The Chelsea Hotel
222 W. 23rd St.
This hotel was cool and artsy long before its nabe became the same. Built in
1884, the creative-friendly Chelsea has housed notables like Arthur Miller,
Mark Twain, and Bob Dylan. Its 100 rooms are fairly big, with thick walls
and old-fashioned bathrooms where, by the way, you won't find much more
than a bar of soap. Permanent residents are a mix of stylish eccentrics and
young professionals. Serena's, the hip bar in the basement, mixes a mean
martini. Summer rates from $135.
Gramercy Park Hotel
2 Lexington Ave., at 21st St.
The lobby of the Gramercy, with its high ceilings and period chandeliers,
hasn't changed much since it opened in 1924. Beyond its shabby bar (which
enjoys a cultlike popularity) and star-studded history Humphrey Bogart
and Babe Ruth stayed here the hotel's No. 1 perk is that guests get
access to the exclusive Gramercy Park, next to the hotel. Summer rates are
from $150 for a single and $170 for a double.
1295 Madison Ave., at 92nd St.
The lobby of this Carnegie Hill institution, with oriental rugs and a
fireplace, is in keeping with the nearby Vanderbilt, Carnegie, and Sloan
mansions. Guests are surrounded by museums, Madison Avenue shops, and
Central Park. The restaurant, Sarabeth's Kitchen, serves one of the best
breakfasts in the city (dinner's not bad, either). Use the tiny fitness
center, or the 92nd Street Y, two blocks away. Summer rates from $229.
Washington Square Hotel
103 Waverly Pl.
This moderately priced, family-owned hotel in the West Village has 165
freshly painted rooms all with high ceilings and newish furniture. Plus
there's a small fitness room, a cozy bistro called C3, and a lounge where
you can listen to jazz and linger over Sunday brunch. You can't beat the
location on the corner of Washington Square Park. Summer rates from $131.