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New York’s Loews Regency: A Classy and Luxurious Place to Stay

New York’s Loews Regency: A Classy and Luxurious Place to Stay


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The Loews Regency is one of the most well-known hotels in New York. Located on Park Avenue and 61st Street, it’s been going strong for more than 50 years and has been hailed as the birthplace of the “power breakfast.” We recently had the opportunity to spend an evening there and have dinner at its restaurant, The Regency Bar & Grill, at their invitation, and this is a hotel that we’d recommend without reservation.

If you haven’t spent any time at the hotel since seeing a show at Feinstein’s (its famed cabaret and jazz club) a decade ago, then you’re in for a real surprise. For one, Feinstein’s doesn’t exist anymore; it closed on New Year’s Eve 2012 to make way for an expansion of the restaurant. And two, the entire hotel underwent a $100 million renovation in 2013 and re-opened in January 2014 with a completely new and modern look. Owner Jonathan Tisch brought in the best in the business to reconceptualize the whole hotel: Meyer Davis Studio for the bar, spa, salon, and two suites; Rottet Studio for the guest rooms and lobby; Sant Ambroeus to run an adjacent stand-alone coffee shop; and celebrity hairstylist Julien Farel to run the spa and fitness center (which attracts plenty of locals along with hotel guests).

The new lobby is sleek and spacious, with plenty of marble and cream tones. There’s a comfortable lounge and sitting area on one side, and down a few steps you’ll find the completely refurbished Regency Bar & Grill (more on that later). Our guest room (one of 379) was also surprisingly spacious, decked out with all the amenities you’d expect in an upscale New York hotel: soft Frette linens on a super-soft bed, a large workspace with an ergonomic desk chair and plenty of outlets, electronic window shades, a 47-inch flat-screen TV, a marble bathroom with a TV embedded in the mirror, and high-end toiletries from Julien Farel. It had a pleasing color scheme of earth tones, and a refrigerator was brought to our room when requested (we had some leftovers from dinner). I had the opportunity to check out a couple of the 58 suites as well, and they’re large and nicely-designed; there are also some Signature Suites designed by world-class designers including Lauren Rottet and Nate Berkus, and they’re jaw-droppingly gorgeous.

Our meal at the Regency Bar & Grill was also relaxed and enjoyable. The restaurant is large and comfortable, with a stylish bar up front. New executive chef Catherine Medrano works with local farms to showcase regional ingredients, and the menu has several locally-made cocktails, pizzas, and desserts on its menu as part of the Flavor NYC program, including diavola and porcini truffle pizzas from Olivetta Gourmet Group, gin cocktails from Brooklyn Gin, petits fours from Bon Vivant, and cookies and desserts from Mah-Ze-Dahr Bakery. The rest of the menu is fairly straightforward: share plates including crab cakes, hummus, shrimp cocktail, and mini corned beef reubens; starters including house salad, tomato soup, and asparagus with prosciutto, cashews, and lemon vinaigrette; main plates including chopped and Caesar salads, a burger, rigatoni Pomodoro, breaded chicken paillard, and roasted baby cauliflower; and “simply prepared” bone-in ribeye, mahi mahi, cage free chicken, and Berkshire pork chop. We started with the diavola pizza: ‘nduja, hot sopressata, mozzarella, and tomato sauce on an oblong crispy charcoal black crust. It had way too much cheese and the black crust was a, shall we say, interesting choice, but it was still tasty regardless.

The chicken paillard was nicely fried and topped with a pile of dressed arugula, lemon wedges, and shaved parm, and the airline chicken breast was juicy and crispy-skinned and accompanied with a mound of watercress, but I’m not certain if the $38 price tag is justified (béarnaise and chimichurri are offered on the side, and they added some needed complexity to the entrees). For dessert, the Bon Vivant petits fours were pretty spectacular, as were uniquely spiced cookies from Mah-Ze-Dahr.


I spent some time exploring the hotel the following morning, and this hotel really has a lot to offer. It’s still a breakfast destination and its restaurant serves a very nice weekend brunch. The 10,000 square foot spa and salon are decidedly upscale and quite luxurious. There’s a full-scale fitness center with private personal training sessions available, as well as a business center open 24/7. There are also a few other surprising perks: items can be ironed, pressed, or steamed within two hours for just $5 apiece, a Mercedes is available to drive guests anywhere within a 20 block radius, there are meeting rooms with full AV setups, complimentary shoe shine is available, the hotel is very pet friendly, and there are plenty of offerings available for children as well. And if you’re planning on returning to the hotel soon, they can store your clothes and toiletries for you.

The Loews Regency exudes an air of modern luxury, and it's sleek, stylish, and thoughtfully designed. We thoroughly enjoyed our stay here, and you probably will as well.

The hotel stay and meal that are the subject of this review were provided at no cost to the writer.


OutThere Recommends: Hotels

New York City is rightly renowned for its luxurious accommodations, with classic as well as new (and newly reimagined) hotels that offer elegance at every turn. For this feature, our partners at OutThere sampled a selection to include in their Monumental NYC issue. These are their &ldquofavorite, tried-and-tested, stylish and extraordinary places to stay.&rdquo See their descriptions below for inspiration on your next visit to NYC. &mdashnycgo.com staff

Courtesy, The Pierre New York

The Pierre New York

Nothing says old-world Upper East Side eclecticism louder than the Pierre &ndash one of the true Fifth Avenue grandes dames. The property&rsquos classic charm remains unchanged, despite renovations in 2007 &ndash each of the elevators features its own attendant to guide you to your room. We became fast friends with ours, who told us she had been here for 29 years.

The hotel&rsquos Rotunda restaurant serves afternoon tea and cocktails in a setting that has to be seen to be believed, lovingly reimagined by artist Daniel Romualdez (rumour has it Jackie O may be looking down on you enviously). The property&rsquos bar is perfectly adequate for a pre-Broadway drink. Dining in the hotel&rsquos Perrine restaurant is a more modern affair, attracting a wealthy Upper East Side crowd. Just enough of the classic Pierre style has been retained, such as the cute vintage style of the menu design, and executive chef Ashfer Biju offers up classic dishes from the hotel&rsquos original fare. The decor of our room was elegant and grand, in keeping with the DNA of the property, although 10 years into its renovation, it could do with a refresh. However, what may be missing in modernity is made up for in quality &ndash our sheets were some of the silkiest we&rsquove ever slept in. If you&rsquore craving some contemporary (okay, mid-century modern) stylings, check-into a Grand Suite that comes with terrace views over one of Manhattan&rsquos chicest neighbourhoods.

Courtesy, The Plaza, a Fairmont Managed Hotel

The Plaza

It&rsquos impossible to visit this grande dame of New York City hotels without an overwhelming sense of déjà-vu taking over you. After all, for over 60 years it has played cameos in all genres of Hollywood films &ndash from Alfred Hitchcock&rsquos North by Northwest, to Baz Luhrmann&rsquos The Great Gatsby, to Christmas favourite Home Alone, as well as in the recent crowd-pleaser Ocean&rsquos Eight (although we don&rsquot recommend trying to hustle the staff into giving you a free room &ndash we&rsquore pretty sure they are on to that one). Beyond the cinematic prestige lies a hotel with a sense of its own place in the New York imagination. It&rsquos a hotel where Saudi princes mix with wide-eyed, special-occasion guests looking for that quintessential old-school vibe. Our lavish Pulitzer Legacy Suite overlooked Fifth Avenue and the famous Pulitzer Fountain on Grand Army Plaza from which it gets its name. It embodies the hotel&rsquos timeless European style, albeit with modern conveniences. Afternoon tea in the opulent Palm Court was a particular highlight for us, although we didn&rsquot have to go far for more contemporary fare. Beneath the hotel is a modern food court, bustling with smart shoppers in search of fancy treats &ndash such as Japanese layer cake, our personal favourite. There was no real need (or desire) to leave the property.

Courtesy, The Plaza, a Fairmont Managed Hotel

We loved the glamour of the Plaza. It&rsquos no wonder it was billed &lsquothe world&rsquos greatest hotel&rsquo when it opened back in 1907, but more than a century and a bit later, it&rsquos
still a contender for that title.

Courtesy, Loews Regency New York

Loews Regency New York

Like the city it&rsquos located in, Loews Regency is a no-nonsense hotel that clearly means business. Going into this smart Park Avenue hotel, set close to the southeastern corner of Central Park, feels like entering another level of New York&rsquos complex social structure.

Courtesy, Loews Regency New York

At almost every hour of the day, the foyer is a tableau of men in smartly tailored suits, talking earnestly on their phones &ndash and to each other &ndash as if a big diplomatic deal were about to go down. Immaculately dressed women with their manicured dogs (the hotel has a special Very Important Pets programme that gets them the same &ndash perhaps even more &ndash perks as their two-legged owners) step out of limousines, as attentive door staff rush to retrieve their shopping bags from Bergdorf Goodman just a few blocks away. We visited at the time of the United Nations General Assembly, which may go some way to explain all of this, so perhaps at any other time of year the hotel may have more of a relaxed vibe. Our contemporary suite &ndash one of just 58 here &ndash had its own balcony with views across the rooftops to the park. It is one of a number of individually designed self-contained &lsquoapartments&rsquo that mix a cool minimalist 1970s vibe with modern comforts. We were told that many were rented out for the month by international long-stay visitors looking for the trappings of home (with a pretty prestigious address), matched with the convenience of staying in a hotel. We always maintain that you can judge a hotel by its concierge service and in this case it scored top marks, guiding us to an exquisite local Japanese restaurant that more than satisfied our late-night cravings for sushi. Naturally, this was followed by a nightcap in the hotel&rsquos classic American-style Regency Bar & Grill.

Courtesy, The Knickerbocker

The Knickerbocker

As the New York socialite saying goes, &lsquoget you a man who can do both&rsquo. If that&rsquos what you&rsquore looking for, the Knickerbocker is your man &ndash well, hotel. Nestled among the bright lights and hustle of Times Square, it&rsquos right in the heart of all the Midtown action, yet it&rsquos a sanctuary from the craziness outside. This was our second stay at the Knickerbocker and we were excited to return.

Courtesy, The Knickerbocker

So let&rsquos get the challenges out of the way. Unfortunately, as on our first visit when the hotel had just opened, the staff&rsquos aloof approach to service (which we had assumed may have been a teething problem) had not gone away. After a long flight, this doesn&rsquot make a great impression, but once we&rsquod shrugged off the big-city attitude, the only way was up. Waiting in the St. Cloud Rooftop bar for our room to be readied made it all better. It&rsquos a great people-watching space, with delicious signature cocktails. Our suite was a contemporary, well-proportioned space, understated and minimalist, but effortlessly comfortable.

Courtesy, The Knickerbocker

It was an oasis of calm in comparison to what we could see from our window and shutting the curtains allowed us to forget that we were in the middle of one of the busiest, most-photographed places in the world. The aptly named Saints & Sinners Fitness Center is divided into a tranquil space for yoga and pilates and a more upbeat cardio-and-weight-training facility to pump up for a night on the town. One evening, we forwent the city&rsquos bright lights for a night in and the Knickerbocker&rsquos in-room dining was a delight.

Courtesy, Four Seasons Hotel New York Downtown. Photo: Christian Horan

Four Seasons New York Downtown

Everyone&rsquos talking about the &lsquonew New York&rsquo and at the heart of all this hype is the revitalised Lower Manhattan area.

A couple of years ago, we were thrilled to be part of the hotel&rsquos unveiling and, having had a great experience, we were equally thrilled to return. Just moments from Downtown Manhattan Heliport, this relatively new hotel, set in a glistening tower building, was built from scratch and features the understatedly opulent interior design of the husband-and-husband team that is Yabu Pushelberg. Our north-facing, 22nd-floor suite offered a striking view of the city &ndash the vista stretched for miles &ndash while other rooms showcase views of Downtown icon the Oculus and the mighty Hudson River. The sweetest suite is the property&rsquos gorgeous Penthouse, a luxury home-away-from-home that made us consider buying one of the exclusive residences that are for sale in the building. Perks of being in residence include Cut &ndash Wolfgang Puck&rsquos first steakhouse in New York City &ndash a showy, boudoir-like, eclectic eatery that&rsquos a departure from the Four Season&rsquos aesthetic identity. With a seven-room spa and pool area, the fitness centre takes up an entire floor and is an escapist&rsquos dream, perfect after a long day in the hustle and bustle: all gorgeous streaked marble, wood and tons of natural light. It takes on a Korean influence and reminded us of our stay at the hotel&rsquos sister property in Seoul. You know an area has become chic when a Four Seasons has moved in.

