New York City boasts more than its fair share of iconic hotels, some made famous through the silver screen or hit TV shows, others renowned as timeless havens of style and design. Many famous hotels in New York have shut down completely or closed temporarily for renovation (the legendary Waldorf Astoria falls into the latter category), but there are still plenty of places where you can bask in fame’s bright glow.
Famous Hotels in New York City
For an ultra-memorable trip, book a stay in one of these nine famous hotels in New York City.
Before opening The Plaza in 1907, its designers curated a stunning collection of crystal chandeliers and gold-encrusted china in preparation for unveiling the grandest hotel in America. Numerous luminaries have crossed its opulent threshold, from presidents and politicians to royals, celebs, and Beatles. Ambitious moguls have made and lost fortunes here as glittering society waltzed in the Grand Ballroom, most famously for Truman Capote’s legendary black and white ball.
The Plaza has also hosted fictional characters, from the Oak Room’s starring role alongside Cary Grant in Hitchcock’s classic thriller North By Northwest to Macaulay Culkin’s lobby romp in Home Alone 2. But the best known may be a bright-eyed girl named Eloise, who came to life through a beloved book series. Guests can stay in a bright-pink Eloise-inspired suite and take afternoon tea Eloise-style in The Palm Court.
Amenities: Concierge, 24-hour butler service, fitness center and spa, room service, business center and meeting rooms, laundry and dry-cleaning service, 24-carat gold-plated Sherle Wagner fixtures, white marble vanities, soaking tubs in most rooms, iPad-controlled temperature and lighting, and multilingual staff.
The St. Regis New York
This landmark Midtown hotel has long been synonymous with New York sophistication and glamour as well as unabashed fame and fortune. After mogul John Jacob Astor IV opened the architectural stunner in 1904 and met a famously tragic end with the sinking of the Titanic, the St. Regis continued to shine. Celebrities like Salvador Dali, Marlene Dietrich, and John Lennon roamed the hallways, many staying for long-term residencies. Fictional characters flourished too, including everyone’s favorite spy, James Bond; author Ian Fleming placed the hotel at center stage in Live and Let Die.
King Cole Bar and the Maxfield Parrish painting by the same name generate ample star attraction as well. Be sure to have a Bloody Mary at the bar where the spicy cocktail is said to have originated.
Amenities: Free Wi-Fi, butler service, unpacking and packing services, garment-pressing service, Bentley car service, business center and meeting rooms, airport transportations, dry-cleaning and laundry service, multilingual staff, and fitness center.
Four Seasons Hotel New York
One of the most luxurious and famous hotels in New York, the Four Seasons showcases a soaring I.M. Pei-designed lobby and a 52nd-floor Penthouse Suite (reported to ring it at upwards of $50,000 per night), featuring four balconies, a private library, and a chauffeured Rolls-Royce. The hotel is situated on Billionaire’s Row, between Park and Madison Avenues on 57th Street, and features Manhattan’s richest views.
Each of the 368 rooms and suites features lavish decor sure to make you feel like a celebrity and ultra-luxe relaxation spots like the serene indoor pool and spa. Sip a custom-barrel bourbon by the Bar’s fireplace while taking in the remarkable lobby.
Amenities: Room service, fitness center and spa, free Wi-Fi, business center and meeting rooms, concierge, laundry and dry-cleaning service, airport transportation, multilingual staff, babysitting, infinity beds, and marble bathrooms.
No other property carries the same cachet as the Algonquin, one of the most historic New York hotels. Since the golden days when The New Yorker magazine was founded here, the Algonquin has a long heritage of literary guests like Dorothy Parker, William Faulkner, and Maya Angelou.
Each of the 181 guest rooms and suites is designed to be warm and inviting. Book-loving guests have been brought to tears by the sight of the lovely Edwardian oak paneled library—and many also shed a tear at the closing of the Oak Room, a renowned cabaret space hosting performers from Diana Krall and Michael Feinstein to Harry Connick Jr. and Andrea Marcovicci.
Historical importance and celebrity aside, Algonquin’s most enduring feature may be its beloved lobby cats, known as hotel ambassadors.
Amenities: Free Wi-Fi, well-lit work desks, fitness center, dry-cleaning and laundry service, concierge, multilingual staff, flat-screen TVs, and Beekman 1802 bath amenities.
