The Best Luxury Hotels In New York City
The Style Council guide to staying in the Big Apple, as selected by our men in the know
The Pool at the Park Hyatt New York. Photograph courtesy of Park Hyatt New York
Whether you are travelling for work or for play, to see friends and family (or, you know, to flee from them), if you are catching a Broadway show or coming to be discovered, looking for haute cuisine or a signature slice, doing the touristy bits or taking on the Knicks, New York has you covered. No place takes more pride in having the best, the most, the widest variety of your particular poison or pleasure – and places to stay when you’re partaking. Boutique hotels, hotels on a budget, luxury hotels, New York is an embarrassment of hotel riches. Here we’ve rounded up the best in their class, as selected by MR PORTER’s Style Council, which includes some of the city's best-connected men among its membership.
The best hotel lobbies
The lobby at The Bowery. Photograph courtesy of The Bowery
Put The Bowery at the top of all of your best-hotel lists, for its decor, location, service and general vibe. We do. One of the main draws is the hotel’s lush lobby. Whether you are meeting there for business or catching up with new friends or old, this fireside room, a maximalist mash-up of kilim rugs, neo-Moorish detailing and velvet upholstered sofas, which gives onto an enclosed porch, may be the single cosiest spot in the city.
Originally built to house sailors docked on the Hudson River across the street, the rooms at The Jane maintain their military efficiency, albeit with a bohemian bent. The lobby, though, is pure grandeur, with all of the fantastical elements that make its cousin The Bowery so charming: oriental rugs, a grand fireplace, soaring exposed-beam ceilings and a glittering crowd to match.
When The Mercer opened in the late 1990s, the lobby and its various subterranean levels (a basement restaurant and club) was the gathering spot for the beautiful and damned in Manhattan. Plus ça change. These 20 years later, the hotel’s trim, clean sitting area and front-room bistro, limned by gauzy white curtains, is still very much the spot to see and be seen and to rub shoulders with the the city’s movers and shakers.
Years from now, when scholars seek to study the contours of our digitally nomadic times, they could do worse than look to the scene in the Roman And Williams-designed lobby of The Ace hotel. A little bit clubby, a little bit woodsy (reflecting, perhaps, the Portland-based hotel’s northwestern roots), chock-a-block with perfectly patinaed Chesterfields, tartan-upholstered wing chairs and laptop-lugging creatives, this room is the modern telecommuter’s version of a Belle Époque Viennese coffee house.
The lobby of this landmark hotel named after the Scottish essayist Mr Thomas Carlyle may be the most elegant place in New York, or anywhere. It’s certainly the only one where you can catch a clarinet solo by Mr Woody Allen, who plays there regularly. And, for whatever reason, a martini here, whether in the casually opulent restaurant designed by the high priest of aristocratic ease, Mr Renzo Mongiardino, or in the cabaret bar wrapped in a mural by Mr Marcel Vertès, or in the famous Bemelmans Bar, named after Mr Ludwig Bemelmans, the great Austro-Hungarian illustrator of Madeline, whose drawings cover the walls, is just better than anywhere else. As is the people watching.
If, as the California-born hotelier Mr Sean MacPherson says, the lobbies of his hotels The Bowery and The Jane are love stories to the Laurel Canyon rock ’n’ roll glamour he grew up admiring, the Lobby Lounge & Garden of his Ludlow Hotel on the Lower East Side is a homage to the downtown New York he discovered in the 1980s – whitewashed brick, low-slung leather couches and a kind of expansiveness of spirit. The advanced American food served there, though, and in the hotel’s restaurant Dirty French, both under the guidance of the guys behind Carbone, is a million miles better than anyone can remember eating in the bad old days.
The best hotel restaurants
Temple Court restaurant at The Beekman. Photograph courtesy of Temple Court
Augustine and Temple Court at The Beekman
Chef Mr Tom Colicchio and restaurateur Mr Keith McNally are both New York institutions. Together, they have built a couple of instant classics with Augustine and Temple Court at The Beekman hotel downtown. Mr McNally’s classic brasserie recalls his previous institution Pastis and still rollicking Balthazar – mirrored walls, tall banquettes and killer steak frites. Mr Colicchio’s Temple Court and Bar Room are paeans to the haute cuisine of yore: lobster thermidor! Lamb wellington! Oysters Rockefeller! Both will take you back in time and take you to hotel-restaurant heaven.