Courtesy, The Beekman, A Thompson Hotel. Photo: Bjorn Wallander

The Beekman, a Thompson Hotel

Staying in Downtown may not be the leisure traveller&rsquos first choice on a visit to New York City, but it actually has its benefits. It is surprisingly easy to get to on the subway, as it&rsquos serviced by a number of lines that connect in the financial heart of the city, and it&rsquos also within walking distance of some iconic landmarks, from the new World Trade Center plaza, ferry piers, the Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges and the South Street Seaport district. The Beekman is an absolute gem of a heritage hotel, with a jaw-dropping, open atrium showing off the turn-of-the-century architecture (it used to be the headquarters of a law firm).

Courtesy, The Beekman, A Thompson Hotel. Photo: Bjorn Wallander

The ground floor houses two outstanding restaurants: Keith McNally&rsquos brasserie Augustine and Tom Colicchio&rsquos Temple Court, which brings a unique take on an American menu. Make time for a cocktail in the hotel&rsquos beautiful Bar Room before heading downstairs into the basement to the Alley Cat, an eclectically designed speakeasy-style club with late opening hours. It reminded us of Maggie Choo&rsquos in Bangkok. The high ceilings in our suite made it feel generous and, despite the rather modest bathroom, we loved the design &ndash a mix of dark wooden floors and handsome solid furniture combined with sumptuous, richly coloured soft furnishings. The hotel sports two signature penthouse suites nestled on the hotel we imagine they are worth every dime.

Courtesy, The Wagner at the Battery

The Wagner Hotel

Formerly the darling of Wall Street wolves because of its proximity to the Financial District, this once-starchy property is changing things a little with the influx of leisure travellers now choosing Downtown as their base. And this is as downtown as you can get &ndash the property literally perches on the southernmost tip of the island. The advantage was a picture-postcard view of the Hudson from our suite, which looked out over the Statue of Liberty. A strategically placed telescope comes as part of the furnishings in each room. The Battery Park location means that the One World Observatory (the perfect starting point for a first-timer in NYC) and the new shopping meccas in the Oculus and Brookfield Place are all within walking distance. Should you not be a walker, the hotel provides complimentary bicycles. The property is classic 1990s luxe, with gold and marble trim everywhere. Flawless service and attention to detail by its predominantly male team were the icing on the cake to an already-great stay.

Courtesy, The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park

The Ritz Carlton New York

With traditional charm and killer views over Central Park, this hotel made us feel at home. In fact, the demeanour of the team there was geared towards us being residents rather than guests.

We loved our room, which featured Club Lounge access, along with oversize marble bathroom and butler service (the latter at an additional charge). We dined at the hotel&rsquos bistro specialising in seafood and had many a martini in the gorgeous Star Lounge.

www.ritzcarlton.com
50 Central Park South, New York City

Courtesy, The St. Regis, New York. Photo: Bruce Buck

The St. Regis New York

This Beaux-Arts hotel is quite a name to drop &ndash Astor, Dalí, Old King Cole. Okay, so we spent a lot of time in the property&rsquos lauded bar, but the rest of the hotel had just as many stories to tell. Playing up to its NYC glamour credentials, we had to choose between a Bentley, Tiffany or Dior suite. Guess which we picked? It was hard to contain our excitement as our butler unveiled our palatial rooms.

Courtesy, Hotel Plaza Athénée

Hôtel Plaza Athénée New York

With elegant rooms in a luxurious house on a brownstone-lined street, the Athénée feels like an intimate, boutique hotel, despite holding 140 keys and being the talk of New York high society. The decor stays true to the property&rsquos Beaux-Arts stylings and its location is a dream for culture-vultures. We enjoyed the hotel&rsquos stately Arabelle restaurant.

Courtesy, Mandarin Oriental, New York

Mandarin Oriental New York

Perched high above Columbus Circle, this Asian-inspired hotel, complete with wood panels, marble floors and artworks inspired by nature, offers luxuriously zen places to stay. We enjoyed the property&rsquos spa and Asiate restaurant, with its floor-to-ceiling vistas of the city&rsquos skyline. Our room was understated, but waking to a view of Central Park was a showstopper.

Courtesy, Lotte New York Palace. Photo: Bruce Buck Photography

Lotte New York Palace

A story of old meets new unfurls in this 19th-century building, with its topiary-peppered Italian courtyard and opulent marble staircase. The Lotte has become synonymous with luxury leisure travel and it&rsquos easy to see why &ndash it boasts sumptuous rooms with marble bathrooms and a 7,000 sq ft (yes, you heard right) wellness centre overlooking St Patrick&rsquos Cathedral.

Courtesy, The Peninsula New York

The Peninsula New York

We&rsquore big Peninsula fans &ndash we&rsquove stayed in them all across the world. This is everything a luxury hotel should be, with that added Peninsula touch. Discreet, classy and sensational, it lets you melt away from the madness of NYC. We loved our room with its Fifth Avenue views and the staff and concierge went out of their way to make our stay great.


OutThere Recommends: Hotels

New York City is rightly renowned for its luxurious accommodations, with classic as well as new (and newly reimagined) hotels that offer elegance at every turn. For this feature, our partners at OutThere sampled a selection to include in their Monumental NYC issue. These are their &ldquofavorite, tried-and-tested, stylish and extraordinary places to stay.&rdquo See their descriptions below for inspiration on your next visit to NYC. &mdashnycgo.com staff

Courtesy, The Pierre New York

The Pierre New York

Nothing says old-world Upper East Side eclecticism louder than the Pierre &ndash one of the true Fifth Avenue grandes dames. The property&rsquos classic charm remains unchanged, despite renovations in 2007 &ndash each of the elevators features its own attendant to guide you to your room. We became fast friends with ours, who told us she had been here for 29 years.

The hotel&rsquos Rotunda restaurant serves afternoon tea and cocktails in a setting that has to be seen to be believed, lovingly reimagined by artist Daniel Romualdez (rumour has it Jackie O may be looking down on you enviously). The property&rsquos bar is perfectly adequate for a pre-Broadway drink. Dining in the hotel&rsquos Perrine restaurant is a more modern affair, attracting a wealthy Upper East Side crowd. Just enough of the classic Pierre style has been retained, such as the cute vintage style of the menu design, and executive chef Ashfer Biju offers up classic dishes from the hotel&rsquos original fare. The decor of our room was elegant and grand, in keeping with the DNA of the property, although 10 years into its renovation, it could do with a refresh. However, what may be missing in modernity is made up for in quality &ndash our sheets were some of the silkiest we&rsquove ever slept in. If you&rsquore craving some contemporary (okay, mid-century modern) stylings, check-into a Grand Suite that comes with terrace views over one of Manhattan&rsquos chicest neighbourhoods.

Courtesy, The Plaza, a Fairmont Managed Hotel

The Plaza

It&rsquos impossible to visit this grande dame of New York City hotels without an overwhelming sense of déjà-vu taking over you. After all, for over 60 years it has played cameos in all genres of Hollywood films &ndash from Alfred Hitchcock&rsquos North by Northwest, to Baz Luhrmann&rsquos The Great Gatsby, to Christmas favourite Home Alone, as well as in the recent crowd-pleaser Ocean&rsquos Eight (although we don&rsquot recommend trying to hustle the staff into giving you a free room &ndash we&rsquore pretty sure they are on to that one). Beyond the cinematic prestige lies a hotel with a sense of its own place in the New York imagination. It&rsquos a hotel where Saudi princes mix with wide-eyed, special-occasion guests looking for that quintessential old-school vibe. Our lavish Pulitzer Legacy Suite overlooked Fifth Avenue and the famous Pulitzer Fountain on Grand Army Plaza from which it gets its name. It embodies the hotel&rsquos timeless European style, albeit with modern conveniences. Afternoon tea in the opulent Palm Court was a particular highlight for us, although we didn&rsquot have to go far for more contemporary fare. Beneath the hotel is a modern food court, bustling with smart shoppers in search of fancy treats &ndash such as Japanese layer cake, our personal favourite. There was no real need (or desire) to leave the property.

Courtesy, The Plaza, a Fairmont Managed Hotel

We loved the glamour of the Plaza. It&rsquos no wonder it was billed &lsquothe world&rsquos greatest hotel&rsquo when it opened back in 1907, but more than a century and a bit later, it&rsquos
still a contender for that title.

Courtesy, Loews Regency New York

Loews Regency New York

Like the city it&rsquos located in, Loews Regency is a no-nonsense hotel that clearly means business. Going into this smart Park Avenue hotel, set close to the southeastern corner of Central Park, feels like entering another level of New York&rsquos complex social structure.

Courtesy, Loews Regency New York

At almost every hour of the day, the foyer is a tableau of men in smartly tailored suits, talking earnestly on their phones &ndash and to each other &ndash as if a big diplomatic deal were about to go down. Immaculately dressed women with their manicured dogs (the hotel has a special Very Important Pets programme that gets them the same &ndash perhaps even more &ndash perks as their two-legged owners) step out of limousines, as attentive door staff rush to retrieve their shopping bags from Bergdorf Goodman just a few blocks away. We visited at the time of the United Nations General Assembly, which may go some way to explain all of this, so perhaps at any other time of year the hotel may have more of a relaxed vibe. Our contemporary suite &ndash one of just 58 here &ndash had its own balcony with views across the rooftops to the park. It is one of a number of individually designed self-contained &lsquoapartments&rsquo that mix a cool minimalist 1970s vibe with modern comforts. We were told that many were rented out for the month by international long-stay visitors looking for the trappings of home (with a pretty prestigious address), matched with the convenience of staying in a hotel. We always maintain that you can judge a hotel by its concierge service and in this case it scored top marks, guiding us to an exquisite local Japanese restaurant that more than satisfied our late-night cravings for sushi. Naturally, this was followed by a nightcap in the hotel&rsquos classic American-style Regency Bar & Grill.

Courtesy, The Knickerbocker

The Knickerbocker

As the New York socialite saying goes, &lsquoget you a man who can do both&rsquo. If that&rsquos what you&rsquore looking for, the Knickerbocker is your man &ndash well, hotel. Nestled among the bright lights and hustle of Times Square, it&rsquos right in the heart of all the Midtown action, yet it&rsquos a sanctuary from the craziness outside. This was our second stay at the Knickerbocker and we were excited to return.

Courtesy, The Knickerbocker

So let&rsquos get the challenges out of the way. Unfortunately, as on our first visit when the hotel had just opened, the staff&rsquos aloof approach to service (which we had assumed may have been a teething problem) had not gone away. After a long flight, this doesn&rsquot make a great impression, but once we&rsquod shrugged off the big-city attitude, the only way was up. Waiting in the St. Cloud Rooftop bar for our room to be readied made it all better. It&rsquos a great people-watching space, with delicious signature cocktails. Our suite was a contemporary, well-proportioned space, understated and minimalist, but effortlessly comfortable.

Courtesy, The Knickerbocker

It was an oasis of calm in comparison to what we could see from our window and shutting the curtains allowed us to forget that we were in the middle of one of the busiest, most-photographed places in the world. The aptly named Saints & Sinners Fitness Center is divided into a tranquil space for yoga and pilates and a more upbeat cardio-and-weight-training facility to pump up for a night on the town. One evening, we forwent the city&rsquos bright lights for a night in and the Knickerbocker&rsquos in-room dining was a delight.

Courtesy, Four Seasons Hotel New York Downtown. Photo: Christian Horan

Four Seasons New York Downtown

Everyone&rsquos talking about the &lsquonew New York&rsquo and at the heart of all this hype is the revitalised Lower Manhattan area.

A couple of years ago, we were thrilled to be part of the hotel&rsquos unveiling and, having had a great experience, we were equally thrilled to return. Just moments from Downtown Manhattan Heliport, this relatively new hotel, set in a glistening tower building, was built from scratch and features the understatedly opulent interior design of the husband-and-husband team that is Yabu Pushelberg. Our north-facing, 22nd-floor suite offered a striking view of the city &ndash the vista stretched for miles &ndash while other rooms showcase views of Downtown icon the Oculus and the mighty Hudson River. The sweetest suite is the property&rsquos gorgeous Penthouse, a luxury home-away-from-home that made us consider buying one of the exclusive residences that are for sale in the building. Perks of being in residence include Cut &ndash Wolfgang Puck&rsquos first steakhouse in New York City &ndash a showy, boudoir-like, eclectic eatery that&rsquos a departure from the Four Season&rsquos aesthetic identity. With a seven-room spa and pool area, the fitness centre takes up an entire floor and is an escapist&rsquos dream, perfect after a long day in the hustle and bustle: all gorgeous streaked marble, wood and tons of natural light. It takes on a Korean influence and reminded us of our stay at the hotel&rsquos sister property in Seoul. You know an area has become chic when a Four Seasons has moved in.