The Roosevelt Hotel
Known as the grande dame of Madison Avenue, this historic hotel was built in 1924 and named in honor of the 26th President of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt. Designed to attract luxury-seeking, savvy travelers of the day, the hotel would go on to usher in many firsts, including using underground tunnels to connect guests with nearby Grand Central Terminal, adding television sets to every room, and serving as setting for Guy Lombardo’s first performance of “Auld Lang Syne.”
Today, 1,025 guest rooms, including 33 suites, have classic charm with modern amenities. Lobby and bar spaces are instantly recognizable thanks to a long list of films based here, including Wall Street, Men in Black 3, and Maid in Manhattan. A hit TV show shone the most brilliant spotlight when Mad Men character Don Draper escaped a tragic marriage within the shelter of the Roosevelt. For that sexy Mad Men feel, be sure to have a cocktail at the rooftop bar of Mad 46.
Amenities: Business center and meeting rooms, concierge, fitness center, currency exchange, multilingual staff, dry-cleaning and laundry service, and iPod/iPhone docks.
The New Yorker Hotel
Boasting one of the most famous signs in all of New York, The New Yorker Hotel has seen highs, lows and knock outs, much like its most famous guest Muhammad Ali, who recuperated here after his defeat by Joe Frazier. While the hotel was conceived in the roaring 20s, the doors didn’t open until just after the stock market crash, proving a bumpy start. But where others failed, The New Yorker has endured.
Key moments in the hotels history include when NBC began broadcasting live from The Terrace Room and when King of Swing Benny Goodman lit up the nightclub. Today, under the direction of the reliable Wyndam brand, the hotel offers 1,050 rooms and suites with modern conveniences at a good price point. Don’t miss late-night eats at the 24-hour Tick Tock Diner; you’ll also want to check out the underground Butcher & Banker steakhouse, housed in a former bank vault.
Amenities: Business center and meeting rooms, dry-cleaning and laundry service, fitness center, concierge, multilingual staff, and flat-screen TVs.
The Carlyle Hotel
This Upper East Side icon, named after Scottish essayist Thomas Carlyle, is notable for its privacy and discretion. Goodness knows that the walls of this 1930s art deco building could have much to say. Dubbed the “New York White House” during JFK’s administration (he owned an apartment in the building), the hotel is believed to have been a primary setting for the president’s tryst with Marilyn Monroe.
Star power is not a past tense at the Carlyle, with celebrities from Mick Jagger and Madonna to Prince William and Kate Middleton enjoying its understated elegance. Visit Bemelmans Bar to see the original murals painted by Ludwig Bemelmans, author of the Madeline children’s book series.
Amenities: Free Wi-Fi, original hardwood flooring, custom fabrics, original Audubon prints, Piranese and Kips artwork, luxury bath amenities by Kiehl’s, iPhone/iPod docking stations, slippers and bathrobes, and individually controlled thermostats.
Washington Square Hotel
Washington Square Hotel has served as a haven for artists, writers, and innovators for more than a century. The maze-like configuration of comfortable and spacious guest rooms with views over lively Washington Square Park add to the allure.
From music icons like The Rolling Stones, Albert King, and Bo Diddley—who performed live in the lobby for the hotel’s 100th anniversary—to a young Ernest Hemingway, past guests have given the hotel a creative energy you can still feel today. Don’t be surprised to see fellow guests roaming hallways in search of room 305, where Bob Dylan once lived.
Amenities: Free Wi-Fi, breakfast included, concierge, and multilingual staff.
The NoMad Hotel
One of New York’s new crop of designer hotels, The NoMad has infused a grand beaux-arts building with sexy and sleek decor. The mix of Old World charm and a modern mood attracts trendsetters like Beyonce, who chose to host her 35th birthday party here, instantly sending the hotel’s star into another level of orbit.
Guests can feel the glow in one of 168 spacious-by-New-York-standards guest rooms and within French-inspired NoMad Restaurant (from the team behind Eleven Madison Park, recently recognized as the world’s best restaurant).
Amenities: European-style bathrooms, including claw-foot bathtubs in many rooms; Argan bath amenities and Sferra bed linens; Frette bathrobes; mahogany French writing desks; hardwood floors and handmade vintage Heriz rugs; flat-screen LCD HD TVs; 24-hour room service; and a Suite Royale with private terrace.
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—Original reporting by Jess Simpson