It's the eternal riddle for New Yorkers: You have friends visiting from out of town who want to know, "Where should I stay in New York City?" And even with the popularity of Airbnb and other home-sharing services, there will always be those who'd rather have the convenience and ease of staying in a hotel. If you need help choosing from the many (many!) hotel options in NYC, let us be your guide: Curbed's guide of need-to-know lodgings seeks to solve this conundrum, with a list of the city's 18 most iconic, essential hotels. The rules are still the same—the hotel must have been open for one year to qualify—but this year, more newcomers have made their way onto the list, thanks to a glut of excellent luxury (hello, Park Hyatt New York) and budget options. They're joined by plenty of old favorites and new classics. Did we miss your favorite? Let us know in the comments or through the tipline.Read More
The 18 Essential New York City Hotels, November 2015
Park Hyatt New York
One of this year's newcomers, the city's first Park Hyatt hotel is especially noteworthy because of its location: It's the anchor tenant of One57, taking up the lower 25 floors of the supertall tower. Everything about the hotel is predictably over-the-top, from the Yael Pushelberg-designed interiors to the amenities, including an indoor pool equipped with underwater speakers that play music selected by the folks at Carnegie Hall. But all that luxury comes at a price: rooms start at $800 per night.
The Plaza Hotel
An oldie but a goodie, The Plaza just might be one of New York City's most iconic hotels. The hotel, designed by the Dakota's Henry Janeway Hardenbegh, opened in October 1907 after a $12 million, two-year construction process. At the time, rooms cost $2.50/night. (Today, they cost just a bit more.) Part of the building was converted into condos in years past, and a whole bunch of them are up for grabs now amongst the competition from its Central Park South neighbors.
Lotte New York Palace
Following a revamp of its 900 guestrooms, this storied hotel recently completed a $140 million renovation of its über-upscale Tower rooms and suites. The hotel actually began as a private residence, designed by McKim, Mead & White for Henry Villard and built in 1882. That original residence now contains the hotel's Villard Ballroom, along with Rarities, the hotel's ridiculously exclusive whiskey bar—membership, which is required for admittance, costs $15,000.
The Wythe, the only Brooklyn hotel on this list, is in a 1901-built factory converted by architect Morris Adjmi. Since the hotel opened its doors in May 2012, it's become a neighborhood go-to for both visitors and locals looking to cash in on the area's culture.The 70-room hotel boasts a rooftop bar with great city views and a ground-floor eatery open to all. There's no room service, but the beds are made from the building's own reclaimed ceilings.
The St. Regis New York
The 110-year-old Beaux Arts hotel, founded by Titanic victim John Jacob Astor IV—one of the wealthiest people in the country at the time—as a counterpart to another li'l property that he owned, the Waldorf, is named for a lake in the Adirondacks, which got its own moniker for a monk allegedly famous for showing hospitality to travelers. Salvador Dali, William Paley and Marlene Dietrich rested their heads there; its King Cole Bar is also the birthplace of the Bloody Mary.
Waldorf Astoria New York
The hotel, an Art Deco landmark, was designed by Schultze and Weaver and takes up the full block between 49th and 50th streets and Park and Lexington avenues. Fun fact: the hotel was the first to ever offer room service. It also contains some of the city's most expensive rentals within Waldorf Towers, a separate division of the hotel located on its upper floors, and a secret subway platform underneath the hotel where dignitaries could access the building without being seen. The hotel recently sold to Anbang Insurance Group Co. for a whopping $1.95 billion, and the new owner is planning a "major renovation."
Martha Washington Hotel
The historic Martha Washington Hotel opened in 1903 as the country's first all-women's hotel and SRO. But last year, it got an Annabelle Selldorf revamp, and is now a hip hotel with a Danny Meyer restaurant on the ground floor. In typical Selldorf fashion, the hotel's common spaces are sleek and minimalist, yet stately. But don't get too used to the name: After a recent sale, the hotel may soon go by the moniker "The Redbury." [Photo by Will Femia]
This Perkins Eastman-designed 205-roomer, which includes 27 suites, has quickly become popular among travelers—thanks, in no small part, to its luxe vibe. The vibe is a little quirky/artsy, given that in its former life as The Buckingham hotel it played host to the likes of Jan Paderewski, Georgia O'Keeffe, and Marc Chagall. The restaurant will be 70s-themed.
