 1-line subway station at the end of the block on Broadway, and the B and C trains run at 81st Street and Columbus, about a 10-minute walk away.
Superior Double, Queen, or King Rooms (standard) are, at 150 square feet, quite a bit smaller than most NYC hotel rooms, but their layout helps them not feel impossibly cramped. Upgrading to the Deluxe level means more space and additional seating, while two-room suites feature kitchenettes, microwaves, and fine china.
Each room comes with down feather pillows, but guests can request to swap them for microfiber pillows. All rooms come with flat-screen TVs with free HBO, Keurig coffeemakers, and iPod docking stations. Tiled, granite, or marble bathrooms have shower/tub combos and Aveda bath products.
The rooms are generally insulated from noise from other guests or street traffic. Cribs are provided upon request, and free Wi-Fi is available in all rooms.
A cozy, classy, French-intellectual-type restaurant and bar; a well-maintained gym; and a library-like business center
Popular among Upper West Side professionals, the on-site restaurant, Nice Matin (accessible through the hotel's lobby), serves Belgian beer and hearty French fare. It is available for room service 24 hours a day, though we've heard that they occasionally close room service early. The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and Lucerne guests get a discount on breakfast.
Lucerne's fitness center with free weights, strength machines, and a variety of stationary cardio equipment. Each machine has its own flat-screen TV. The hotel's business center has PC terminals, plus a printer, fax machine, and telephone. On the Penthouse level is a 1,000-square-foot meeting room that can accommodate up to 50 people. Concierge service is available 24 hours a day (babysitting is available through the concierge) and Wi-Fi is free throughout.