Courtesy, The Beekman, A Thompson Hotel. Photo: Bjorn Wallander

The Beekman, a Thompson Hotel

Staying in Downtown may not be the leisure traveller&rsquos first choice on a visit to New York City, but it actually has its benefits. It is surprisingly easy to get to on the subway, as it&rsquos serviced by a number of lines that connect in the financial heart of the city, and it&rsquos also within walking distance of some iconic landmarks, from the new World Trade Center plaza, ferry piers, the Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges and the South Street Seaport district. The Beekman is an absolute gem of a heritage hotel, with a jaw-dropping, open atrium showing off the turn-of-the-century architecture (it used to be the headquarters of a law firm).

Courtesy, The Beekman, A Thompson Hotel. Photo: Bjorn Wallander

The ground floor houses two outstanding restaurants: Keith McNally&rsquos brasserie Augustine and Tom Colicchio&rsquos Temple Court, which brings a unique take on an American menu. Make time for a cocktail in the hotel&rsquos beautiful Bar Room before heading downstairs into the basement to the Alley Cat, an eclectically designed speakeasy-style club with late opening hours. It reminded us of Maggie Choo&rsquos in Bangkok. The high ceilings in our suite made it feel generous and, despite the rather modest bathroom, we loved the design &ndash a mix of dark wooden floors and handsome solid furniture combined with sumptuous, richly coloured soft furnishings. The hotel sports two signature penthouse suites nestled on the hotel we imagine they are worth every dime.

Courtesy, The Wagner at the Battery

The Wagner Hotel

Formerly the darling of Wall Street wolves because of its proximity to the Financial District, this once-starchy property is changing things a little with the influx of leisure travellers now choosing Downtown as their base. And this is as downtown as you can get &ndash the property literally perches on the southernmost tip of the island. The advantage was a picture-postcard view of the Hudson from our suite, which looked out over the Statue of Liberty. A strategically placed telescope comes as part of the furnishings in each room. The Battery Park location means that the One World Observatory (the perfect starting point for a first-timer in NYC) and the new shopping meccas in the Oculus and Brookfield Place are all within walking distance. Should you not be a walker, the hotel provides complimentary bicycles. The property is classic 1990s luxe, with gold and marble trim everywhere. Flawless service and attention to detail by its predominantly male team were the icing on the cake to an already-great stay.

Courtesy, The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park

The Ritz Carlton New York

With traditional charm and killer views over Central Park, this hotel made us feel at home. In fact, the demeanour of the team there was geared towards us being residents rather than guests.

We loved our room, which featured Club Lounge access, along with oversize marble bathroom and butler service (the latter at an additional charge). We dined at the hotel&rsquos bistro specialising in seafood and had many a martini in the gorgeous Star Lounge.

www.ritzcarlton.com
50 Central Park South, New York City

Courtesy, The St. Regis, New York. Photo: Bruce Buck

The St. Regis New York

This Beaux-Arts hotel is quite a name to drop &ndash Astor, Dalí, Old King Cole. Okay, so we spent a lot of time in the property&rsquos lauded bar, but the rest of the hotel had just as many stories to tell. Playing up to its NYC glamour credentials, we had to choose between a Bentley, Tiffany or Dior suite. Guess which we picked? It was hard to contain our excitement as our butler unveiled our palatial rooms.

Courtesy, Hotel Plaza Athénée

Hôtel Plaza Athénée New York

With elegant rooms in a luxurious house on a brownstone-lined street, the Athénée feels like an intimate, boutique hotel, despite holding 140 keys and being the talk of New York high society. The decor stays true to the property&rsquos Beaux-Arts stylings and its location is a dream for culture-vultures. We enjoyed the hotel&rsquos stately Arabelle restaurant.

Courtesy, Mandarin Oriental, New York

Mandarin Oriental New York

Perched high above Columbus Circle, this Asian-inspired hotel, complete with wood panels, marble floors and artworks inspired by nature, offers luxuriously zen places to stay. We enjoyed the property&rsquos spa and Asiate restaurant, with its floor-to-ceiling vistas of the city&rsquos skyline. Our room was understated, but waking to a view of Central Park was a showstopper.

Courtesy, Lotte New York Palace. Photo: Bruce Buck Photography

Lotte New York Palace

A story of old meets new unfurls in this 19th-century building, with its topiary-peppered Italian courtyard and opulent marble staircase. The Lotte has become synonymous with luxury leisure travel and it&rsquos easy to see why &ndash it boasts sumptuous rooms with marble bathrooms and a 7,000 sq ft (yes, you heard right) wellness centre overlooking St Patrick&rsquos Cathedral.

Courtesy, The Peninsula New York

The Peninsula New York

We&rsquore big Peninsula fans &ndash we&rsquove stayed in them all across the world. This is everything a luxury hotel should be, with that added Peninsula touch. Discreet, classy and sensational, it lets you melt away from the madness of NYC. We loved our room with its Fifth Avenue views and the staff and concierge went out of their way to make our stay great.


OutThere Recommends: Hotels

New York City is rightly renowned for its luxurious accommodations, with classic as well as new (and newly reimagined) hotels that offer elegance at every turn. For this feature, our partners at OutThere sampled a selection to include in their Monumental NYC issue. These are their &ldquofavorite, tried-and-tested, stylish and extraordinary places to stay.&rdquo See their descriptions below for inspiration on your next visit to NYC. &mdashnycgo.com staff

Courtesy, The Pierre New York

The Pierre New York

Nothing says old-world Upper East Side eclecticism louder than the Pierre &ndash one of the true Fifth Avenue grandes dames. The property&rsquos classic charm remains unchanged, despite renovations in 2007 &ndash each of the elevators features its own attendant to guide you to your room. We became fast friends with ours, who told us she had been here for 29 years.

The hotel&rsquos Rotunda restaurant serves afternoon tea and cocktails in a setting that has to be seen to be believed, lovingly reimagined by artist Daniel Romualdez (rumour has it Jackie O may be looking down on you enviously). The property&rsquos bar is perfectly adequate for a pre-Broadway drink. Dining in the hotel&rsquos Perrine restaurant is a more modern affair, attracting a wealthy Upper East Side crowd. Just enough of the classic Pierre style has been retained, such as the cute vintage style of the menu design, and executive chef Ashfer Biju offers up classic dishes from the hotel&rsquos original fare. The decor of our room was elegant and grand, in keeping with the DNA of the property, although 10 years into its renovation, it could do with a refresh. However, what may be missing in modernity is made up for in quality &ndash our sheets were some of the silkiest we&rsquove ever slept in. If you&rsquore craving some contemporary (okay, mid-century modern) stylings, check-into a Grand Suite that comes with terrace views over one of Manhattan&rsquos chicest neighbourhoods.

Courtesy, The Plaza, a Fairmont Managed Hotel

The Plaza

It&rsquos impossible to visit this grande dame of New York City hotels without an overwhelming sense of déjà-vu taking over you. After all, for over 60 years it has played cameos in all genres of Hollywood films &ndash from Alfred Hitchcock&rsquos North by Northwest, to Baz Luhrmann&rsquos The Great Gatsby, to Christmas favourite Home Alone, as well as in the recent crowd-pleaser Ocean&rsquos Eight (although we don&rsquot recommend trying to hustle the staff into giving you a free room &ndash we&rsquore pretty sure they are on to that one). Beyond the cinematic prestige lies a hotel with a sense of its own place in the New York imagination. It&rsquos a hotel where Saudi princes mix with wide-eyed, special-occasion guests looking for that quintessential old-school vibe. Our lavish Pulitzer Legacy Suite overlooked Fifth Avenue and the famous Pulitzer Fountain on Grand Army Plaza from which it gets its name. It embodies the hotel&rsquos timeless European style, albeit with modern conveniences. Afternoon tea in the opulent Palm Court was a particular highlight for us, although we didn&rsquot have to go far for more contemporary fare. Beneath the hotel is a modern food court, bustling with smart shoppers in search of fancy treats &ndash such as Japanese layer cake, our personal favourite. There was no real need (or desire) to leave the property.

Courtesy, The Plaza, a Fairmont Managed Hotel

We loved the glamour of the Plaza. It&rsquos no wonder it was billed &lsquothe world&rsquos greatest hotel&rsquo when it opened back in 1907, but more than a century and a bit later, it&rsquos
still a contender for that title.

Courtesy, Loews Regency New York

Loews Regency New York

Like the city it&rsquos located in, Loews Regency is a no-nonsense hotel that clearly means business. Going into this smart Park Avenue hotel, set close to the southeastern corner of Central Park, feels like entering another level of New York&rsquos complex social structure.

Courtesy, Loews Regency New York

At almost every hour of the day, the foyer is a tableau of men in smartly tailored suits, talking earnestly on their phones &ndash and to each other &ndash as if a big diplomatic deal were about to go down. Immaculately dressed women with their manicured dogs (the hotel has a special Very Important Pets programme that gets them the same &ndash perhaps even more &ndash perks as their two-legged owners) step out of limousines, as attentive door staff rush to retrieve their shopping bags from Bergdorf Goodman just a few blocks away. We visited at the time of the United Nations General Assembly, which may go some way to explain all of this, so perhaps at any other time of year the hotel may have more of a relaxed vibe. Our contemporary suite &ndash one of just 58 here &ndash had its own balcony with views across the rooftops to the park. It is one of a number of individually designed self-contained &lsquoapartments&rsquo that mix a cool minimalist 1970s vibe with modern comforts. We were told that many were rented out for the month by international long-stay visitors looking for the trappings of home (with a pretty prestigious address), matched with the convenience of staying in a hotel. We always maintain that you can judge a hotel by its concierge service and in this case it scored top marks, guiding us to an exquisite local Japanese restaurant that more than satisfied our late-night cravings for sushi. Naturally, this was followed by a nightcap in the hotel&rsquos classic American-style Regency Bar & Grill.

Courtesy, The Knickerbocker

The Knickerbocker

As the New York socialite saying goes, &lsquoget you a man who can do both&rsquo. If that&rsquos what you&rsquore looking for, the Knickerbocker is your man &ndash well, hotel. Nestled among the bright lights and hustle of Times Square, it&rsquos right in the heart of all the Midtown action, yet it&rsquos a sanctuary from the craziness outside. This was our second stay at the Knickerbocker and we were excited to return.

Courtesy, The Knickerbocker

So let&rsquos get the challenges out of the way. Unfortunately, as on our first visit when the hotel had just opened, the staff&rsquos aloof approach to service (which we had assumed may have been a teething problem) had not gone away. After a long flight, this doesn&rsquot make a great impression, but once we&rsquod shrugged off the big-city attitude, the only way was up. Waiting in the St. Cloud Rooftop bar for our room to be readied made it all better. It&rsquos a great people-watching space, with delicious signature cocktails. Our suite was a contemporary, well-proportioned space, understated and minimalist, but effortlessly comfortable.

Courtesy, The Knickerbocker

It was an oasis of calm in comparison to what we could see from our window and shutting the curtains allowed us to forget that we were in the middle of one of the busiest, most-photographed places in the world. The aptly named Saints & Sinners Fitness Center is divided into a tranquil space for yoga and pilates and a more upbeat cardio-and-weight-training facility to pump up for a night on the town. One evening, we forwent the city&rsquos bright lights for a night in and the Knickerbocker&rsquos in-room dining was a delight.

Courtesy, Four Seasons Hotel New York Downtown. Photo: Christian Horan

Four Seasons New York Downtown

Everyone&rsquos talking about the &lsquonew New York&rsquo and at the heart of all this hype is the revitalised Lower Manhattan area.

A couple of years ago, we were thrilled to be part of the hotel&rsquos unveiling and, having had a great experience, we were equally thrilled to return. Just moments from Downtown Manhattan Heliport, this relatively new hotel, set in a glistening tower building, was built from scratch and features the understatedly opulent interior design of the husband-and-husband team that is Yabu Pushelberg. Our north-facing, 22nd-floor suite offered a striking view of the city &ndash the vista stretched for miles &ndash while other rooms showcase views of Downtown icon the Oculus and the mighty Hudson River. The sweetest suite is the property&rsquos gorgeous Penthouse, a luxury home-away-from-home that made us consider buying one of the exclusive residences that are for sale in the building. Perks of being in residence include Cut &ndash Wolfgang Puck&rsquos first steakhouse in New York City &ndash a showy, boudoir-like, eclectic eatery that&rsquos a departure from the Four Season&rsquos aesthetic identity. With a seven-room spa and pool area, the fitness centre takes up an entire floor and is an escapist&rsquos dream, perfect after a long day in the hustle and bustle: all gorgeous streaked marble, wood and tons of natural light. It takes on a Korean influence and reminded us of our stay at the hotel&rsquos sister property in Seoul. You know an area has become chic when a Four Seasons has moved in.

