Standard, $895; deluxe, $940-$1,600; suite, $1,800-$20,000
N, Q, R at Fifth Ave.-59th St.
Valet parking $60 a day, with no in-out privileges.
American Express, Diners Club, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
After a year-and-a-half-long, $100 million renovation, this 41-story icon reopened in 2009 with redone guest rooms and public spaces. Also new are the owners—India-based Taj Hotels, Resorts and Palaces—who put their touch on the guest rooms and common spaces with contemporary Indian artwork. The vibe, though, is still thoroughly Old New York, with uniformed operators manning the wood-paneled elevators, valet and hand-laundry service available around-the-clock, and now-quaint mail chutes stationed at every floor. The 189 rooms (including 49 suites) are made to feel like private residences, and the décor is warm and stylish without seeming overly designed. Super-comfy couches, plush bedding, and Turkish marble bathrooms with steam-resistant mirrors and oversized Molton Brown amenities share space with sound-insulated windows, Bose Wave iPod systems, and interactive 40-inch flatscreens—plus mini-versions in the baths. (Some rooms also have Park views, dining areas, or terraces.) Downstairs, there’s a well-equipped business center and 1,600-square-foot gym, as well as the famous trompe l’oeil–muraled event spaces favored by generations of brides. For meals, the Two E bar-lounge serves lunch and gourmet late-night bites (including fresh oysters), while Le Caprice restaurant—the first American outpost of the London institution—brings favorites like dressed Dorset crab.Pros
Excellent, non-stuffy service, extremely comfortable rooms, can’t-beat Park views and high-quality food—even from room service. Plus, an elegant, understated feeling of New York history.
It all comes with a price: In addition to high room rates, even a basic room-service breakfast for two could run close to $100 with taxes and surcharges. Internet access isn’t free, either.
Claims to Fame
First opened in 1930, the hotel was once owned by Standard Oil tycoon John Paul Getty, and over its history has hosted countless celebrities, political figures, and New York social events. In 1950, it was the first hotel to offer radios and televisions in all guest rooms.