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Luxury Hotels
Luxury Hotels

The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park South
The Benjamin
125 E. 50th St.

Fussy travelers will love the personal attention the Benjamin pays to its guests — think eleven pillow types to choose from, including buckwheat-filled, water-filled, and satin. The lobby is impressive, with enormous columns rising from a parquet-and-marble floor rooms are decorated in warm earth tones with cozy fabrics. Master chef Larry Forgione's An American Place has moved in, and the 209-room hotel also has a health club and holistic spa. Summer rates start at $420.

The Carlyle Hotel
35 E. 76th St.

With quintessential New York cabaret acts — Bobby Short, Eartha Kitt — 180 classy rooms (most with park views), 400 staff members, and an atmosphere reminiscent of a time when only the wealthy traveled, it's no wonder the Carlyle reels in presidents, royals, and old money. The restaurant's buffet brunch is popular with well-heeled locals, and Bemelmans Bar, with its charming murals, was just renovated. There's a modest fitness room. Summer rates from $345.

Four Seasons New York
57 E. 57th St.

As with all Four Seasons hotels, this one has spacious rooms (many with park views), luxe linens, and top-notch service. The hotel's restaurant bar, Fifty Seven Fifty Seven, is famous for its after-work scene, often dotted with Hollywood moguls; their breakfast is one of Manhattan's best. There's also a fully equipped gym that will loan you workout clothes if you need them, and a full-service spa. Summer rates from $495.

The Lowell Hotel
28 E. 63rd St.

The Lowell has been around since the twenties, and it epitomizes "old New York" luxury, though you might not be able to tell from the lobby, which is tiny. The rooms are outfitted with large desks, plush sofas, rich floral fabrics, and engulfing down comforters. There's a decent gym, and you won't have to travel far for a decent meal: The new chef at the Pembroke Room will customize the menu to your preferences, and the Post House has a great reputation for steak. Many of the suites have terraces and fireplaces. Summer rates from $425.

The Mark
25 E. 77th St.

Travelers who lean toward traditional will appreciate the Mark's neoclassical Italian style and old-world service. All 120 rooms and 57 suites are decked out with high-thread-count linens, overstuffed chairs, and marble bathrooms. Neighbors adore the tiny Mark's Bar — and we bet your clubby in-laws will, too. The hotel's restaurant, the Mark, is known for its extensive afternoon tea. You can arrange in-room spa services, and the hotel has a small fitness center called "the wellness suite." Summer rates start from $299.

The New York Palace
455 Madison Ave., near 50th St.

The Palace lives up to its name, with high ceilings, sweeping staircases, and plush furniture scattered throughout the 895-room hotel. Guests will feel spoiled — especially if they spring for a meal at Le Cirque 2000. In the adjoining Villard House, built in 1880, the hotel offers a 7,000-square-foot gym and a newly renovated two-story bar that features loungy velvet chairs and a light tasting menu. Summer rates start at $450.

The Peninsula
700 Fifth Ave., at 55th St.

This midtown luxury hotel was renovated in 1998 to the tune of $45 million. The 239 rooms are as well-appointed as you'd expect from this top-end chain, and an outdoor roof bar offers spectacular views of the city. The lobby and adjoining sitting areas are opulent and plush, and there are plenty of dining and drinking options, including Adrienne Restaurant, serving up fine French fare, a smaller bistro, and two bars. But the biggest draw is the 35,000-square-foot health club, which has classes, spa treatments, and even a pool. Summer rates start at $550.

The Plaza
Fifth Ave. at Central Park So.

The Plaza is probably New York's best-known hotel, and, after Ivana Trump's famous remodeling, it lives up to its reputation for opulence. There are marble lobbies, gilded ceilings, and more than 1,500 crystal chandeliers. That said, it's been a while since the 805 rooms were freshened up and the fitness center isn't impressive, but if you're looking for classic New York, the hotel's Palm Restaurant and Oak Room Bar — once an exclusive men's club — are where you'll find it. Summer rates are $269.