The Mark Restaurant By Jean-Georges
There are a few dishes at The Mark Restaurant By Jean-Georges that, on their own, are worth the trip to New York. If there is a better single bite of food than the crispy sushi, we’ve never had it. But Alsatian-American chef Mr Jean-Georges Vongerichten isn’t just a wildly gifted and prodigious cook (with more than a dozen top-tier restaurants under his care), but a great restaurateur. His places are far more than simply purveyors of fine food. They are enjoyable to eat in, which, if you eat out a lot, you recognise as quite an accomplishment. Nowhere is that more true than in this eccentrically appointed gem designed by Mr Jacques Grange, with its low-slung coral-coloured chairs, which are ideal for sinking into after a long, languorous dinner.
Maialano at The Gramercy Park
It is easy for a New Yorker, sitting in the sun-filled, slightly subterranean dining room in Maialino, looking across Gramercy Park, to be jealous of guests in the hotel above who can order room service from Mr Danny Meyer’s Roman-style trattoria. Easy, that is, until you remember, that, at that moment, you too have access to the delectably crispy-skinned roast pork (maialino is Italian for suckling pig) and phenomenal wine list. Then again, if a late lunch in this hotel renovated by Mr Julian Schnabel and Mr John Pawson isn’t the best time and place for a little reverie, well... What were we saying?
The Library at The NoMad
There is fried chicken and then there is the fried chicken in the the bar of The NoMad, which is better. As is all of the slightly Swiss, Californian-inflected food on Mr Daniel Humm’s menu, whether you order room service, eat it in the Palladian-style marble atrium next to the hotel’s elegant lobby or tucked away in the glamorous Library bar. Good as the comforting food is, though, it is ably complemented by the hotel’s design. “It’s stylish, rustic, comfortable and sexy,” says dancer, director and Style Council Member Mr Stephen Galloway. “Plus, there are wonderful staff who know my secrets and keep them.”
Locanda Verde at The Greenwich
Approaching its 10-year anniversary, Mr Andrew Carmellini’s Italianate tavern Locande Verde remains as good as any restaurant in the city, a draw even for guests upstairs at the The Greenwich Hotel, part owned by Mr Robert de Niro, where the minibar goodies are complimentary. According to actor and Style Council Member Mr Douglas Booth, “For breakfast, the inside courtyard is hard to beat.” Who are we to disagree?
Majorelle at The Lowell
For generations, La Grenouille was considered by the glitterati to be among the best, and maybe most expensive, restaurants in New York. In 2014, the second-generation restaurateur behind that success left La Grenouille to open a place of his own. That place became Majorelle, the still somewhat under-discovered French-Moroccan gem in The Lowell. Well, we’re here to blow up the spot. The food – from oysters to tagines, caviar to couscous, ox tail, risotto and the classic French baba au rhum (all offered in a three-course prix fixe menu) – is fantastic.
The best new hotels
The Lobby Bar at The New York Edition. Photograph by Mr Nikolas Koenig, courtesy of Edition hotels
The New York Edition
When your favourite influencer’s favourite influencer comes to New York these days, whether for the Met Gala, Fashion Week or just a little #sponcon, they are likely as not staying at The Edition. It is, as the kids say these days, very hip. But for all of the right reasons. The salon-style pictures in the dining room, just as in The London Edition, make Mr Ian Schrager’s New York spot a familiar yet elegant home base to meet and fuel up for a day of museum hopping or Instagramming. All you really need worry about are photobombers.
The gathering principle at Public, the newish hotel designed by Herzog & de Meuron and owned by Studio 54 impresario Mr Ian Schrager, is a kind of democratic access. Each of the various Instagram-friendly lobby spaces, for example, is open and available to all, first come, first served. Ditto the restaurants. And, then, taking this kind of openness to an extreme, Mr Schrager removed all the service people, and thus the deference of one to another, from the hotel as well. At Public, there are no bellhops, no concierges, no check-in desk and even room service is waiter-less. And with all that — poof! – the idea of tips.