Courtesy, The Beekman, A Thompson Hotel. Photo: Bjorn Wallander

The Beekman, a Thompson Hotel

Staying in Downtown may not be the leisure traveller&rsquos first choice on a visit to New York City, but it actually has its benefits. It is surprisingly easy to get to on the subway, as it&rsquos serviced by a number of lines that connect in the financial heart of the city, and it&rsquos also within walking distance of some iconic landmarks, from the new World Trade Center plaza, ferry piers, the Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges and the South Street Seaport district. The Beekman is an absolute gem of a heritage hotel, with a jaw-dropping, open atrium showing off the turn-of-the-century architecture (it used to be the headquarters of a law firm).

Courtesy, The Beekman, A Thompson Hotel. Photo: Bjorn Wallander

The ground floor houses two outstanding restaurants: Keith McNally&rsquos brasserie Augustine and Tom Colicchio&rsquos Temple Court, which brings a unique take on an American menu. Make time for a cocktail in the hotel&rsquos beautiful Bar Room before heading downstairs into the basement to the Alley Cat, an eclectically designed speakeasy-style club with late opening hours. It reminded us of Maggie Choo&rsquos in Bangkok. The high ceilings in our suite made it feel generous and, despite the rather modest bathroom, we loved the design &ndash a mix of dark wooden floors and handsome solid furniture combined with sumptuous, richly coloured soft furnishings. The hotel sports two signature penthouse suites nestled on the hotel we imagine they are worth every dime.

Courtesy, The Wagner at the Battery

The Wagner Hotel

Formerly the darling of Wall Street wolves because of its proximity to the Financial District, this once-starchy property is changing things a little with the influx of leisure travellers now choosing Downtown as their base. And this is as downtown as you can get &ndash the property literally perches on the southernmost tip of the island. The advantage was a picture-postcard view of the Hudson from our suite, which looked out over the Statue of Liberty. A strategically placed telescope comes as part of the furnishings in each room. The Battery Park location means that the One World Observatory (the perfect starting point for a first-timer in NYC) and the new shopping meccas in the Oculus and Brookfield Place are all within walking distance. Should you not be a walker, the hotel provides complimentary bicycles. The property is classic 1990s luxe, with gold and marble trim everywhere. Flawless service and attention to detail by its predominantly male team were the icing on the cake to an already-great stay.

Courtesy, The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park

The Ritz Carlton New York

With traditional charm and killer views over Central Park, this hotel made us feel at home. In fact, the demeanour of the team there was geared towards us being residents rather than guests.

We loved our room, which featured Club Lounge access, along with oversize marble bathroom and butler service (the latter at an additional charge). We dined at the hotel&rsquos bistro specialising in seafood and had many a martini in the gorgeous Star Lounge.

www.ritzcarlton.com
50 Central Park South, New York City

Courtesy, The St. Regis, New York. Photo: Bruce Buck

The St. Regis New York

This Beaux-Arts hotel is quite a name to drop &ndash Astor, Dalí, Old King Cole. Okay, so we spent a lot of time in the property&rsquos lauded bar, but the rest of the hotel had just as many stories to tell. Playing up to its NYC glamour credentials, we had to choose between a Bentley, Tiffany or Dior suite. Guess which we picked? It was hard to contain our excitement as our butler unveiled our palatial rooms.

Courtesy, Hotel Plaza Athénée

Hôtel Plaza Athénée New York

With elegant rooms in a luxurious house on a brownstone-lined street, the Athénée feels like an intimate, boutique hotel, despite holding 140 keys and being the talk of New York high society. The decor stays true to the property&rsquos Beaux-Arts stylings and its location is a dream for culture-vultures. We enjoyed the hotel&rsquos stately Arabelle restaurant.

Courtesy, Mandarin Oriental, New York

Mandarin Oriental New York

Perched high above Columbus Circle, this Asian-inspired hotel, complete with wood panels, marble floors and artworks inspired by nature, offers luxuriously zen places to stay. We enjoyed the property&rsquos spa and Asiate restaurant, with its floor-to-ceiling vistas of the city&rsquos skyline. Our room was understated, but waking to a view of Central Park was a showstopper.

Courtesy, Lotte New York Palace. Photo: Bruce Buck Photography

Lotte New York Palace

A story of old meets new unfurls in this 19th-century building, with its topiary-peppered Italian courtyard and opulent marble staircase. The Lotte has become synonymous with luxury leisure travel and it&rsquos easy to see why &ndash it boasts sumptuous rooms with marble bathrooms and a 7,000 sq ft (yes, you heard right) wellness centre overlooking St Patrick&rsquos Cathedral.

Courtesy, The Peninsula New York

The Peninsula New York

We&rsquore big Peninsula fans &ndash we&rsquove stayed in them all across the world. This is everything a luxury hotel should be, with that added Peninsula touch. Discreet, classy and sensational, it lets you melt away from the madness of NYC. We loved our room with its Fifth Avenue views and the staff and concierge went out of their way to make our stay great.


OutThere Recommends: Hotels

New York City is rightly renowned for its luxurious accommodations, with classic as well as new (and newly reimagined) hotels that offer elegance at every turn. For this feature, our partners at OutThere sampled a selection to include in their Monumental NYC issue. These are their &ldquofavorite, tried-and-tested, stylish and extraordinary places to stay.&rdquo See their descriptions below for inspiration on your next visit to NYC. &mdashnycgo.com staff

Courtesy, The Pierre New York

The Pierre New York

Nothing says old-world Upper East Side eclecticism louder than the Pierre &ndash one of the true Fifth Avenue grandes dames. The property&rsquos classic charm remains unchanged, despite renovations in 2007 &ndash each of the elevators features its own attendant to guide you to your room. We became fast friends with ours, who told us she had been here for 29 years.

The hotel&rsquos Rotunda restaurant serves afternoon tea and cocktails in a setting that has to be seen to be believed, lovingly reimagined by artist Daniel Romualdez (rumour has it Jackie O may be looking down on you enviously). The property&rsquos bar is perfectly adequate for a pre-Broadway drink. Dining in the hotel&rsquos Perrine restaurant is a more modern affair, attracting a wealthy Upper East Side crowd. Just enough of the classic Pierre style has been retained, such as the cute vintage style of the menu design, and executive chef Ashfer Biju offers up classic dishes from the hotel&rsquos original fare. The decor of our room was elegant and grand, in keeping with the DNA of the property, although 10 years into its renovation, it could do with a refresh. However, what may be missing in modernity is made up for in quality &ndash our sheets were some of the silkiest we&rsquove ever slept in. If you&rsquore craving some contemporary (okay, mid-century modern) stylings, check-into a Grand Suite that comes with terrace views over one of Manhattan&rsquos chicest neighbourhoods.

Courtesy, The Plaza, a Fairmont Managed Hotel

The Plaza

It&rsquos impossible to visit this grande dame of New York City hotels without an overwhelming sense of déjà-vu taking over you. After all, for over 60 years it has played cameos in all genres of Hollywood films &ndash from Alfred Hitchcock&rsquos North by Northwest, to Baz Luhrmann&rsquos The Great Gatsby, to Christmas favourite Home Alone, as well as in the recent crowd-pleaser Ocean&rsquos Eight (although we don&rsquot recommend trying to hustle the staff into giving you a free room &ndash we&rsquore pretty sure they are on to that one). Beyond the cinematic prestige lies a hotel with a sense of its own place in the New York imagination. It&rsquos a hotel where Saudi princes mix with wide-eyed, special-occasion guests looking for that quintessential old-school vibe. Our lavish Pulitzer Legacy Suite overlooked Fifth Avenue and the famous Pulitzer Fountain on Grand Army Plaza from which it gets its name. It embodies the hotel&rsquos timeless European style, albeit with modern conveniences. Afternoon tea in the opulent Palm Court was a particular highlight for us, although we didn&rsquot have to go far for more contemporary fare. Beneath the hotel is a modern food court, bustling with smart shoppers in search of fancy treats &ndash such as Japanese layer cake, our personal favourite. There was no real need (or desire) to leave the property.

Courtesy, The Plaza, a Fairmont Managed Hotel

We loved the glamour of the Plaza. It&rsquos no wonder it was billed &lsquothe world&rsquos greatest hotel&rsquo when it opened back in 1907, but more than a century and a bit later, it&rsquos
still a contender for that title.

Courtesy, Loews Regency New York

Loews Regency New York

Like the city it&rsquos located in, Loews Regency is a no-nonsense hotel that clearly means business. Going into this smart Park Avenue hotel, set close to the southeastern corner of Central Park, feels like entering another level of New York&rsquos complex social structure.

Courtesy, Loews Regency New York

At almost every hour of the day, the foyer is a tableau of men in smartly tailored suits, talking earnestly on their phones &ndash and to each other &ndash as if a big diplomatic deal were about to go down. Immaculately dressed women with their manicured dogs (the hotel has a special Very Important Pets programme that gets them the same &ndash perhaps even more &ndash perks as their two-legged owners) step out of limousines, as attentive door staff rush to retrieve their shopping bags from Bergdorf Goodman just a few blocks away. We visited at the time of the United Nations General Assembly, which may go some way to explain all of this, so perhaps at any other time of year the hotel may have more of a relaxed vibe. Our contemporary suite &ndash one of just 58 here &ndash had its own balcony with views across the rooftops to the park. It is one of a number of individually designed self-contained &lsquoapartments&rsquo that mix a cool minimalist 1970s vibe with modern comforts. We were told that many were rented out for the month by international long-stay visitors looking for the trappings of home (with a pretty prestigious address), matched with the convenience of staying in a hotel. We always maintain that you can judge a hotel by its concierge service and in this case it scored top marks, guiding us to an exquisite local Japanese restaurant that more than satisfied our late-night cravings for sushi. Naturally, this was followed by a nightcap in the hotel&rsquos classic American-style Regency Bar & Grill.

Courtesy, The Knickerbocker

The Knickerbocker

As the New York socialite saying goes, &lsquoget you a man who can do both&rsquo. If that&rsquos what you&rsquore looking for, the Knickerbocker is your man &ndash well, hotel. Nestled among the bright lights and hustle of Times Square, it&rsquos right in the heart of all the Midtown action, yet it&rsquos a sanctuary from the craziness outside. This was our second stay at the Knickerbocker and we were excited to return.

Courtesy, The Knickerbocker

So let&rsquos get the challenges out of the way. Unfortunately, as on our first visit when the hotel had just opened, the staff&rsquos aloof approach to service (which we had assumed may have been a teething problem) had not gone away. After a long flight, this doesn&rsquot make a great impression, but once we&rsquod shrugged off the big-city attitude, the only way was up. Waiting in the St. Cloud Rooftop bar for our room to be readied made it all better. It&rsquos a great people-watching space, with delicious signature cocktails. Our suite was a contemporary, well-proportioned space, understated and minimalist, but effortlessly comfortable.

Courtesy, The Knickerbocker

It was an oasis of calm in comparison to what we could see from our window and shutting the curtains allowed us to forget that we were in the middle of one of the busiest, most-photographed places in the world. The aptly named Saints & Sinners Fitness Center is divided into a tranquil space for yoga and pilates and a more upbeat cardio-and-weight-training facility to pump up for a night on the town. One evening, we forwent the city&rsquos bright lights for a night in and the Knickerbocker&rsquos in-room dining was a delight.

Courtesy, Four Seasons Hotel New York Downtown. Photo: Christian Horan

Four Seasons New York Downtown

Everyone&rsquos talking about the &lsquonew New York&rsquo and at the heart of all this hype is the revitalised Lower Manhattan area.

A couple of years ago, we were thrilled to be part of the hotel&rsquos unveiling and, having had a great experience, we were equally thrilled to return. Just moments from Downtown Manhattan Heliport, this relatively new hotel, set in a glistening tower building, was built from scratch and features the understatedly opulent interior design of the husband-and-husband team that is Yabu Pushelberg. Our north-facing, 22nd-floor suite offered a striking view of the city &ndash the vista stretched for miles &ndash while other rooms showcase views of Downtown icon the Oculus and the mighty Hudson River. The sweetest suite is the property&rsquos gorgeous Penthouse, a luxury home-away-from-home that made us consider buying one of the exclusive residences that are for sale in the building. Perks of being in residence include Cut &ndash Wolfgang Puck&rsquos first steakhouse in New York City &ndash a showy, boudoir-like, eclectic eatery that&rsquos a departure from the Four Season&rsquos aesthetic identity. With a seven-room spa and pool area, the fitness centre takes up an entire floor and is an escapist&rsquos dream, perfect after a long day in the hustle and bustle: all gorgeous streaked marble, wood and tons of natural light. It takes on a Korean influence and reminded us of our stay at the hotel&rsquos sister property in Seoul. You know an area has become chic when a Four Seasons has moved in.