The Regency
540 Park Ave., at 61st St.

All 351 rooms at this midtown favorite were revamped as part of a $35 million face-lift in 1999, the hotel's first major overhaul since the days when Audrey and Princess Grace stayed here. The money seems well spent — on lots of silk, leather, velvet, and mahogany. The nightclub, Feinstein's, draws big names from Rosemary Clooney to Vikki Carr, and the restaurant, 540 Park Avenue, is a power-breakfast favorite. There's also a fitness center with sauna. Summer rates from $225.

The Regent Wall Street
55 Wall St.

The Regent Wall Street, a landmarked former customs house, is one of the financial district's only luxury hotels. The 144 rooms are large — and the bathrooms are bigger than many studio apartments. The rooms are outfitted in a grand Renaissance style, with rich fabrics and hand-blown Italian glass fixtures. There's a spa, health club, and restaurant, 55 Wall, on-site. The hotel is a stone's throw from ground zero but is easily accessible by subway or taxi. Summer rates from $245.

Rihga Royal Hotel
151 W. 54th St.

This luxury midtowner is a favorite among business travelers and a comfortable place to house out-of-town guests. The rooms — all of which are suites — offer up at least 580 square feet of space, with living areas separated from the bedrooms by French doors. The hotel has an extensive fitness center; a New American restaurant, Halcyon; and a bar-lounge just off the tiny lobby. Summer rates from $300.

Ritz-Carlton, Battery Park
2 West St.

Manhattan's shiny new Ritz-Carlton promises the top-notch hotel chain's traditional emphasis on service, but is more modern and less formal than many of its counterparts in other cities. The swank rooms are Art Deco in style, and many have cool views of Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. The restaurant is too new to be reviewed, but the rooftop bar is sure to be a hit this summer. The hotel also has a fitness center and spa. Summer rates start from $375.

The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park South
50 Central Park So., at Sixth Ave.

Opening this spring in the former St. Moritz hotel, this Ritz-Carlton will offer top-of-the-line services and amenities, from bath butlers (who needs to draw her own bath?) to in-room telescopes, Frette linens, and Frédéric Fekkai beauty products. The number of rooms have been cut from St. Moritz's, 700 to just 277, so there will be plenty of space to spread out and enjoy the park views. Summer rates from $425.

The St. Regis
2 E. 55th St.

This grand hotel was updated recently, but it remains Gilded Age all the way. Opulence is an understatement. Even better than the rooms' high ceilings, silk wall coverings, and high-thread-count Egyptian-cotton sheets is the butler that greets you upon your arrival. The portable phone and bedside control for lights and television aren't bad, either. The hotel has a small but nice fitness room, and the restaurant, Lespinasse, is undeniably one of the city's best. Summer rates from $425.

The Stanhope
995 Fifth Ave., at 81st St.

Located across the street from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Stanhope is arguably the best the Upper East Side has to offer. Service is formal but friendly, and the decor feels the same. There is no real lobby to speak of — just a couple of chairs next to the front desk — and the workout room is modest, but the rooms are well-appointed with lots of marble. There's a pricey American restaurant with a Mediterranean flair, and a small, dark bar inside that's almost always packed, but the highlight is the outdoor Terrace at Melrose, one of the city's best people-watching opportunities. Summer rates from $279.

The Waldorf Astoria
301 Park Ave., at 49th St.

No matter which of this mammoth institution's 1,345 rooms you stay in, there's a good chance a king, queen, Hollywood celeb, or other bold-faced name has been there before you. The Waldorf, which recently underwent a $300 million renovation, is one of New York's most famous Art Deco landmarks, and it's also home to a legendary bar, the mahogany-and-leather-filled Bull and Bear. Rooms range from your average five-star accommodation to outrageous suites, and guests have access to the on-site OnePlus health club. Summer rates from $199.

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