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.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Chloe Byrne contributed additional reporting to this article.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.