Courtesy, The Beekman, A Thompson Hotel. Photo: Bjorn Wallander

The Beekman, a Thompson Hotel

Staying in Downtown may not be the leisure traveller&rsquos first choice on a visit to New York City, but it actually has its benefits. It is surprisingly easy to get to on the subway, as it&rsquos serviced by a number of lines that connect in the financial heart of the city, and it&rsquos also within walking distance of some iconic landmarks, from the new World Trade Center plaza, ferry piers, the Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges and the South Street Seaport district. The Beekman is an absolute gem of a heritage hotel, with a jaw-dropping, open atrium showing off the turn-of-the-century architecture (it used to be the headquarters of a law firm).

Courtesy, The Beekman, A Thompson Hotel. Photo: Bjorn Wallander

The ground floor houses two outstanding restaurants: Keith McNally&rsquos brasserie Augustine and Tom Colicchio&rsquos Temple Court, which brings a unique take on an American menu. Make time for a cocktail in the hotel&rsquos beautiful Bar Room before heading downstairs into the basement to the Alley Cat, an eclectically designed speakeasy-style club with late opening hours. It reminded us of Maggie Choo&rsquos in Bangkok. The high ceilings in our suite made it feel generous and, despite the rather modest bathroom, we loved the design &ndash a mix of dark wooden floors and handsome solid furniture combined with sumptuous, richly coloured soft furnishings. The hotel sports two signature penthouse suites nestled on the hotel we imagine they are worth every dime.

Courtesy, The Wagner at the Battery

The Wagner Hotel

Formerly the darling of Wall Street wolves because of its proximity to the Financial District, this once-starchy property is changing things a little with the influx of leisure travellers now choosing Downtown as their base. And this is as downtown as you can get &ndash the property literally perches on the southernmost tip of the island. The advantage was a picture-postcard view of the Hudson from our suite, which looked out over the Statue of Liberty. A strategically placed telescope comes as part of the furnishings in each room. The Battery Park location means that the One World Observatory (the perfect starting point for a first-timer in NYC) and the new shopping meccas in the Oculus and Brookfield Place are all within walking distance. Should you not be a walker, the hotel provides complimentary bicycles. The property is classic 1990s luxe, with gold and marble trim everywhere. Flawless service and attention to detail by its predominantly male team were the icing on the cake to an already-great stay.

Courtesy, The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park

The Ritz Carlton New York

With traditional charm and killer views over Central Park, this hotel made us feel at home. In fact, the demeanour of the team there was geared towards us being residents rather than guests.

We loved our room, which featured Club Lounge access, along with oversize marble bathroom and butler service (the latter at an additional charge). We dined at the hotel&rsquos bistro specialising in seafood and had many a martini in the gorgeous Star Lounge.

www.ritzcarlton.com
50 Central Park South, New York City

Courtesy, The St. Regis, New York. Photo: Bruce Buck

The St. Regis New York

This Beaux-Arts hotel is quite a name to drop &ndash Astor, Dalí, Old King Cole. Okay, so we spent a lot of time in the property&rsquos lauded bar, but the rest of the hotel had just as many stories to tell. Playing up to its NYC glamour credentials, we had to choose between a Bentley, Tiffany or Dior suite. Guess which we picked? It was hard to contain our excitement as our butler unveiled our palatial rooms.

Courtesy, Hotel Plaza Athénée

Hôtel Plaza Athénée New York

With elegant rooms in a luxurious house on a brownstone-lined street, the Athénée feels like an intimate, boutique hotel, despite holding 140 keys and being the talk of New York high society. The decor stays true to the property&rsquos Beaux-Arts stylings and its location is a dream for culture-vultures. We enjoyed the hotel&rsquos stately Arabelle restaurant.

Courtesy, Mandarin Oriental, New York

Mandarin Oriental New York

Perched high above Columbus Circle, this Asian-inspired hotel, complete with wood panels, marble floors and artworks inspired by nature, offers luxuriously zen places to stay. We enjoyed the property&rsquos spa and Asiate restaurant, with its floor-to-ceiling vistas of the city&rsquos skyline. Our room was understated, but waking to a view of Central Park was a showstopper.

Courtesy, Lotte New York Palace. Photo: Bruce Buck Photography

Lotte New York Palace

A story of old meets new unfurls in this 19th-century building, with its topiary-peppered Italian courtyard and opulent marble staircase. The Lotte has become synonymous with luxury leisure travel and it&rsquos easy to see why &ndash it boasts sumptuous rooms with marble bathrooms and a 7,000 sq ft (yes, you heard right) wellness centre overlooking St Patrick&rsquos Cathedral.

Courtesy, The Peninsula New York

The Peninsula New York

We&rsquore big Peninsula fans &ndash we&rsquove stayed in them all across the world. This is everything a luxury hotel should be, with that added Peninsula touch. Discreet, classy and sensational, it lets you melt away from the madness of NYC. We loved our room with its Fifth Avenue views and the staff and concierge went out of their way to make our stay great.


OutThere Recommends: Hotels

New York City is rightly renowned for its luxurious accommodations, with classic as well as new (and newly reimagined) hotels that offer elegance at every turn. For this feature, our partners at OutThere sampled a selection to include in their Monumental NYC issue. These are their &ldquofavorite, tried-and-tested, stylish and extraordinary places to stay.&rdquo See their descriptions below for inspiration on your next visit to NYC. &mdashnycgo.com staff

Courtesy, The Pierre New York

The Pierre New York

Nothing says old-world Upper East Side eclecticism louder than the Pierre &ndash one of the true Fifth Avenue grandes dames. The property&rsquos classic charm remains unchanged, despite renovations in 2007 &ndash each of the elevators features its own attendant to guide you to your room. We became fast friends with ours, who told us she had been here for 29 years.

The hotel&rsquos Rotunda restaurant serves afternoon tea and cocktails in a setting that has to be seen to be believed, lovingly reimagined by artist Daniel Romualdez (rumour has it Jackie O may be looking down on you enviously). The property&rsquos bar is perfectly adequate for a pre-Broadway drink. Dining in the hotel&rsquos Perrine restaurant is a more modern affair, attracting a wealthy Upper East Side crowd. Just enough of the classic Pierre style has been retained, such as the cute vintage style of the menu design, and executive chef Ashfer Biju offers up classic dishes from the hotel&rsquos original fare. The decor of our room was elegant and grand, in keeping with the DNA of the property, although 10 years into its renovation, it could do with a refresh. However, what may be missing in modernity is made up for in quality &ndash our sheets were some of the silkiest we&rsquove ever slept in. If you&rsquore craving some contemporary (okay, mid-century modern) stylings, check-into a Grand Suite that comes with terrace views over one of Manhattan&rsquos chicest neighbourhoods.

Courtesy, The Plaza, a Fairmont Managed Hotel

The Plaza

It&rsquos impossible to visit this grande dame of New York City hotels without an overwhelming sense of déjà-vu taking over you. After all, for over 60 years it has played cameos in all genres of Hollywood films &ndash from Alfred Hitchcock&rsquos North by Northwest, to Baz Luhrmann&rsquos The Great Gatsby, to Christmas favourite Home Alone, as well as in the recent crowd-pleaser Ocean&rsquos Eight (although we don&rsquot recommend trying to hustle the staff into giving you a free room &ndash we&rsquore pretty sure they are on to that one). Beyond the cinematic prestige lies a hotel with a sense of its own place in the New York imagination. It&rsquos a hotel where Saudi princes mix with wide-eyed, special-occasion guests looking for that quintessential old-school vibe. Our lavish Pulitzer Legacy Suite overlooked Fifth Avenue and the famous Pulitzer Fountain on Grand Army Plaza from which it gets its name. It embodies the hotel&rsquos timeless European style, albeit with modern conveniences. Afternoon tea in the opulent Palm Court was a particular highlight for us, although we didn&rsquot have to go far for more contemporary fare. Beneath the hotel is a modern food court, bustling with smart shoppers in search of fancy treats &ndash such as Japanese layer cake, our personal favourite. There was no real need (or desire) to leave the property.

Courtesy, The Plaza, a Fairmont Managed Hotel

We loved the glamour of the Plaza. It&rsquos no wonder it was billed &lsquothe world&rsquos greatest hotel&rsquo when it opened back in 1907, but more than a century and a bit later, it&rsquos
still a contender for that title.

Courtesy, Loews Regency New York

Loews Regency New York

Like the city it&rsquos located in, Loews Regency is a no-nonsense hotel that clearly means business. Going into this smart Park Avenue hotel, set close to the southeastern corner of Central Park, feels like entering another level of New York&rsquos complex social structure.

Courtesy, Loews Regency New York

At almost every hour of the day, the foyer is a tableau of men in smartly tailored suits, talking earnestly on their phones &ndash and to each other &ndash as if a big diplomatic deal were about to go down. Immaculately dressed women with their manicured dogs (the hotel has a special Very Important Pets programme that gets them the same &ndash perhaps even more &ndash perks as their two-legged owners) step out of limousines, as attentive door staff rush to retrieve their shopping bags from Bergdorf Goodman just a few blocks away. We visited at the time of the United Nations General Assembly, which may go some way to explain all of this, so perhaps at any other time of year the hotel may have more of a relaxed vibe. Our contemporary suite &ndash one of just 58 here &ndash had its own balcony with views across the rooftops to the park. It is one of a number of individually designed self-contained &lsquoapartments&rsquo that mix a cool minimalist 1970s vibe with modern comforts. We were told that many were rented out for the month by international long-stay visitors looking for the trappings of home (with a pretty prestigious address), matched with the convenience of staying in a hotel. We always maintain that you can judge a hotel by its concierge service and in this case it scored top marks, guiding us to an exquisite local Japanese restaurant that more than satisfied our late-night cravings for sushi. Naturally, this was followed by a nightcap in the hotel&rsquos classic American-style Regency Bar & Grill.

Courtesy, The Knickerbocker

The Knickerbocker

As the New York socialite saying goes, &lsquoget you a man who can do both&rsquo. If that&rsquos what you&rsquore looking for, the Knickerbocker is your man &ndash well, hotel. Nestled among the bright lights and hustle of Times Square, it&rsquos right in the heart of all the Midtown action, yet it&rsquos a sanctuary from the craziness outside. This was our second stay at the Knickerbocker and we were excited to return.

Courtesy, The Knickerbocker

So let&rsquos get the challenges out of the way. Unfortunately, as on our first visit when the hotel had just opened, the staff&rsquos aloof approach to service (which we had assumed may have been a teething problem) had not gone away. After a long flight, this doesn&rsquot make a great impression, but once we&rsquod shrugged off the big-city attitude, the only way was up. Waiting in the St. Cloud Rooftop bar for our room to be readied made it all better. It&rsquos a great people-watching space, with delicious signature cocktails. Our suite was a contemporary, well-proportioned space, understated and minimalist, but effortlessly comfortable.

Courtesy, The Knickerbocker

It was an oasis of calm in comparison to what we could see from our window and shutting the curtains allowed us to forget that we were in the middle of one of the busiest, most-photographed places in the world. The aptly named Saints & Sinners Fitness Center is divided into a tranquil space for yoga and pilates and a more upbeat cardio-and-weight-training facility to pump up for a night on the town. One evening, we forwent the city&rsquos bright lights for a night in and the Knickerbocker&rsquos in-room dining was a delight.

Courtesy, Four Seasons Hotel New York Downtown. Photo: Christian Horan

Four Seasons New York Downtown

Everyone&rsquos talking about the &lsquonew New York&rsquo and at the heart of all this hype is the revitalised Lower Manhattan area.

A couple of years ago, we were thrilled to be part of the hotel&rsquos unveiling and, having had a great experience, we were equally thrilled to return. Just moments from Downtown Manhattan Heliport, this relatively new hotel, set in a glistening tower building, was built from scratch and features the understatedly opulent interior design of the husband-and-husband team that is Yabu Pushelberg. Our north-facing, 22nd-floor suite offered a striking view of the city &ndash the vista stretched for miles &ndash while other rooms showcase views of Downtown icon the Oculus and the mighty Hudson River. The sweetest suite is the property&rsquos gorgeous Penthouse, a luxury home-away-from-home that made us consider buying one of the exclusive residences that are for sale in the building. Perks of being in residence include Cut &ndash Wolfgang Puck&rsquos first steakhouse in New York City &ndash a showy, boudoir-like, eclectic eatery that&rsquos a departure from the Four Season&rsquos aesthetic identity. With a seven-room spa and pool area, the fitness centre takes up an entire floor and is an escapist&rsquos dream, perfect after a long day in the hustle and bustle: all gorgeous streaked marble, wood and tons of natural light. It takes on a Korean influence and reminded us of our stay at the hotel&rsquos sister property in Seoul. You know an area has become chic when a Four Seasons has moved in.

