Inside NYC’s glam hotels

The lobby in the New York Palace hotel The lobby in the New York Palace hotel is grand and gilded. Photo Credit: New York Palace

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New Yorkers often fantasize about the tantalizing thought of a staycation at a city hotel. But it’s hard to make that dream a reality.

While the city is famous for its gorgeous hotels with household names, locals rarely see much of them. From the historical Algonquin to the ritzy Trump SoHo, here’s a look at some of what awaits if you go ahead with that staycation:

 

MODERN

W New York - Union Square

201 Park Ave. South

Constructed: 1911

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Landmarked

Hotel opened: 2004

Rates: $300 and up

With its avant-garde interior design and diverse patrons, W Union Square simultaneously embodies corporate uptown and Bohemian downtown. The hotel boasts a Mediterranean restaurant, Todd’s English Olives, a Living Room bar that’s ideal for people-watching and a nightlife hot spot, Lilium. It is located in a landmarked 1911 Beaux-Arts building and opened in 2004 as part of the redevelopment of Union Square, which is home to many new tech startups. “Inspired by the neighborhood’s junction of uptown and downtown New York City, W Union Square offers something for everyone looking for that quick escape,” said general manager William Bunce.

 

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Refinery Hotel

63 W. 38th St.
Constructed: 1912
Landmarked
Hotel opened: May 2013
Rates: $459 and up

Stay at the Refinery Hotel and pretend you’re in an episode of “Boardwalk Empire.” Built inside a former millinery (a ladies hat and trimmings manufacturer) which housed an upscale tea salon, the hotel draws on its rustic past with “raw elegance” in its rooms, while its public spaces are refined and modern.  Its 127 rooms are built like lofts, featuring custom furniture, artwork, 12-foot ceilings and designer linens and bath accessories. “Refinery Hotel has truly refined the boutique concept,” general manager Randy Taormina said. “Guests will find a welcome brand of thoughtful, eclectic and intelligent design that layers cues from the past with tremendous contemporary flair.” Possibly its biggest attraction is the Refinery Rooftop bar-- which has indoor and outdoor hangout spots with views of the Empire State Building and is popular among tourists and city-slickers alike.

 

The Jade Hotel

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52 W. 13th St.
Constructed: Oct. 2010-2013
Hotel opened: March 2013
Rates: $400-$600 in peak season, $250-350 in off peak

This hotel was built to blend seamlessly in Greenwich Village, featuring a Georgian-style exterior and Art Deco interiors that emulate speak-easies. The entrance has two gas lamps that lead to a sunken lobby with a fireplace and contemporary art. Elizabeth Andrews, a vice president at Gemini Hospitality Management, said the goal of the hotel is to make New Yorkers feel at home. The rooms, for example, are styled after Village brownstones, and the hotel also boasts Grape & Vine, a ’20s-style eatery and bar from Manhattan restaurateur Frederick Lesort. However, it’s the staff that Andrews said makes the experience in this hotel: “Instead of taking on the role of a traditional concierge or butler service, I look at our staff to act proactively and instinctively to connect with and deliver memorable moments for our guests.”

 

Le Parker Meridien New York

Building constructed: 1979-1981

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Hotel opened: 1981

Rates: Roughly $350-$600

Le Parker Meridien is a metropolis in itself. “It’s almost comparable to a resort experience in the city,” said Steven Pipes, president of the Jack Parker Corp., the hotel’s parent company.  It boasts the Knave Café, which has an elaborate design that resembles the Sistine Chapel, and Norma’s, voted by Zagat as the best breakfast in New York. It also houses a burger joint, which often has a line that stretches through the lobby and out the door of the hotel itself. “And of course room service is something never to be forgotten in a hotel, we take it pretty seriously,” Pipes said. “I think what a lot of hotels try to do is fancy food in room service, and that’s generally not what people want. They want comfort food.” The rooftop has an enclosed pool with a south-to-north view of Central Park, and its basement looks like a Manhattan block with businesses including a gym, a nail salon and a Drybar blowout spot. Deep inside the building is a quiet and peaceful spa with a waiting room that looks like a rustic ski lodge.

 

Trump SoHo

Building constructed: 2006-2010

Hotel opened: April 9, 2010

Rates: Start at $375

Trump SoHo stands out in its nabe, being the only AAA Five Diamond rated hotel in the area, and offering views of the skyline, the Statue of Liberty, the Freedom Tower and the Empire State Building. It offers the Trump Collection’s signature Trump Attaché, which gives each guest personalized and discreet 24-hour service. Among its other amenities, guests get a Trump SoHo Shopping Card which provides discounts to designer boutiques in the neighborhood, access to a spa, a wellness program, and a complimentary Kindle. “When the hotel opened in 2010, it redefined luxury hospitality in downtown Manhattan,” noted Andreas Oberoi, general manager. Trump SoHo rooms are also notoriously huge, with suites ranging from 682 square feet to more than 2,000 square feet.

