Superior doubles and queens, $210-$485; deluxe king, $240-$535; deluxe queen suite, $310-$585; deluxe king suite, $330-$620
1 at 79th St.
American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
The inviting, classically styled lobby of the Lucerne sets the tone for this restored landmark building, initially constructed in 1904 as a dorm for Columbia University students and reopened in 1995. The Upper West Side spot still holds a strong appeal for academics and professionals, and families, since Central Park, the American Museum of Natural History, and the Hayden Planetarium, are all only two blocks away. Climate-controlled rooms are tech-savvy: data ports, wireless Internet access, Web TV, and Nintendo are available for a fee. Rooms facing the U-shaped building’s courtyard avoid the street noise, while those on the upper floors facing west get a view of the Hudson. The airy, adjoining restaurant Nice Matin serves a French-Mediterranean menu along with an excellent wine selection and creative cocktails. In warm weather, the sidewalk terrace offers choice seats for people-watching.Pros
The neighborly Upper West Side surroundings, fantastic sights and convenient services make for an easy trip. It’s easy to stay active, too—the hotel has an exercise room, provides discount passes to Equinox (two blocks away), and is close to Central Park’s jogging paths.
The visual style and bourgeois neighborhood may be too staid for some.