Anyone who is anyone or, indeed, anyone who would like some day to be someone wants to stay at 11 Howard. With a world-class restaurant, Le Coucou, around the corner, and Crosby Street, New York City’s coolest street-style avenue, just out the front door, Mr Aby Rosen’s sleek downtown boutique hotel is hard to beat. You’ll catch us in The Blond, lingering over a negroni before the next Fashion Week party.
The best hotels for extravagance
The lobby of the Four Seasons New York. Photograph courtesy of the Four Seasons New York
Mr IM Pei’s glorious Art Moderne marble skyscraper is one of the more dramatic sights, even among the dizzying carnival display surrounding it, in midtown Manhattan. Inside, the Deco lobby has the kind of sober grandeur and luxurious quiet that Hercule Poirot might appreciate. It is rather nice to imagine the Belgian aesthete taking his tisane before the cathedral-glass window of the Ty Warner penthouse suite designed by Mr Peter Marino. Style Council Member, musician and style icon Mr Pharrell Williams, for his part, says, simply, of his favoured hotel, “I always sleep comfortably.” An endorsement it is hard to better.
“I enjoy the Park Hyatt,” says Style Council Member, wine aficionado and NBA star Mr Dwayne Wade. “I have had the pleasure of visiting a few of its locations and they are consistently beautiful.” To say nothing of the Hyatt Rewards points (yes, we see you, Mr Business Traveller, and we celebrate you). The New York iteration of the global brand is as coolly minimalist and luxurious as you’d expect, with the bonus of being around the corner from the Petrossian boutique and café, should you be craving some caviar while in town.
The beautiful Beaux-Arts St Regis was built to rival in elegance the nearby Waldorf Astoria, which it most certainly does. No better aesthetic judge than Mr Salvador Dalí made the St Regis his residence on and off for nearly a decade and it was for the signal elegance, surely, that Mr Ian Fleming had James Bond meet Felix Lighter at the King Cole Bar for a drink, then, as now, one of the landmark bars in New York.
If your idea of luxury is less about amenities and more about discretion and privacy, Mr Eric Goode’s sumptuous Nolitan brownstone boutique hotel Lafayette House is your spot. There are no bars, no restaurants and no paparazzi. You’ll have your quiet apartment-style room (and fireplace, and perhaps balcony) to yourself, but you may happen to see guests such as Mr Thom Yorke passing you in the flocked-wallpaper stairwell.
The best hotel pools
The rooftop pool at Soho House. Photograph courtesy of Soho House
The pool at Soho House in the Meatpacking District is the best in the city. There, we’ve said it. We’re big fans of each and every House, but there is something particularly special about this oasis in the middle of Manhattan, which is located a little too conveniently for both a summer siesta in the sun when you should really be working and a staycation in the city.
In the art crawl area of Chelsea, Hôtel Americano feels like an exotic retreat from the city. The minimalist spaces, made up of woods and hand-hewn metal surfaces, manage to feel bright and warm in winter and somehow coolly refreshing in summer. Nestled still deeper, the hotel’s rooftop pool feels like a world away. With a plate of fresh fish tacos and a mezcal drink from the Mexican restaurant La Piscine in hand and an unimpaired and somewhat unfamiliar view of the New York skyline, what more could you want?
Perhaps it is unsurprising for a hotel formerly known as The Maritime – and which still looks a bit like a landlocked ocean liner with its rows of porthole windows – should take its body of water so seriously. The pool at Dream Downtown is not just a pool, but a “beach”, complete with imported sand for your mid-city Corona commercial re-enactments. Also, Diplo digs it. The Style Council Member and star DJ is a fan of Dream. So, oontz, oontz.
WHAT TO PACK
Fabbrica Pelletterie Milano Spinner 53cm Leather-Trimmed Aluminium Carry-On Suitcase
Thom Browne Short-Length Stripe-Trimmed Shell Swim Shorts
Breitling Navitimer 8 B01 Chronograph 43mm Stainless Steel and Leather Watch
TOM FORD Washed Stretch-Cotton Corduroy Jacket
Le Labo Rose 31 Eau de Parfum, 50ml
Berluti Leather Tasselled Loafers