The Peninsula New York
In its early days, 1905-built Gotham Hotel was overshadowed by the Plaza to its north and the St. Regis across the street. It failed largely due to its inability to get a liquor license, but the Italian Renaissance architecture remains. Fast forward to 1988, when it was bought up by the Hong Kong-based Peninsula group; to 1999, when it reopened after a gut renovation; and then to the present, when the property boasts 185 guest rooms, 54 suites, and a pretty sterling reputation. Oh, and a bespoke BMW is the house car.
Ace Hotel New York
Nomad's swanky Ace Hotel, a former office building-turned-SRO, has been wooing crowds since 2009 and shows no sign of slowing down. Each room throughout the hotel is unique, with accommodations varying in size and swank-factor from a small bunk bed room to a 711-square-foot corner suite. The hotel attracts visitors of all stripes with its famed eateries, The Breslin and John Dory Oyster Bar.
The Standard, High Line
Hotel guests' peep shows have generated some headlines, but The Standard also has things to offer to the non-nudity-inclined. The building straddles the High Line, for one thing, and contains an ice rink and rooftop bar. There's always fun public art.
Viceroy New York
From the facade to the door hinges, husband-and-wife design team Stephen Alesch and Robin Standefer of Roman and Williams created every aspect of the 240-room Viceroy hotel on 57th Street. The 30-story hotel celebrated its two-year anniversary in October, and its luxe, high-design easily puts it among the best new hotels in the city. The aesthetic combines Roman and Williams' signature rich and rugged style with custom made Art Deco-esque furniture to create a space reminiscent of old New York. The lobby has a library, and all rooms are stocked with books about New York City. Small details like an elevated mini-bar, built into the wall unit that holds the bed, and porthole windows in some showers set the hotel apart.
The Marlton Hotel
Hotelier Sean MacPherson opened this charming, French-inspired hotel in a former New School dorm in 2013, and it's since become another success story for the man behind the Bowery and Jane Hotels. Its restaurant, Margaux, has become a cool-kid hangout, with the New York Times anointing it "a new fashion clubhouse" last year.
The High Line Hotel
Since it opened in 2013, this 60-room hotel has won awards and become incredibly popular with travelers. Its home is a red-brick landmarked structure between 20th and 21st Streets that both overlooks the High Line and has a private garden. Before it was used as dormitories for Episcopal ministers-in-training, the land on which the hotel will sit was an apple orchard. And then it was owned by Clement Clarke Moore, who wrote 'Twas the Night Before Christmas on that very spot.
The NoMad Hotel
The NoMad has a completely different feel from the nearby Ace—the NoMad's aesthetic leans more toward the European, with Paris-inspired interiors by Jacques Garcia featuring clawfoot bathtubs and reclaimed maple floors. The individual rooms range from standard to apartment-esque—the Suite Royale is an 1,800-square-foot space with a private terrace. The hotel has a trendy new two-story bar, by the same name, which comes with its own menu with popular dishes like chicken pot pie with black truffles and foie gras.
Gramercy Park Hotel
An incredible roster of famous people have swept through the Gramercy Park Hotel, which opened in 1925. Humphrey Bogart got married on the rooftop terrace! The Rolling Stones and U2 are among the many musicians who've stayed there. These days, with art collector Aby Rosen at the helm, the hotel's look is artsy and includes pieces by Damien Hirst, Keith Haring, and Andy Warhol. Julian Schnabel redesigned the hotel (which also has Gramercy Park views, as the name suggests) several years ago. Off the lobby is Danny Meyer restaurant Maialino.
The Bowery Hotel
A favorite of celebrities and the visiting cool crowds, the Bowery Hotel was a gamechanger for the neighborhood when it opened its doors in 2007. It should come as no surprise that the hotel, which takes on an air of sophisticated Gilded Age glamour with its red waistcoat-clad staff and casement windows, was masterminded by Sean MacPherson of Maritime Hotel and Ludlow Hotel fame.
citizenM Hotel New York Times Square
A hip hotel in Times Square? Believe it: The affordable Dutch brand citizenM opened its first New York City outpost in 2014, making it one of the newer entrants on this list. Its amenities—free Wi-Fi, easy check-in and check-out, 24-hour room service—along with its relatively low prices (rooms start at $159), make it highly rated on travel sites.