One of the better deals in New York City is Pod Hotel (230 E. 51st St., between 2nd and 3rd Aves., 212/355.0300 or 800/742-5945, www.podhotel.com, $79–169), on a quiet block that’s nonetheless near everything. This funky, artsy option offers great service and amenities (free Wi-Fi, mp3 docking station), an eclectic crowd including many a savvy traveler, a concierge who keeps a real-time blog on happenings in the neighborhood and a great art deco style BYOB roof garden with a city view of surrounding skyscrapers and city bustle. The best bet are the large family townhouses featuring queen, twin, and trundle beds or two person bunk rooms, each bunk with private airplane-style TV and well kempt share baths, with computerized panel alerting guests to vacancy from within their rooms.
The New Yorker Hotel (481 8th Ave., 212/224-0719, www.newyorkerhotel.com, $220–380) a historic hotel in a central location, underwent a recent renovation and offers decent amenities and value. Rates vary as to category, with some view and tower rooms sporting a panoramic view of the city.
The Warwick Hotel (65 W. 54th St., 212/247-2700, www.warwickhotelny.com, $250–300), commissioned by William Randolph Hearst in 1926 for his silent movie actress paramour, celebrates its history through period photographic displays and entire recently renovated floors of premium rooms with enhanced amenities. Murals on 54 offers elegant lunch dining while Randolph’s Bar serves fresh spins on bar classics along with more traditional entrées.
No two rooms are alike at the Roger Smith (501 Lexington Ave., at 47th St., 212/755-1400 or 800/445-0277, www.rogersmith.com, $299–499), a jazzy retreat complete with several art galleries, a gift shop selling arts and crafts, and a long, narrow restaurant painted with floor-to-ceiling murals. The rooms are quite spacious and tastefully furnished.
Filled with eclectic touches, the sleek Paramount (235 W. 46th St., near 8th Ave., 212/764-5500 or 800/225-7474, www.paramount-hotel.net, $159–500) is a fun place to stay. Created by Ian Schrager of Studio 54 fame, it features a darkened lobby filled with lollipop-colored chairs and a big-checked rug, and, in the rooms, beds slung close to the floor and stainless-steel sinks shaped like ice-cream cones. A second-story restaurant wraps around the lobby, and the hotel’s Whiskey Bar is a popular late-night spot.
Still deliciously old-fashioned, with lots of wood paneling and brocaded chairs, is the 1902 Algonquin (59 W. 44th St., between 5th and 6th Aves., 212/840-6800 or 800/555-8000, www.thealgonquin.net, $270–500). Each floor has a different color scheme, and the inviting rooms offer plump beds, comfy armchairs, and bathrooms equipped with plenty of amenities. Downstairs, where Dorothy Parker and friends once met, are several snug lounges perfect for afternoon tea, cocktails, or aperitifs.
$500 and Above
The European-styled Hotel Elysée (60 E. 54th St., between Madison and Park Aves., 212/753-1066 or 800/535-9733, $439–500) is furnished in dark woods, plush carpets, and Oriental antiques. Most of the rooms have Italian marble bathrooms, and adjoining the lobby is the classy Monkey Bar, its walls covered with murals. Among the famous residents who once lived in the Elysée were Joe DiMaggio, Tallulah Bankhead, and Tennessee Williams.
Built in 1931, the famed Waldorf-Astoria (301 Park Ave., between 49th and 50th Sts., 212/355-3000 or 800/925-3673, www.waldorf.com, $500–1000) continues to beckon with opulence and romance. Surrounding the art deco lobby are glittering stores selling jewelry, antiques, and rare books. Downstairs is Peacock Alley, an elegant café with a piano that once belonged to Cole Porter. Upstairs are 1,120 rooms in varying shapes and sizes.
One of the city’s most opulent and atmospheric hostelries is the St. Regis Hotel (2 E. 55th St., at 5th Ave., 212/753-4500 or 800/759-7550, $750–1200), built by John Jacob Astor in 1904. Filled with marble, crystal, and gold leaf, the St. Regis is home to the fabulous King Cole Bar, backed with a Maxfield Parrish mural. Guest rooms feature high ceilings, Louis XVI antiques, marble bathrooms with double sinks, and every conceivable amenity.
The Plaza (768 5th Ave., at 59th St., 212/759-3000 or 800/759-3000, www.fairmont.com, $700–1400), one of New York’s best-known hotels, was nicely restored by the Trumps in the late 1980s. The rooms come in all shapes and sizes and are furnished with both period antiques and reproductions. Some rooms offer grand four-poster beds, others marble fireplaces and crystal chandeliers.
© Avalon Travel and Sascha Zuger from Moon New York State, 5th Edition