Courtesy, The Beekman, A Thompson Hotel. Photo: Bjorn Wallander

The Beekman, a Thompson Hotel

Staying in Downtown may not be the leisure traveller&rsquos first choice on a visit to New York City, but it actually has its benefits. It is surprisingly easy to get to on the subway, as it&rsquos serviced by a number of lines that connect in the financial heart of the city, and it&rsquos also within walking distance of some iconic landmarks, from the new World Trade Center plaza, ferry piers, the Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges and the South Street Seaport district. The Beekman is an absolute gem of a heritage hotel, with a jaw-dropping, open atrium showing off the turn-of-the-century architecture (it used to be the headquarters of a law firm).

Courtesy, The Beekman, A Thompson Hotel. Photo: Bjorn Wallander

The ground floor houses two outstanding restaurants: Keith McNally&rsquos brasserie Augustine and Tom Colicchio&rsquos Temple Court, which brings a unique take on an American menu. Make time for a cocktail in the hotel&rsquos beautiful Bar Room before heading downstairs into the basement to the Alley Cat, an eclectically designed speakeasy-style club with late opening hours. It reminded us of Maggie Choo&rsquos in Bangkok. The high ceilings in our suite made it feel generous and, despite the rather modest bathroom, we loved the design &ndash a mix of dark wooden floors and handsome solid furniture combined with sumptuous, richly coloured soft furnishings. The hotel sports two signature penthouse suites nestled on the hotel we imagine they are worth every dime.

Courtesy, The Wagner at the Battery

The Wagner Hotel

Formerly the darling of Wall Street wolves because of its proximity to the Financial District, this once-starchy property is changing things a little with the influx of leisure travellers now choosing Downtown as their base. And this is as downtown as you can get &ndash the property literally perches on the southernmost tip of the island. The advantage was a picture-postcard view of the Hudson from our suite, which looked out over the Statue of Liberty. A strategically placed telescope comes as part of the furnishings in each room. The Battery Park location means that the One World Observatory (the perfect starting point for a first-timer in NYC) and the new shopping meccas in the Oculus and Brookfield Place are all within walking distance. Should you not be a walker, the hotel provides complimentary bicycles. The property is classic 1990s luxe, with gold and marble trim everywhere. Flawless service and attention to detail by its predominantly male team were the icing on the cake to an already-great stay.

Courtesy, The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park

The Ritz Carlton New York

With traditional charm and killer views over Central Park, this hotel made us feel at home. In fact, the demeanour of the team there was geared towards us being residents rather than guests.

We loved our room, which featured Club Lounge access, along with oversize marble bathroom and butler service (the latter at an additional charge). We dined at the hotel&rsquos bistro specialising in seafood and had many a martini in the gorgeous Star Lounge.

www.ritzcarlton.com
50 Central Park South, New York City

Courtesy, The St. Regis, New York. Photo: Bruce Buck

The St. Regis New York

This Beaux-Arts hotel is quite a name to drop &ndash Astor, Dalí, Old King Cole. Okay, so we spent a lot of time in the property&rsquos lauded bar, but the rest of the hotel had just as many stories to tell. Playing up to its NYC glamour credentials, we had to choose between a Bentley, Tiffany or Dior suite. Guess which we picked? It was hard to contain our excitement as our butler unveiled our palatial rooms.

Courtesy, Hotel Plaza Athénée

Hôtel Plaza Athénée New York

With elegant rooms in a luxurious house on a brownstone-lined street, the Athénée feels like an intimate, boutique hotel, despite holding 140 keys and being the talk of New York high society. The decor stays true to the property&rsquos Beaux-Arts stylings and its location is a dream for culture-vultures. We enjoyed the hotel&rsquos stately Arabelle restaurant.

Courtesy, Mandarin Oriental, New York

Mandarin Oriental New York

Perched high above Columbus Circle, this Asian-inspired hotel, complete with wood panels, marble floors and artworks inspired by nature, offers luxuriously zen places to stay. We enjoyed the property&rsquos spa and Asiate restaurant, with its floor-to-ceiling vistas of the city&rsquos skyline. Our room was understated, but waking to a view of Central Park was a showstopper.

Courtesy, Lotte New York Palace. Photo: Bruce Buck Photography

Lotte New York Palace

A story of old meets new unfurls in this 19th-century building, with its topiary-peppered Italian courtyard and opulent marble staircase. The Lotte has become synonymous with luxury leisure travel and it&rsquos easy to see why &ndash it boasts sumptuous rooms with marble bathrooms and a 7,000 sq ft (yes, you heard right) wellness centre overlooking St Patrick&rsquos Cathedral.

Courtesy, The Peninsula New York

The Peninsula New York

We&rsquore big Peninsula fans &ndash we&rsquove stayed in them all across the world. This is everything a luxury hotel should be, with that added Peninsula touch. Discreet, classy and sensational, it lets you melt away from the madness of NYC. We loved our room with its Fifth Avenue views and the staff and concierge went out of their way to make our stay great.


OutThere Recommends: Hotels

New York City is rightly renowned for its luxurious accommodations, with classic as well as new (and newly reimagined) hotels that offer elegance at every turn. For this feature, our partners at OutThere sampled a selection to include in their Monumental NYC issue. These are their &ldquofavorite, tried-and-tested, stylish and extraordinary places to stay.&rdquo See their descriptions below for inspiration on your next visit to NYC. &mdashnycgo.com staff

Courtesy, The Pierre New York

The Pierre New York

Nothing says old-world Upper East Side eclecticism louder than the Pierre &ndash one of the true Fifth Avenue grandes dames. The property&rsquos classic charm remains unchanged, despite renovations in 2007 &ndash each of the elevators features its own attendant to guide you to your room. We became fast friends with ours, who told us she had been here for 29 years.

The hotel&rsquos Rotunda restaurant serves afternoon tea and cocktails in a setting that has to be seen to be believed, lovingly reimagined by artist Daniel Romualdez (rumour has it Jackie O may be looking down on you enviously). The property&rsquos bar is perfectly adequate for a pre-Broadway drink. Dining in the hotel&rsquos Perrine restaurant is a more modern affair, attracting a wealthy Upper East Side crowd. Just enough of the classic Pierre style has been retained, such as the cute vintage style of the menu design, and executive chef Ashfer Biju offers up classic dishes from the hotel&rsquos original fare. The decor of our room was elegant and grand, in keeping with the DNA of the property, although 10 years into its renovation, it could do with a refresh. However, what may be missing in modernity is made up for in quality &ndash our sheets were some of the silkiest we&rsquove ever slept in. If you&rsquore craving some contemporary (okay, mid-century modern) stylings, check-into a Grand Suite that comes with terrace views over one of Manhattan&rsquos chicest neighbourhoods.

Courtesy, The Plaza, a Fairmont Managed Hotel

The Plaza

It&rsquos impossible to visit this grande dame of New York City hotels without an overwhelming sense of déjà-vu taking over you. After all, for over 60 years it has played cameos in all genres of Hollywood films &ndash from Alfred Hitchcock&rsquos North by Northwest, to Baz Luhrmann&rsquos The Great Gatsby, to Christmas favourite Home Alone, as well as in the recent crowd-pleaser Ocean&rsquos Eight (although we don&rsquot recommend trying to hustle the staff into giving you a free room &ndash we&rsquore pretty sure they are on to that one). Beyond the cinematic prestige lies a hotel with a sense of its own place in the New York imagination. It&rsquos a hotel where Saudi princes mix with wide-eyed, special-occasion guests looking for that quintessential old-school vibe. Our lavish Pulitzer Legacy Suite overlooked Fifth Avenue and the famous Pulitzer Fountain on Grand Army Plaza from which it gets its name. It embodies the hotel&rsquos timeless European style, albeit with modern conveniences. Afternoon tea in the opulent Palm Court was a particular highlight for us, although we didn&rsquot have to go far for more contemporary fare. Beneath the hotel is a modern food court, bustling with smart shoppers in search of fancy treats &ndash such as Japanese layer cake, our personal favourite. There was no real need (or desire) to leave the property.

Courtesy, The Plaza, a Fairmont Managed Hotel

We loved the glamour of the Plaza. It&rsquos no wonder it was billed &lsquothe world&rsquos greatest hotel&rsquo when it opened back in 1907, but more than a century and a bit later, it&rsquos
still a contender for that title.

Courtesy, Loews Regency New York

Loews Regency New York

Like the city it&rsquos located in, Loews Regency is a no-nonsense hotel that clearly means business. Going into this smart Park Avenue hotel, set close to the southeastern corner of Central Park, feels like entering another level of New York&rsquos complex social structure.

Courtesy, Loews Regency New York

At almost every hour of the day, the foyer is a tableau of men in smartly tailored suits, talking earnestly on their phones &ndash and to each other &ndash as if a big diplomatic deal were about to go down. Immaculately dressed women with their manicured dogs (the hotel has a special Very Important Pets programme that gets them the same &ndash perhaps even more &ndash perks as their two-legged owners) step out of limousines, as attentive door staff rush to retrieve their shopping bags from Bergdorf Goodman just a few blocks away. We visited at the time of the United Nations General Assembly, which may go some way to explain all of this, so perhaps at any other time of year the hotel may have more of a relaxed vibe. Our contemporary suite &ndash one of just 58 here &ndash had its own balcony with views across the rooftops to the park. It is one of a number of individually designed self-contained &lsquoapartments&rsquo that mix a cool minimalist 1970s vibe with modern comforts. We were told that many were rented out for the month by international long-stay visitors looking for the trappings of home (with a pretty prestigious address), matched with the convenience of staying in a hotel. We always maintain that you can judge a hotel by its concierge service and in this case it scored top marks, guiding us to an exquisite local Japanese restaurant that more than satisfied our late-night cravings for sushi. Naturally, this was followed by a nightcap in the hotel&rsquos classic American-style Regency Bar & Grill.

Courtesy, The Knickerbocker

The Knickerbocker

As the New York socialite saying goes, &lsquoget you a man who can do both&rsquo. If that&rsquos what you&rsquore looking for, the Knickerbocker is your man &ndash well, hotel. Nestled among the bright lights and hustle of Times Square, it&rsquos right in the heart of all the Midtown action, yet it&rsquos a sanctuary from the craziness outside. This was our second stay at the Knickerbocker and we were excited to return.

Courtesy, The Knickerbocker

So let&rsquos get the challenges out of the way. Unfortunately, as on our first visit when the hotel had just opened, the staff&rsquos aloof approach to service (which we had assumed may have been a teething problem) had not gone away. After a long flight, this doesn&rsquot make a great impression, but once we&rsquod shrugged off the big-city attitude, the only way was up. Waiting in the St. Cloud Rooftop bar for our room to be readied made it all better. It&rsquos a great people-watching space, with delicious signature cocktails. Our suite was a contemporary, well-proportioned space, understated and minimalist, but effortlessly comfortable.

Courtesy, The Knickerbocker

It was an oasis of calm in comparison to what we could see from our window and shutting the curtains allowed us to forget that we were in the middle of one of the busiest, most-photographed places in the world. The aptly named Saints & Sinners Fitness Center is divided into a tranquil space for yoga and pilates and a more upbeat cardio-and-weight-training facility to pump up for a night on the town. One evening, we forwent the city&rsquos bright lights for a night in and the Knickerbocker&rsquos in-room dining was a delight.

Courtesy, Four Seasons Hotel New York Downtown. Photo: Christian Horan

Four Seasons New York Downtown

Everyone&rsquos talking about the &lsquonew New York&rsquo and at the heart of all this hype is the revitalised Lower Manhattan area.

A couple of years ago, we were thrilled to be part of the hotel&rsquos unveiling and, having had a great experience, we were equally thrilled to return. Just moments from Downtown Manhattan Heliport, this relatively new hotel, set in a glistening tower building, was built from scratch and features the understatedly opulent interior design of the husband-and-husband team that is Yabu Pushelberg. Our north-facing, 22nd-floor suite offered a striking view of the city &ndash the vista stretched for miles &ndash while other rooms showcase views of Downtown icon the Oculus and the mighty Hudson River. The sweetest suite is the property&rsquos gorgeous Penthouse, a luxury home-away-from-home that made us consider buying one of the exclusive residences that are for sale in the building. Perks of being in residence include Cut &ndash Wolfgang Puck&rsquos first steakhouse in New York City &ndash a showy, boudoir-like, eclectic eatery that&rsquos a departure from the Four Season&rsquos aesthetic identity. With a seven-room spa and pool area, the fitness centre takes up an entire floor and is an escapist&rsquos dream, perfect after a long day in the hustle and bustle: all gorgeous streaked marble, wood and tons of natural light. It takes on a Korean influence and reminded us of our stay at the hotel&rsquos sister property in Seoul. You know an area has become chic when a Four Seasons has moved in.

