New York may be the city that never sleeps but when you’re paying top dollar for a hotel room, you’re going to want some quality shuteye. Fortunately the luxury hotels in Manhattan are among the best in the world, offering the finest interiors from renowned designers, chic in-room amenities, attentive service, and glorious city views (which is often the number one selling point for a hotel).
As a hotel-obsessed journalist and travel specialist who has closely chronicled New York’s whirlwind hotel scene for more than a decade (I also grew up just 30 minutes outside of the city), I can confidently say the luxury lodging options here continue to be better than ever. Yet not so surprisingly, in a city that reveres institutions, some of the best hotels are the ones that have always been there – they’ve just been tweaked a touch.
Best for scene: New York Edition
The sexy Edition brand, created by Studio 54 legend-turned-boutique-hotelier Ian Schrager in partnership with Marriott Hotels, caters to sophisticated travellers who are after high design and exciting nightlife, rolled up in five-star service. The New York outpost delivers on all of that.
In Madison Square Park’s Clocktower Building, a Beaux-Arts landmark dating back to 1909, the 273 rooms (designed by The Rockwell Group) feature a minimalist layout with neutral-coloured furniture and fabrics, save for the oak-panelled foyers, walnut headboards and faux fur throws on the bed. Some rooms have original scalloped ceilings while others have Instagram-perfect views of the Empire State Building.
Downstairs, the Lobby Bar with its sultry backlit shelves of liquor, is a beacon for NYC’s prettiest people. Up a winding helix-shaped staircase is the Clocktower Restaurant where chef Jason Atherton serves contemporary British cuisine in three separate dining rooms, each with a different theme, and all adorned with giant photos of NYC’s famous denizens. The best room to book is a Loft Studio Suite which are typically corner rooms with views up Madison Avenue and west across the park.
Doubles from $465 (£337), room only
Best for design inspiration: The Crosby Street Hotel
The thoroughly British Firmdale Hotels first crossed the pond in 2009 to open the Crosby Street Hotel in Soho (their second NYC hotel, The Whitby, opened in 2017). Almost a decade later, the hotel, which sits off Soho’s main shopping thoroughfare, still feels like a fresh face, thanks in part to Firmdale’s design director Kit Kemp and her never-boring mix of patterns and prints. Each of the 86 rooms has floor-to-ceiling windows letting in natural light, charming fabric-covered headboards and original artwork.
Splurging for a deluxe one-bedroom suite on the upper floors will get you not just more space and more design elements to copy for your own home, but also jaw-dropping views of downtown. The Crosby Bar is a cosy place to take in a meal or afternoon tea (especially during the winter months) while the back patio during spring and summer is an idyllic respite from the city hustle.
Doubles from $695 (£503), room only
Best for artists: The Mercer
One of the original boutique hotels in Soho, The Mercer has retained its exclusive je nai se quoi even after 20 years. Part of that has to do with the air of mystery the hotel cultivates; the other part of it no doubt comes from the repeat celebrity guests (this is the sister hotel to Hollywood’s infamous Chateau Marmont; Kanye has stayed here while recording his albums). The rooms are unabashedly tiny, starting at a minuscule 250sq ft, but most have high ceilings, and you’re paying for the excellent location on a cobble-stoned street on the corner of Mercer and Prince, with luxury shops and art galleries stacked all around.
Studio rooms and suites give a bit more wiggle room, as well as better views and oversized bathtubs. The Mercer Kitchen, a two-storey restaurant serving food from ubiquitous hotel chef Jean-George Vongerichten, is after all these years, still a place to see and be seen.
Doubles from $544 (£394), room only
Best for families: The Surrey
Parents who don’t want to sacrifice style or comfort when travelling with children will find just what they need at The Surrey on the Upper East Side. One block from Central Park and its popular Alice in Wonderland bronze statue, the hotel’s 190 elegant rooms feature a mix of king, queen and twin beds, the latter being a rare commodity in New York, but essential for families.
Luxurious amenities include Duxiana beds, Sferra linens, Pratesi bathrobes, a pillow menu, delightful window seats, and an in-room mixology cart (although that’s hands-off for the kids). The hotel is also known to hand out special frog backpacks to their little guests, which are filled with snacks and activity suggestions for the area.
At night, parents who’ve arranged a babysitter can indulge in French cuisine from Daniel Boulud’s casual-ish Boulud Café or linger over cocktails at the Art Deco-inspired Bar Pleiades.
Doubles from $745 (£540), room only
Best for privacy: NoMad Hotel
Meant to be a fresh take on the grand European hotels of yore, the NoMad sometimes feels as if it’s from another century entirely, or at least from a time before we were all obsessed with handheld devices. French designer Jacques Garcia lent his simple yet classical vision to the an original Beaux-Arts building north of Madison Square Park (hence the name.) Custom furniture, such as clawfoot bathtubs, Heriz rugs, French writing desks and deep leather club chairs, give each of the 168 rooms an individual – and residential – feel, while modern amenities like a flat-screen TV and fast WiFi give guests the comforts of their ultra-connected lives.
