The 9 Most Famous Hotels in New York City

Indulge in the stunning city views at these famous NYC hotels
Indulge in the stunning city views at these famous NYC hotels | Courtesy of Lotte New York Palace / Expedia
Photo of Julia Goicochea
17 November 2020

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.

The Plaza, 5th Avenue

The Plaza, 5th Avenue's iconic Palm Court dining room with stained glass ceiling and marble pillars.
Courtesy of The Plaza Hotel / Expedia

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.

The St. Regis New York, 5th Avenue

Chandeliers hang from the ceiling painted with clouds and blue skies in the dining room of The St Regis New York, 5th Avenue.
Courtesy of the St. Regis New York / Expedia

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.

The Carlyle, Madison Avenue

A luxurious seating area with and illustrated wall mural of ice skaters in central park at the Carlyle, Madison Avenue
Courtesy of the Carlyle / Expedia

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.

Four Seasons New York, Madison Avenue

A private terrace at the Four Seasons New York, Madison Avenue, looks out over the city's skyscrapers.
Courtesy of Four Seasons New York / Expedia

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.

The New Yorker Hotel, 8th Avenue

The grand columns and plasterwork ceiling wit enormous art deco chandelier at the New Yorker Hotel, 8th Avenue.
Courtesy of the New Yorker Hotel / Expedia

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.

The Algonquin Hotel Times Square, Autograph Collection, 6th Avenue

The wood-panelled lounge with plush seating and potted palms at the Algonquin Hotel Times Square, Autograph Collection, 6th Avenue.
Courtesy of the Algonquin Hotel Times Square / Expedia
The Theater District’s Algonquin Hotel, built in 1902, is legendary in literary circles. Following World War I, this famous hotel in New York hosted the Round Table salon, which included New Yorker magazine founder Harold Ross. William Faulkner, Gertrude Stein, Simone de Beauvoir, and Maya Angelou would all eventually stay here. Naturally, the Algonquin is filled with literary references, such as work desks in each of its 181 rooms and its famous hotel cat, Hamlet. We recommend booking the Dorothy Parker suite when you stay.

The Knickerbocker, West 42nd

A luxurious seating area that leads to a roof terrace at The Knickerbocker, West 42nd.
Courtesy of the Knickerbocker / Expedia
Another Astor-owned hotel, the Knickerbocker is Times Square’s first luxury hotel. Before it was taken over by the royal family of Dubai, the Beaux-Arts style property hosted Newsweek magazine and is rumored to be the birthplace of the martini. Today, this famous hotel in New York City boasts a fitness program by the New York Knicks’ Larry Johnson and an exclusive New Year’s Eve rooftop party.

The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park

A luxurious, contemporary hotel suite at The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park.
Courtesy of the Ritz-Carlton New York / Expedia

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, Madison Avenue

A luxurious lounge area of a hotel suite with a private terrace and a fireplace at Lotte New York Palace, Madison Avenue.
Courtesy of Lotte New York Palace / Expedia

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.

These recommendations were updated on November 17, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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