Courtesy, The Beekman, A Thompson Hotel. Photo: Bjorn Wallander

The Beekman, a Thompson Hotel

Staying in Downtown may not be the leisure traveller&rsquos first choice on a visit to New York City, but it actually has its benefits. It is surprisingly easy to get to on the subway, as it&rsquos serviced by a number of lines that connect in the financial heart of the city, and it&rsquos also within walking distance of some iconic landmarks, from the new World Trade Center plaza, ferry piers, the Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges and the South Street Seaport district. The Beekman is an absolute gem of a heritage hotel, with a jaw-dropping, open atrium showing off the turn-of-the-century architecture (it used to be the headquarters of a law firm).

Courtesy, The Beekman, A Thompson Hotel. Photo: Bjorn Wallander

The ground floor houses two outstanding restaurants: Keith McNally&rsquos brasserie Augustine and Tom Colicchio&rsquos Temple Court, which brings a unique take on an American menu. Make time for a cocktail in the hotel&rsquos beautiful Bar Room before heading downstairs into the basement to the Alley Cat, an eclectically designed speakeasy-style club with late opening hours. It reminded us of Maggie Choo&rsquos in Bangkok. The high ceilings in our suite made it feel generous and, despite the rather modest bathroom, we loved the design &ndash a mix of dark wooden floors and handsome solid furniture combined with sumptuous, richly coloured soft furnishings. The hotel sports two signature penthouse suites nestled on the hotel we imagine they are worth every dime.

Courtesy, The Wagner at the Battery

The Wagner Hotel

Formerly the darling of Wall Street wolves because of its proximity to the Financial District, this once-starchy property is changing things a little with the influx of leisure travellers now choosing Downtown as their base. And this is as downtown as you can get &ndash the property literally perches on the southernmost tip of the island. The advantage was a picture-postcard view of the Hudson from our suite, which looked out over the Statue of Liberty. A strategically placed telescope comes as part of the furnishings in each room. The Battery Park location means that the One World Observatory (the perfect starting point for a first-timer in NYC) and the new shopping meccas in the Oculus and Brookfield Place are all within walking distance. Should you not be a walker, the hotel provides complimentary bicycles. The property is classic 1990s luxe, with gold and marble trim everywhere. Flawless service and attention to detail by its predominantly male team were the icing on the cake to an already-great stay.

Courtesy, The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park

The Ritz Carlton New York

With traditional charm and killer views over Central Park, this hotel made us feel at home. In fact, the demeanour of the team there was geared towards us being residents rather than guests.

We loved our room, which featured Club Lounge access, along with oversize marble bathroom and butler service (the latter at an additional charge). We dined at the hotel&rsquos bistro specialising in seafood and had many a martini in the gorgeous Star Lounge.

www.ritzcarlton.com
50 Central Park South, New York City

Courtesy, The St. Regis, New York. Photo: Bruce Buck

The St. Regis New York

This Beaux-Arts hotel is quite a name to drop &ndash Astor, Dalí, Old King Cole. Okay, so we spent a lot of time in the property&rsquos lauded bar, but the rest of the hotel had just as many stories to tell. Playing up to its NYC glamour credentials, we had to choose between a Bentley, Tiffany or Dior suite. Guess which we picked? It was hard to contain our excitement as our butler unveiled our palatial rooms.

Courtesy, Hotel Plaza Athénée

Hôtel Plaza Athénée New York

With elegant rooms in a luxurious house on a brownstone-lined street, the Athénée feels like an intimate, boutique hotel, despite holding 140 keys and being the talk of New York high society. The decor stays true to the property&rsquos Beaux-Arts stylings and its location is a dream for culture-vultures. We enjoyed the hotel&rsquos stately Arabelle restaurant.

Courtesy, Mandarin Oriental, New York

Mandarin Oriental New York

Perched high above Columbus Circle, this Asian-inspired hotel, complete with wood panels, marble floors and artworks inspired by nature, offers luxuriously zen places to stay. We enjoyed the property&rsquos spa and Asiate restaurant, with its floor-to-ceiling vistas of the city&rsquos skyline. Our room was understated, but waking to a view of Central Park was a showstopper.

Courtesy, Lotte New York Palace. Photo: Bruce Buck Photography

Lotte New York Palace

A story of old meets new unfurls in this 19th-century building, with its topiary-peppered Italian courtyard and opulent marble staircase. The Lotte has become synonymous with luxury leisure travel and it&rsquos easy to see why &ndash it boasts sumptuous rooms with marble bathrooms and a 7,000 sq ft (yes, you heard right) wellness centre overlooking St Patrick&rsquos Cathedral.

Courtesy, The Peninsula New York

The Peninsula New York

We&rsquore big Peninsula fans &ndash we&rsquove stayed in them all across the world. This is everything a luxury hotel should be, with that added Peninsula touch. Discreet, classy and sensational, it lets you melt away from the madness of NYC. We loved our room with its Fifth Avenue views and the staff and concierge went out of their way to make our stay great.


OutThere Recommends: Hotels

New York City is rightly renowned for its luxurious accommodations, with classic as well as new (and newly reimagined) hotels that offer elegance at every turn. For this feature, our partners at OutThere sampled a selection to include in their Monumental NYC issue. These are their &ldquofavorite, tried-and-tested, stylish and extraordinary places to stay.&rdquo See their descriptions below for inspiration on your next visit to NYC. &mdashnycgo.com staff

Courtesy, The Pierre New York

The Pierre New York

Nothing says old-world Upper East Side eclecticism louder than the Pierre &ndash one of the true Fifth Avenue grandes dames. The property&rsquos classic charm remains unchanged, despite renovations in 2007 &ndash each of the elevators features its own attendant to guide you to your room. We became fast friends with ours, who told us she had been here for 29 years.

The hotel&rsquos Rotunda restaurant serves afternoon tea and cocktails in a setting that has to be seen to be believed, lovingly reimagined by artist Daniel Romualdez (rumour has it Jackie O may be looking down on you enviously). The property&rsquos bar is perfectly adequate for a pre-Broadway drink. Dining in the hotel&rsquos Perrine restaurant is a more modern affair, attracting a wealthy Upper East Side crowd. Just enough of the classic Pierre style has been retained, such as the cute vintage style of the menu design, and executive chef Ashfer Biju offers up classic dishes from the hotel&rsquos original fare. The decor of our room was elegant and grand, in keeping with the DNA of the property, although 10 years into its renovation, it could do with a refresh. However, what may be missing in modernity is made up for in quality &ndash our sheets were some of the silkiest we&rsquove ever slept in. If you&rsquore craving some contemporary (okay, mid-century modern) stylings, check-into a Grand Suite that comes with terrace views over one of Manhattan&rsquos chicest neighbourhoods.

Courtesy, The Plaza, a Fairmont Managed Hotel

The Plaza

It&rsquos impossible to visit this grande dame of New York City hotels without an overwhelming sense of déjà-vu taking over you. After all, for over 60 years it has played cameos in all genres of Hollywood films &ndash from Alfred Hitchcock&rsquos North by Northwest, to Baz Luhrmann&rsquos The Great Gatsby, to Christmas favourite Home Alone, as well as in the recent crowd-pleaser Ocean&rsquos Eight (although we don&rsquot recommend trying to hustle the staff into giving you a free room &ndash we&rsquore pretty sure they are on to that one). Beyond the cinematic prestige lies a hotel with a sense of its own place in the New York imagination. It&rsquos a hotel where Saudi princes mix with wide-eyed, special-occasion guests looking for that quintessential old-school vibe. Our lavish Pulitzer Legacy Suite overlooked Fifth Avenue and the famous Pulitzer Fountain on Grand Army Plaza from which it gets its name. It embodies the hotel&rsquos timeless European style, albeit with modern conveniences. Afternoon tea in the opulent Palm Court was a particular highlight for us, although we didn&rsquot have to go far for more contemporary fare. Beneath the hotel is a modern food court, bustling with smart shoppers in search of fancy treats &ndash such as Japanese layer cake, our personal favourite. There was no real need (or desire) to leave the property.

Courtesy, The Plaza, a Fairmont Managed Hotel

We loved the glamour of the Plaza. It&rsquos no wonder it was billed &lsquothe world&rsquos greatest hotel&rsquo when it opened back in 1907, but more than a century and a bit later, it&rsquos
still a contender for that title.

Courtesy, Loews Regency New York

Loews Regency New York

Like the city it&rsquos located in, Loews Regency is a no-nonsense hotel that clearly means business. Going into this smart Park Avenue hotel, set close to the southeastern corner of Central Park, feels like entering another level of New York&rsquos complex social structure.

Courtesy, Loews Regency New York

At almost every hour of the day, the foyer is a tableau of men in smartly tailored suits, talking earnestly on their phones &ndash and to each other &ndash as if a big diplomatic deal were about to go down. Immaculately dressed women with their manicured dogs (the hotel has a special Very Important Pets programme that gets them the same &ndash perhaps even more &ndash perks as their two-legged owners) step out of limousines, as attentive door staff rush to retrieve their shopping bags from Bergdorf Goodman just a few blocks away. We visited at the time of the United Nations General Assembly, which may go some way to explain all of this, so perhaps at any other time of year the hotel may have more of a relaxed vibe. Our contemporary suite &ndash one of just 58 here &ndash had its own balcony with views across the rooftops to the park. It is one of a number of individually designed self-contained &lsquoapartments&rsquo that mix a cool minimalist 1970s vibe with modern comforts. We were told that many were rented out for the month by international long-stay visitors looking for the trappings of home (with a pretty prestigious address), matched with the convenience of staying in a hotel. We always maintain that you can judge a hotel by its concierge service and in this case it scored top marks, guiding us to an exquisite local Japanese restaurant that more than satisfied our late-night cravings for sushi. Naturally, this was followed by a nightcap in the hotel&rsquos classic American-style Regency Bar & Grill.

Courtesy, The Knickerbocker

The Knickerbocker

As the New York socialite saying goes, &lsquoget you a man who can do both&rsquo. If that&rsquos what you&rsquore looking for, the Knickerbocker is your man &ndash well, hotel. Nestled among the bright lights and hustle of Times Square, it&rsquos right in the heart of all the Midtown action, yet it&rsquos a sanctuary from the craziness outside. This was our second stay at the Knickerbocker and we were excited to return.

Courtesy, The Knickerbocker

So let&rsquos get the challenges out of the way. Unfortunately, as on our first visit when the hotel had just opened, the staff&rsquos aloof approach to service (which we had assumed may have been a teething problem) had not gone away. After a long flight, this doesn&rsquot make a great impression, but once we&rsquod shrugged off the big-city attitude, the only way was up. Waiting in the St. Cloud Rooftop bar for our room to be readied made it all better. It&rsquos a great people-watching space, with delicious signature cocktails. Our suite was a contemporary, well-proportioned space, understated and minimalist, but effortlessly comfortable.

Courtesy, The Knickerbocker

It was an oasis of calm in comparison to what we could see from our window and shutting the curtains allowed us to forget that we were in the middle of one of the busiest, most-photographed places in the world. The aptly named Saints & Sinners Fitness Center is divided into a tranquil space for yoga and pilates and a more upbeat cardio-and-weight-training facility to pump up for a night on the town. One evening, we forwent the city&rsquos bright lights for a night in and the Knickerbocker&rsquos in-room dining was a delight.

Courtesy, Four Seasons Hotel New York Downtown. Photo: Christian Horan

Four Seasons New York Downtown

Everyone&rsquos talking about the &lsquonew New York&rsquo and at the heart of all this hype is the revitalised Lower Manhattan area.

A couple of years ago, we were thrilled to be part of the hotel&rsquos unveiling and, having had a great experience, we were equally thrilled to return. Just moments from Downtown Manhattan Heliport, this relatively new hotel, set in a glistening tower building, was built from scratch and features the understatedly opulent interior design of the husband-and-husband team that is Yabu Pushelberg. Our north-facing, 22nd-floor suite offered a striking view of the city &ndash the vista stretched for miles &ndash while other rooms showcase views of Downtown icon the Oculus and the mighty Hudson River. The sweetest suite is the property&rsquos gorgeous Penthouse, a luxury home-away-from-home that made us consider buying one of the exclusive residences that are for sale in the building. Perks of being in residence include Cut &ndash Wolfgang Puck&rsquos first steakhouse in New York City &ndash a showy, boudoir-like, eclectic eatery that&rsquos a departure from the Four Season&rsquos aesthetic identity. With a seven-room spa and pool area, the fitness centre takes up an entire floor and is an escapist&rsquos dream, perfect after a long day in the hustle and bustle: all gorgeous streaked marble, wood and tons of natural light. It takes on a Korean influence and reminded us of our stay at the hotel&rsquos sister property in Seoul. You know an area has become chic when a Four Seasons has moved in.

