Visitors to the Big Apple visit not only to see its attractions and landmarks, but also to experience the hotels that have become famous through their starring roles in the media. Among the red-brick mansions and towering skyscrapers are a few NYC hotels that have made a name for themselves on the big screen and in glossy magazines, attracting an influx of frequent celebrity guests. Here are the most famous hotels in New York City.
As one of the most famous hotels in America, The Plaza is as iconic as some of its celebrity fans, including F. Scott Fitzgerald, who set part of The Great Gatsby here. Along with its appearance in films such as Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest, the Plaza has earned its Historic Hotel of America title. Built in 1907, the 19-story building in Midtown Manhattan hosts a famous afternoon tea service and has a suite inspired by beloved children’s book Eloise at the Plaza.
Cocktail connoisseurs should make the pilgrimage to this hotel, where the bloody mary is said to have been invented at the King Cole Bar. The Beaux-Arts-style hotel was built in 1904 by John Jacob Astor IV, who died on the Titanic. After his death, the hotel would become a favorite of celebrities such as John Lennon and Salvador Dalí, as well as fictional icon James Bond. Today the St. Regis is known for its pampering – including complimentary chauffeur-driven Bentleys and luxury butler service.
This stately Upper East Side hotel was destined for fame, having been named after the popular controversial essayist Thomas Carlyle. It’s no stranger to controversy, having been the reported meeting place of President John F. Kennedy and actress Marilyn Monroe – the hotel was referred to as the “New York White House” during Kennedy’s administration. Designers such as Dorothy Draper and Thierry Despont have helped decorate the 109 rooms and suites, while Madeline author Ludwig Bemelmans contributed the original murals on display in Bemelmans Bar.
The Four Seasons bills itself as New York’s “tallest five-star luxury hotel.” However, it’s the ground floor of this 52-story building that made this New York hotel world-famous – I.M. Pei, the Chinese-American architect behind the stunning glass Pyramid outside the Louvre in Paris, designed the lobby. Its imposing French limestone pillars, geometric theme, and towering 33-foot (10m) ceilings make it one of the city’s premier design attractions.
You might recognize the New Yorker from the Manhattan skyline. Its bold “New Yorker” sign, at the top of the 43 stories, served as a beacon to famous guests including Muhammad Ali and the King of Swing, Benny Goodman. Today, the Art Deco hotel, built in 1929, attracts a late-night crowd with Butcher & Banker, a subterranean steakhouse situated in a 1920s-era bank vault. Best of all, the New Yorker is the most affordable of the city’s famous hotels.
Aside from its moniker, the Hotel St. Moritz hasn’t changed since it was rebranded in 2002 as the Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park, or simply the Ritz. Since its opening in 1911, the hotel has provided famously upscale services across 259 rooms and suites and at its cult La Prairie spa. Timeless luxury amenities, such as limousine and butler services, are both available upon request at this famed New York City hotel.
Lotte New York Palace’s gilded interior has become a familiar sight on screen, providing a cinematic setting for the sneaky socialites of Gossip Girl and countless other shows. The ornate Gold Room is a particular scene-stealer – boasting a grand arched ceiling carved with intricate details, half-moon-shaped paintings depicting dreamy Edens, and hand-crafted cocktails served from a black marble bar. The smart rooms offer creamy bespoke armchairs, Molton Brown toiletries, and sweeping views of the city. For a real treat, indulge yourself in the spa with the signature palace restorative massage.
Looking for more iconic stays in the city? Our guides have you covered. Enjoy skyline views and check into one of the best hotels with a balcony in New York City, or indulge at one of Manhattan’s top luxury hotels; engage with the Big Apple’s illustrious past with a stay at one of its historic hotels, or explore the Upper West Side from a legendary boltholes, all bookable now on Culture Trip.
Chloe Byrne contributed additional reporting to this article.
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