An insider’s guide to the top hotels in Manhattan — from five-star icons to stylish boutiques and budget accommodation — including the best Manhattan hotels for spas, indoor swimming pools, Michelin-starred restaurants and rooms with Central Park views, in neighbourhoods including the Upper East Side, Lower Manhattan, Tribeca, Broadway and the West Village.
Four Seasons Hotel New York
This five-star is on the elegant side of Midtown, away from the bustle of Times Square and close to Central Park. Despite the imperious lobby with its towering ceilings, marble floors and giant pillars, the hotel still manages to be intimate and understated. Rooms have breathtaking views, the higher looking out on the park and the city, all the way across to the Hudson. Expect two sublime in-house restaurants: Ty Lounge, with Asian-inspired dishes, and The Garden Restaurant, serving New American cuisine under towering acacia trees.
Crosby Street Hotel
The glass façade and electric blue light at the entrance of this Soho hotel promises a flashy boutique hotel, but inside it’s all understated elegance, with subtle tones of grey and mauve, and numerous art pieces dominating. Extremely friendly staff will greet you by name the second time they see you. If you need to stay in, amenities include a gym and a 99-seat cinema. Rooms in understated tones all have floor-to-ceiling windows – get a Meadow Suite with a private terrace garden if you have the cash.
Much of the charm of this original Gothic skyscraper has been preserved, from the high ceilings to the wood-floor rooms, although the décor is never overdone. And while hipster touches abound there’s nothing over the top. The live music at Winnie’s Jazz Bar in the lobby greets guests most nights, while The Refinery Rooftop plays host to DJs and beautiful people, with both indoor and outdoor space, a fireplace, and great views of the city. Go for a room with a view of the Empire State Building if budget allows.
This luxury hotel enjoys the finest location on the Upper East Side, perfectly situated on Madison and 76th – otherwise known as the corner of Wealth and Sophistication. It is housed in a handsome 1930s Beaux Arts building, and a wonderful merging of old-world elegance and contemporary style. Rooms come with all the mod-cons, and some have Central Park views. You can dine on French haute cuisine and seafood classics at the elegant in-house restaurant. Bemelmans Bar, just off the lobby, remains one of the finest cocktail bars in the world. Head to Café Carlyle for live jazz; expect Woody Allen on clarinet every Monday night.
This Tribeca hotel, owned by Robert de Niro, is a bit of an enigma. The style is Morocco meets the tropics, with elements of Europe and the Orient thrown in. Somehow it all works seamlessly. There are numerous guest-only communal areas including a carpeted Drawing Room and a secluded garden courtyard that recalls a riad in Marrakech. None of the bedrooms look alike, but you might find Tibetan silk rugs or bathrooms of hand-laid Moroccan tile in your chamber. Chef Andrew Carmellini’s soulful, modern riffs on Italian country cooking include specialties such as squid ink linguini with Manila clams. The hotel’s subterranean Japanese-inspired Shibui Spa is a veritable oasis.
For easy access to the big-ticket sights in the city, The Whitby’s location in Upper Midtown is difficult to beat. It’s within easy walking distance of Central Par, the Museum of Modern Art, and the theatres of Broadway. Interior designer Kit Kemp and her husband Tim, founders of the Firmdale Hotel group, have transformed the hotel into a riot of rich, tactile fabrics, elaborately-printed wallpapers, crockery hung like portraits, giant murals and sculptures. Rooms are spacious, especially for New York standards, and individually designed, using more than 150 different fabrics. The Whitby Bar is a buzzy venue that attracts a mixture of hotel guests and locals.
The NoMad Hotel
French designer Jacques Garcia has given a bohemian-chic makeover to a turn-of-the-century Beaux Arts building smack in the middle of Broadway. Faded Persian rugs and a 200-year-old fireplace set the tone. Retro-style mahogany desks and clawfoot tubs inject personality into the rooms. Chef Humm and restaurateur Will Guidara of three-Michelin-star Eleven Madison Park oversee the food and beverage programme, and there are multiple locations in the hotel to sample it, from the sumptuous book-lined bi-level Library, to dark and decadent cocktail emporium Elephant Bar, with its 24ft-long mahogany counter.
1 Hotel Central Park
The 1 Hotels are an eco concept by W hotel chain founder Barry Sternlicht. The interior is designed by NYC hipster firm AvroKo to feel like an enchanted forest. Ivy grows up the outside of the building and on the inside, 24,000 plants dangle from the lobby ceiling, climb up the walls and surprise you in the shower. The hotel is one block away from Central Park on East 58th Street and the Avenue of the Americas, which is a fantastic location for visiting the park and reaching anywhere in Manhattan. Virtually everything in the city is less than 30 minutes away. Need a ride? A Tesla premium electric vehicle is available for free lifts within a 15-block radius.
The Mandarin Oriental is all about Asian accents merged with retro elements. Think fresh orchids, exotic purple and gold tones with Art Deco chairs and tiled walls in the Lobby Lounge. The 35th-floor Sky Lobby is a real sight to behold, with giant floor-to-ceiling windows looking out on the city and the park. Don’t miss the spa, set over two floors on the Hudson River side, with its crystal steam rooms, VIP spa suite with fireplace, and an Oriental Tea Lounge. Splurge for a Central Park View room with views of the sunrise over the park from the king-sized bed when you wake up. You’re in an ideal location; between Midtown and the Upper West Side, steps from Central Park.
The first thing to note about this Tribeca hotel is its impressive art collection; you can’t miss the swirling Loopy Doopy painting by Sol LeWitt in the lobby atrium. Add to that a superb Mediterranean restaurant and wine bar, Atrio, that’s become a power breakfast hot spot, and rooms with all the mod-cons.Technophiles may like the fact that guests can use a Conrad New York app to check in, request room service or arrange a wake-up call. The hotel also has enviable access to natural scenery. There’s just one road separating the hotel from a small park and the Hudson River, where ferries can take you to Ellis Island or down to the Statue of Liberty.