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 places to stay in New York City.

The Plaza, 5th Avenue

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.

Everything you need to know

At a Glance

Breakfast available (surcharge)
In-room accessibility
Full-service spa
Conference space
Concierge services
24-hour front desk
Limo or Town Car service available
Dry cleaning/laundry service
Multilingual staff
Smoke-free property

The St. Regis New York, 5th Avenue

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.

Everything you need to know

At a Glance

Free WiFi
Breakfast available (surcharge)
Restaurant
In-room accessibility
Wheelchair accessible (may have limitations)
Conference space
Concierge services
24-hour front desk
Dry cleaning/laundry service
Multilingual staff
Bar/lounge
Smoke-free property

The Carlyle, Madison Avenue

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.

Everything you need to know

At a Glance

Free WiFi
Breakfast available (surcharge)
Restaurant
Full-service spa
Express check-out
Concierge services
24-hour front desk
Limo or Town Car service available
Fitness facilities
Dry cleaning/laundry service
Multilingual staff
Bar/lounge

Four Seasons New York, Madison Avenue

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 the 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.

Everything you need to know

At a Glance

Free WiFi
Breakfast available (surcharge)
Restaurant
In-room accessibility
Full-service spa
Express check-out
Conference space
Concierge services
24-hour front desk
Limo or Town Car service available
Dry cleaning/laundry service
Multilingual staff
Terrace
Bar/lounge
Smoke-free property

The New Yorker Hotel, 8th Avenue

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.

Everything you need to know

At a Glance

Free WiFi
Breakfast available (surcharge)
In-room accessibility
Express check-out
Concierge services
24-hour front desk
Limo or Town Car service available
Fitness facilities
Dry cleaning/laundry service
Multilingual staff
Bar/lounge
Smoke-free property

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

    The Theater District’s Algonquin Hotel, built in 1902, is legendary in literary circles. Following World War I, the hotel 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.
    Everything you need to know

    At a Glance

    Free WiFi
    Breakfast available (surcharge)
    In-room accessibility
    Wheelchair accessible (may have limitations)
    Express check-out
    Conference space
    Concierge services
    24-hour front desk
    Dry cleaning/laundry service
    Multilingual staff
    Bar/lounge
    Smoke-free property

    The Knickerbocker, West 42nd

    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, the hotel boasts a fitness program by the New York Knicks’ Larry Johnson and an exclusive New Year’s Eve rooftop party.
    Everything you need to know

    At a Glance

    Free WiFi
    Breakfast available (surcharge)
    Restaurant
    In-room accessibility
    Concierge services
    24-hour front desk
    Limo or Town Car service available
    Dry cleaning/laundry service
    Multilingual staff

    The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park

    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.

    Everything you need to know

    At a Glance

    Breakfast available (surcharge)
    Restaurant
    In-room accessibility
    Full-service spa
    Wheelchair accessible (may have limitations)
    Express check-out
    Concierge services
    24-hour front desk
    Limo or Town Car service available
    Fitness facilities
    Dry cleaning/laundry service
    Multilingual staff
    Smoke-free property

    Lotte New York Palace, Madison Avenue

    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.

    Everything you need to know

    At a Glance

    Breakfast available (surcharge)
    Restaurant
    In-room accessibility
    Full-service spa
    Wheelchair accessible (may have limitations)
    Express check-out
    Conference space
    Concierge services
    24-hour front desk
    Limo or Town Car service available
    Fitness facilities
    Dry cleaning/laundry service
    Multilingual staff
    Smoke-free property

    Chloe Byrne contributed additional reporting to this article.

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