On the ground floor is The Parlour dining room, two bars, and a library stocked with actual books. Yet with its high ceilings, dim lighting and velvet curtains, the hotel’s public spaces make is easy for almost anyone to disappear.
Doubles from $435 (£315), room only
Best for power players: Park Hyatt New York
The Park Hyatt New York, located in Midtown across from Carnegie Hall and a block from Central Park, wowed even the most jaded of hotel observers when it opened in 2014, largely because of its gorgeous rooms (designed by Yabu Pushelberg) and its distinctive ribbon facade architecture (envisioned by Christian doe Portzamparc.) Yet this being Park Hyatt, Hyatt’s top-tier luxury brand, the high-end touches don’t stop there. A personal attendant will greet guests at the entrance and whisk them up to the second floor lounge to do the check-in process.
The 210 guest rooms and suites start at a spacious 500sq ft, and have both rainfall showers and deep-soaking tubs as well Rivolta Carmignani linens, the use of iPad minis and Nespresso machines. A treatment room at the hotel’s Spa Nalai will most likely overlook Central Park while views of the Hudson River can be glimpsed from the spa’s reception area. Guests who opt to do laps in the large indoor swimming pool will be treated to music from Carnegie Hall via underwater speakers.
Doubles from $875 (£634), room only
Best for movie stars: The Greenwich Hotel
In the heart of Tribeca, the Greenwich has a bona fide film star pedigree – one of its owners is none other than Robert De Niro. Yet the hotel’s luxury digs and service would hold up regardless of that Hollywood connection. Each of the 88 rooms and suites are styled differently yet all retain an old-world charm with a hodgepodge of cultural influences from Tibetan silk rugs to Moroccan tiles and “English leather settees.” The beds are Duxiana, the bathtubs are deep-soaking and the minibar snacks, bottled water and soft drinks are complimentary. Beneath the lobby is the exclusive Japanese-Inspired Shibui Spa and sultry indoor pool, while back upstairs, Locanda Verde from popular chef Andrew Carmelllini, serves hearty Italian food at its finest (the sheep’s milk ricotta crostini is a must).
Doubles from $625 (£453), room only
Best for pampering: St. Regis New York
If your only wish is not to lift a finger during your visit to New York, look no further than the St Regis on Fifth Avenue at 55th Street. Every room here comes with the service of a dedicated maitre d’étages – butler to you and me. Guests can also be ferried about town in a Bentley within a 10-block radius of the hotel. Inside the recently renovated rooms are silk wall coverings, crystal chandeliers, fancy writing desks and some state-of-the-art technology such as Bose sound systems and fast internet. Downstairs, a Bloody Mary will be expertly mixed at the King Cole bar, the birthplace of the spicy hangover cure, while a proper meal can be had in the Astor Court, named after NYC’s own John Jacob Astor IV who founded the luxury St. Regis brand more than 100 years ago.
Doubles from $1,020 (£739), room only
Best for Instagram: Baccarat New York
Nearly every turn at this luxury hotel, inspired by the 253-year-old French crystal brand, is worthy of an Instagram post. At the street-level entrance, across from the Museum of Modern Art, there’s a wall adorned with 1,800 Baccarat “Harcourt” stemware, all lit up by LED lights in the shape of the Baccarat “B.” Upstairs in the Grand Salon, just beyond check-in, is a delicate 64-armed chandelier that hangs over an assortment of high-backed banquettes and mirrored tables, all topped off with some form of Baccarat crystal.
Indeed, there are nearly 15,000 pieces of Baccarat stemware found throughout the hotel, along with other crystal fixtures which usually retail for over $1,000 a piece.
In the rooms, the glamour continues in champagne-tinged colours with luxurious finishes like white marble surfaces and red-lacquer mini bars. But the piece de resistance is the “Champagne” button on the in-room telephone, which allows a guest to have their favourite bubbly delivered to their room.
Doubles from $988 (£716), room only
Best for wellness: The Mark
A revered hotel among the fashion elite (most bold-type names attending the Met Gala stay here), The Mark is an Upper East Side haven, well-known for its subtle luxury. Rooms are tastefully done in a subdued residential style, while its lobby goes for drama, thanks to its signature black and white maze floor pattern.
Now The Mark is putting a luxury twist on wellness. Guests booking the new Wellness package will receive a custom Mark Hotel yoga mat with matching ear buds, a facial treatment, a personal training session with Dan Flores or a private yoga class, as well as fresh juice and vegan muffins at check-in from the hotel’s Jean-Georges Vongericten restaurant. After all that working out and heavy wellness concentration, guests can then hire one of The Mark’s chic black and white pedi-cabs to take them sightseeing.
Doubles from $725 (£523), room only
Book NowThis article has been updated. It was originally published in January 2018.