Choosing a hotel can be a daunting task for any trip, but when planning to travel to New York City, it can feel nearly impossible. Manhattan offers a diverse range of hotels that cater to various needs and budgets. Here’s our pick of the 15 best hotels on the island, from the Upper West Side to the Financial District.
A towering red-brick building just blocks from Central Park, The Empire Hotel is a New York institution. The lobby alone makes a luxurious first impression with its bold monochromatic striped floors, flowing drapes and golden furnishings. Get a taste of city sophistication sipping on a Gossip Girl-inspired Chuck Bass cocktail at the marble-topped lobby bar, or head to the rooftop for a relaxing dip in the pool before reclining on loungers – bathed in the cinematic red glow of its mammoth neon sign. Retreat to the comfort of your room, relaxing amid animal prints on your pillowy king- or queen-size bed.
Commissioned in 1903, the Hotel Belleclaire is a classic example of Beaux-Arts architecture with a star-studded history to boot: past guests include Mark Twain and Babe Ruth. The design of the building adds uniquely curved walls to some suites, where views of the area’s brownstones can be appreciated. The hotel is a base for walking tours of the Upper West Side, where travelers can stroll to Strawberry Fields and Bethesda Fountain at their leisure.
Arguably the most famous hotel in New York, the Plaza represents everything visitors expect from Manhattan: elegance, arrogance and a great view of Central Park. Recently renovated, the underground food court offers a range of dining options at different price points, while down the block, high-end shopping on Fifth Avenue can do some serious damage to your credit card. Hire a horse-drawn carriage across the street to carry you through the park to complete the classic NYC itinerary.
Situated along the prestigious Billionaires’ Row, the luxuriously large rooms at the Four Seasons New York offer a rarely found sense of space in the sardine-tin streets of Manhattan. Each feels made for movie-style makeovers, with walk-in closets and specially-designed makeup areas with custom mirrors. Wake up fresh from an evening at Ty Bar – which specializes in barrel-aged bourbon – to far-reaching views from the massive windows, before taking advantage of the complimentary Rolls-Royce to cruise around Midtown. Return for lunch at The Garden, an indoor restaurant that feels like dining under the canopy of an enchanted forest.
Green and lush, the modern 1 Hotel Central Park grounds travelers in the elements after a day spent pounding the city pavement. Reclaimed wooden fixtures and furnishings adorn sleek guest rooms, some of which feature a glass shower in the middle of the room (make sure you’re sharing with close friends!). Close to Central Park, Carnegie Hall and MoMA, it’s the ideal base for exploring Midtown proper.
It’s all sparkle and glamor at the Baccarat Hotel, inspired by the French crystal of the same name. Elaborate chandeliers can be found hanging from the ceiling in the hotel’s lobby, bar and salon. Bright white walls and chrome furnishings bring elegant clean lines to each luxe guest room. Home to the first dedicated spa by skincare brand La Mer, the hotel also boasts its own checkered-floor swimming pool surrounded by Côte d’Azur-style daybeds and cabanas.
Guests looking to relive 1930s New York will feel right at home at the Chatwal, where bellhops wear pillbox hats and the lobby bar serves retro cocktails. The former hangout of Hollywood heavyweights of yesteryear (John Barrymore, Fred Astaire etc), the Chatwal is appropriately located in the middle of Manhattan’s Theater District, near most of today’s hottest Broadway shows. The hotel is also socially conscious: it encourages guests to participate in its Pack for a Purpose initiative, collecting art materials and school supplies for the children of incarcerated parents. Travelers with a little extra cash can book one of 12 luxury guest suites, complete with jaw-dropping stone terraces.
The NoMad Hotel has garnered a ton of buzz after French designer Jacques Garcia fully restored the rooms inside this turn-of-the-century building on Broadway to their original grandeur. The style is classic and timeless, and every room is uniquely decorated with original art and hand-picked furnishings meant to evoke a Parisian feel with New York sensibility. The hotel hosts events throughout the year, including a black-tie masquerade ball for Halloween and The Magician, a weekly intimate performance series with magician Dan White.
The Gramercy Park Hotel opened its doors in 1925, and has housed many notable guests since then, including The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and President John F Kennedy. Rooms are draped in bold and dramatic colors – think plenty of deep reds and royal blues. Drink at the famed celebrity hangout, Rose Bar, or feast at the delectable Danny Meyer-helmed restaurant, Maialino, which is Italian for “suckling pig.”
Budget travelers looking for an affordable hotel room in the West Village with lots of history should look no further than The Jane. Originally designed as a cheap place for sailors to stay in, these tiny rooms (even for New York) are reminiscent of ship cabins, and even housed survivors of the Titanic in 1912. Stepping into the tiled walls of the lobby, with its dark-wood reception desk, feels like traveling back in time to an era of skeleton keys and white-gloved bellhops.
Housed in the former home of the National Maritime Union, The Maritime Hotel leans heavily into the nautical theme with its porthole windows, dark-wood decor and sea-inspired artwork. The hotel sits slap bang in the middle of the Meatpacking District, surrounded by trendy bars and restaurants. Whether you choose a superior room or a penthouse, guests are guaranteed a first-class stay.
The Crosby Street Hotel is the epitome of chic SoHo style. Each room is custom-designed with unique textiles and upholstery. Located on a cobblestone street, the hotel is guarded by a giant Botero cat sculpture, while inside, there’s a sculpture garden in the courtyard and a 10ft (3m) installation of a human head in the lobby. Come here to appreciate the art on view or, if you prefer, the art of an afternoon tea at Crosby Bar.
All the glossy tidbits you’ve read about SoHo can be found at the Soho Grand Hotel, Downtown Manhattan’s first boutique hotel. Art galleries, classy cocktail bars (check out the intimate Club Room) and world-class designer shops are all within walking distance. The hotel also provides an amenity you may have never realized you needed: a pet goldfish.
The High Line Hotel is named for the elevated train tracks that were re-envisioned as a linear park in 2009, but the history of the red-brick Collegiate Gothic building goes back much further. Built in 1895, the hotel was originally a seminary (and part of it still is today). Before that, an apple orchard sat on the family estate, which was where Clement Clarke Moore wrote ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.’ Each of The High Line Hotel’s 60 rooms honor this history with Western Electric rotary phones, antique furniture and vintage typewriters.
The Beekman is housed inside one of Manhattan’s original skyscrapers erected in 1883. The centerpiece of the landmark hotel is the nine-story atrium bordered by Victorian wrought-iron railings, evocative of 1930s murder mysteries, not present-day Manhattan. It’s hard to find craftsmanship like this in New York these days. The eclectic style, quirky art collection and historic resonance of The Beekman elevates the Financial District into a destination beyond weary business travelers.