 

HISTORICAL

The New York Palace

455 Madison Ave.
Constructed: The Villard Houses in 1882
Landmarked
Hotel opened: 1980
Rates: from $425 for superior rooms to $25,000 for the champagne suite

The New York Palace at the corner of 50th Street and Madison Avenue oozes luxury. It underwent a $140 million transformation last year that renovated every inch. Its 909 rooms are known around the world for their luxurious details and breathtaking views of the city. It has six new restaurants and bars, two from the popular chef Michel Richard, and a world-famous courtyard that features motifs from 15th Century Italian cathedrals. “What was once an original carriage access way is now the only hotel courtyard entrance in New York City,” said David Chase, its general manager. “It provides a unique and historic sense of arrival for hotel guests and is an extraordinary outdoor venue.” The Palace was built first in the 1880s as a mansion called The Villard Houses designed by McKim, Mead and White for the industrialist Henry Villard. Many of the mansions’ rooms remain intact inside the hotel.

 

The Marlton

5 W. Eighth St.

Building constructed: 1900 - landmarked

Hotel opened: September 2013

Rates: $250 in off-peak season, $345 in peak

If you enjoy cuddling on the couch with a good book, you’d be happy staying in the Marlton. “We like to think of our hotel lobby as a “living room” for the community; West 8th Street’s focal point for all of the rich culture and new developments in the surrounding area,” said Marcus Nicolaidis, its general manager. The lobby has a cozy fireplace, an espresso and cocktail bar and a French Mediterranean restaurant, Margaux. Inspired by postwar Paris and Greenwich Village itself, the hotel is inside a building first constructed in 1900. Before its multimillion dollar renovation completed in 2013, the building was a New School dormitory. Before that, the hotel was a favored home for beat writers like Jack Kerouac, Neal Cassidy and Lenny Bruce. It has 107 “petite chic” rooms and two penthouse suites with terraces.

 

The Algonquin

59 W. 44th St.

Constructed: 1902

Landmarked

Hotel opened: 1902

Rates: Start at $289

The Algonquin is the spot for history buffs, being New York’s oldest continually-functioning hotel. It is known for the Dorothy Parker’s Round Table, a group of writers, critics, actors and other characters who called themselves “The Vicious Circle” and met for lunch every week at the hotel from about 1919 through 1929. There is now a painting of the Circle by Natalie Ascencios in the lobby. “‘The Gonk’ was positioned as the center of New York cultural life,” general manager Gary J. Budge said. “Extensive renovations in 2012 preserved the hotel’s iconic spirit while adding contemporary comforts.” In addition to a few spots for food, the Gonk offers a 24-hour fitness center and free Wi-Fi, and has 25 suites named for famous faces from its past. It also is home to a cat named Matilda, who lives in the lobby.

 

The Pierre

2 E. 61st St.

Constructed: 1930

Landmarked

Hotel opened: 1930

Rates: Start at $795 to $25,000 per night

The Pierre, a Taj Hotel, has long been considered one of the most luxurious hotels in New York City. Upon arriving, guests are greeted by white-gloved elevator attendants. The rooms include interactive flat screen TVs and Bose home theater stations with iPod docks. The bathrooms are marble with deep-soaking tubs and glass showers with rain heads, and exclusive designer Molton Brown amenities. The hotel also offers a Taj Royal Attache, who attends its patrons’ every need. And for added relaxation, guests can enjoy the Taj’s Jiva In Room spa treatment. Having been recognized for its luxury, the Pierre was recently awarded the Forbes Travel Guide Five Star and AAA Five Diamond Award. “Guests from across the globe have long considered the Pierre ...among the world’s best for luxurious accommodations, personalized service, and for all that New York has to offer,” said Heiko Kuenstle, its general manager.

 

The Waldorf Astoria

301 Park Ave.
Constructed: 1931
Landmarked
Hotel opened: 1931
Rates: Towers of the Waldorf Astoria Suites from $699/night; Residential Apartments from $1,299/night; Presidential-Style Suites from $1,499/night; Historic Suites and Penthouse Suites from $1,999/night from $425 for superior rooms to $25,000 for the champagne suite

Waldorf Astoria is famous around the world. Its towers, the top 14 floors, offer 181 rooms and 26 Presidential-Style suites which each have unique theme, from French Provincial to Old English with Oriental accents. “With a storied background as one of the first properties to really begin hospitality as we know it today, those looking to indulge in authentic and sophisticated style choose the towers for a combination of elegance, luxurious amenities and unmatched service,” said general manager Eric Long. The Waldorf Towers recently debuted a new Suite Specialist, who hand selects the accommodations for each guest. Under the True Waldorf Service, each guest has a personal concierge. The hotel also has three restaurants: Peacock Alley, Bull & Bear Steakhouse, and Oscar’s Brasserie. And to relax, guests can enjoy the Guerlain Spa.

 

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