Courtesy, The Beekman, A Thompson Hotel. Photo: Bjorn Wallander

The Beekman, a Thompson Hotel

Staying in Downtown may not be the leisure traveller&rsquos first choice on a visit to New York City, but it actually has its benefits. It is surprisingly easy to get to on the subway, as it&rsquos serviced by a number of lines that connect in the financial heart of the city, and it&rsquos also within walking distance of some iconic landmarks, from the new World Trade Center plaza, ferry piers, the Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges and the South Street Seaport district. The Beekman is an absolute gem of a heritage hotel, with a jaw-dropping, open atrium showing off the turn-of-the-century architecture (it used to be the headquarters of a law firm).

Courtesy, The Beekman, A Thompson Hotel. Photo: Bjorn Wallander

The ground floor houses two outstanding restaurants: Keith McNally&rsquos brasserie Augustine and Tom Colicchio&rsquos Temple Court, which brings a unique take on an American menu. Make time for a cocktail in the hotel&rsquos beautiful Bar Room before heading downstairs into the basement to the Alley Cat, an eclectically designed speakeasy-style club with late opening hours. It reminded us of Maggie Choo&rsquos in Bangkok. The high ceilings in our suite made it feel generous and, despite the rather modest bathroom, we loved the design &ndash a mix of dark wooden floors and handsome solid furniture combined with sumptuous, richly coloured soft furnishings. The hotel sports two signature penthouse suites nestled on the hotel we imagine they are worth every dime.

Courtesy, The Wagner at the Battery

The Wagner Hotel

Formerly the darling of Wall Street wolves because of its proximity to the Financial District, this once-starchy property is changing things a little with the influx of leisure travellers now choosing Downtown as their base. And this is as downtown as you can get &ndash the property literally perches on the southernmost tip of the island. The advantage was a picture-postcard view of the Hudson from our suite, which looked out over the Statue of Liberty. A strategically placed telescope comes as part of the furnishings in each room. The Battery Park location means that the One World Observatory (the perfect starting point for a first-timer in NYC) and the new shopping meccas in the Oculus and Brookfield Place are all within walking distance. Should you not be a walker, the hotel provides complimentary bicycles. The property is classic 1990s luxe, with gold and marble trim everywhere. Flawless service and attention to detail by its predominantly male team were the icing on the cake to an already-great stay.

Courtesy, The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park

The Ritz Carlton New York

With traditional charm and killer views over Central Park, this hotel made us feel at home. In fact, the demeanour of the team there was geared towards us being residents rather than guests.

We loved our room, which featured Club Lounge access, along with oversize marble bathroom and butler service (the latter at an additional charge). We dined at the hotel&rsquos bistro specialising in seafood and had many a martini in the gorgeous Star Lounge.

www.ritzcarlton.com
50 Central Park South, New York City

Courtesy, The St. Regis, New York. Photo: Bruce Buck

The St. Regis New York

This Beaux-Arts hotel is quite a name to drop &ndash Astor, Dalí, Old King Cole. Okay, so we spent a lot of time in the property&rsquos lauded bar, but the rest of the hotel had just as many stories to tell. Playing up to its NYC glamour credentials, we had to choose between a Bentley, Tiffany or Dior suite. Guess which we picked? It was hard to contain our excitement as our butler unveiled our palatial rooms.

Courtesy, Hotel Plaza Athénée

Hôtel Plaza Athénée New York

With elegant rooms in a luxurious house on a brownstone-lined street, the Athénée feels like an intimate, boutique hotel, despite holding 140 keys and being the talk of New York high society. The decor stays true to the property&rsquos Beaux-Arts stylings and its location is a dream for culture-vultures. We enjoyed the hotel&rsquos stately Arabelle restaurant.

Courtesy, Mandarin Oriental, New York

Mandarin Oriental New York

Perched high above Columbus Circle, this Asian-inspired hotel, complete with wood panels, marble floors and artworks inspired by nature, offers luxuriously zen places to stay. We enjoyed the property&rsquos spa and Asiate restaurant, with its floor-to-ceiling vistas of the city&rsquos skyline. Our room was understated, but waking to a view of Central Park was a showstopper.

Courtesy, Lotte New York Palace. Photo: Bruce Buck Photography

Lotte New York Palace

A story of old meets new unfurls in this 19th-century building, with its topiary-peppered Italian courtyard and opulent marble staircase. The Lotte has become synonymous with luxury leisure travel and it&rsquos easy to see why &ndash it boasts sumptuous rooms with marble bathrooms and a 7,000 sq ft (yes, you heard right) wellness centre overlooking St Patrick&rsquos Cathedral.

Courtesy, The Peninsula New York

The Peninsula New York

We&rsquore big Peninsula fans &ndash we&rsquove stayed in them all across the world. This is everything a luxury hotel should be, with that added Peninsula touch. Discreet, classy and sensational, it lets you melt away from the madness of NYC. We loved our room with its Fifth Avenue views and the staff and concierge went out of their way to make our stay great.


OutThere Recommends: Hotels

New York City is rightly renowned for its luxurious accommodations, with classic as well as new (and newly reimagined) hotels that offer elegance at every turn. For this feature, our partners at OutThere sampled a selection to include in their Monumental NYC issue. These are their &ldquofavorite, tried-and-tested, stylish and extraordinary places to stay.&rdquo See their descriptions below for inspiration on your next visit to NYC. &mdashnycgo.com staff

Courtesy, The Pierre New York

The Pierre New York

Nothing says old-world Upper East Side eclecticism louder than the Pierre &ndash one of the true Fifth Avenue grandes dames. The property&rsquos classic charm remains unchanged, despite renovations in 2007 &ndash each of the elevators features its own attendant to guide you to your room. We became fast friends with ours, who told us she had been here for 29 years.

The hotel&rsquos Rotunda restaurant serves afternoon tea and cocktails in a setting that has to be seen to be believed, lovingly reimagined by artist Daniel Romualdez (rumour has it Jackie O may be looking down on you enviously). The property&rsquos bar is perfectly adequate for a pre-Broadway drink. Dining in the hotel&rsquos Perrine restaurant is a more modern affair, attracting a wealthy Upper East Side crowd. Just enough of the classic Pierre style has been retained, such as the cute vintage style of the menu design, and executive chef Ashfer Biju offers up classic dishes from the hotel&rsquos original fare. The decor of our room was elegant and grand, in keeping with the DNA of the property, although 10 years into its renovation, it could do with a refresh. However, what may be missing in modernity is made up for in quality &ndash our sheets were some of the silkiest we&rsquove ever slept in. If you&rsquore craving some contemporary (okay, mid-century modern) stylings, check-into a Grand Suite that comes with terrace views over one of Manhattan&rsquos chicest neighbourhoods.

Courtesy, The Plaza, a Fairmont Managed Hotel

The Plaza

It&rsquos impossible to visit this grande dame of New York City hotels without an overwhelming sense of déjà-vu taking over you. After all, for over 60 years it has played cameos in all genres of Hollywood films &ndash from Alfred Hitchcock&rsquos North by Northwest, to Baz Luhrmann&rsquos The Great Gatsby, to Christmas favourite Home Alone, as well as in the recent crowd-pleaser Ocean&rsquos Eight (although we don&rsquot recommend trying to hustle the staff into giving you a free room &ndash we&rsquore pretty sure they are on to that one). Beyond the cinematic prestige lies a hotel with a sense of its own place in the New York imagination. It&rsquos a hotel where Saudi princes mix with wide-eyed, special-occasion guests looking for that quintessential old-school vibe. Our lavish Pulitzer Legacy Suite overlooked Fifth Avenue and the famous Pulitzer Fountain on Grand Army Plaza from which it gets its name. It embodies the hotel&rsquos timeless European style, albeit with modern conveniences. Afternoon tea in the opulent Palm Court was a particular highlight for us, although we didn&rsquot have to go far for more contemporary fare. Beneath the hotel is a modern food court, bustling with smart shoppers in search of fancy treats &ndash such as Japanese layer cake, our personal favourite. There was no real need (or desire) to leave the property.

Courtesy, The Plaza, a Fairmont Managed Hotel

We loved the glamour of the Plaza. It&rsquos no wonder it was billed &lsquothe world&rsquos greatest hotel&rsquo when it opened back in 1907, but more than a century and a bit later, it&rsquos
still a contender for that title.

Courtesy, Loews Regency New York

Loews Regency New York

Like the city it&rsquos located in, Loews Regency is a no-nonsense hotel that clearly means business. Going into this smart Park Avenue hotel, set close to the southeastern corner of Central Park, feels like entering another level of New York&rsquos complex social structure.

Courtesy, Loews Regency New York

At almost every hour of the day, the foyer is a tableau of men in smartly tailored suits, talking earnestly on their phones &ndash and to each other &ndash as if a big diplomatic deal were about to go down. Immaculately dressed women with their manicured dogs (the hotel has a special Very Important Pets programme that gets them the same &ndash perhaps even more &ndash perks as their two-legged owners) step out of limousines, as attentive door staff rush to retrieve their shopping bags from Bergdorf Goodman just a few blocks away. We visited at the time of the United Nations General Assembly, which may go some way to explain all of this, so perhaps at any other time of year the hotel may have more of a relaxed vibe. Our contemporary suite &ndash one of just 58 here &ndash had its own balcony with views across the rooftops to the park. It is one of a number of individually designed self-contained &lsquoapartments&rsquo that mix a cool minimalist 1970s vibe with modern comforts. We were told that many were rented out for the month by international long-stay visitors looking for the trappings of home (with a pretty prestigious address), matched with the convenience of staying in a hotel. We always maintain that you can judge a hotel by its concierge service and in this case it scored top marks, guiding us to an exquisite local Japanese restaurant that more than satisfied our late-night cravings for sushi. Naturally, this was followed by a nightcap in the hotel&rsquos classic American-style Regency Bar & Grill.

Courtesy, The Knickerbocker

The Knickerbocker

As the New York socialite saying goes, &lsquoget you a man who can do both&rsquo. If that&rsquos what you&rsquore looking for, the Knickerbocker is your man &ndash well, hotel. Nestled among the bright lights and hustle of Times Square, it&rsquos right in the heart of all the Midtown action, yet it&rsquos a sanctuary from the craziness outside. This was our second stay at the Knickerbocker and we were excited to return.

Courtesy, The Knickerbocker

So let&rsquos get the challenges out of the way. Unfortunately, as on our first visit when the hotel had just opened, the staff&rsquos aloof approach to service (which we had assumed may have been a teething problem) had not gone away. After a long flight, this doesn&rsquot make a great impression, but once we&rsquod shrugged off the big-city attitude, the only way was up. Waiting in the St. Cloud Rooftop bar for our room to be readied made it all better. It&rsquos a great people-watching space, with delicious signature cocktails. Our suite was a contemporary, well-proportioned space, understated and minimalist, but effortlessly comfortable.

Courtesy, The Knickerbocker

It was an oasis of calm in comparison to what we could see from our window and shutting the curtains allowed us to forget that we were in the middle of one of the busiest, most-photographed places in the world. The aptly named Saints & Sinners Fitness Center is divided into a tranquil space for yoga and pilates and a more upbeat cardio-and-weight-training facility to pump up for a night on the town. One evening, we forwent the city&rsquos bright lights for a night in and the Knickerbocker&rsquos in-room dining was a delight.

Courtesy, Four Seasons Hotel New York Downtown. Photo: Christian Horan

Four Seasons New York Downtown

Everyone&rsquos talking about the &lsquonew New York&rsquo and at the heart of all this hype is the revitalised Lower Manhattan area.

A couple of years ago, we were thrilled to be part of the hotel&rsquos unveiling and, having had a great experience, we were equally thrilled to return. Just moments from Downtown Manhattan Heliport, this relatively new hotel, set in a glistening tower building, was built from scratch and features the understatedly opulent interior design of the husband-and-husband team that is Yabu Pushelberg. Our north-facing, 22nd-floor suite offered a striking view of the city &ndash the vista stretched for miles &ndash while other rooms showcase views of Downtown icon the Oculus and the mighty Hudson River. The sweetest suite is the property&rsquos gorgeous Penthouse, a luxury home-away-from-home that made us consider buying one of the exclusive residences that are for sale in the building. Perks of being in residence include Cut &ndash Wolfgang Puck&rsquos first steakhouse in New York City &ndash a showy, boudoir-like, eclectic eatery that&rsquos a departure from the Four Season&rsquos aesthetic identity. With a seven-room spa and pool area, the fitness centre takes up an entire floor and is an escapist&rsquos dream, perfect after a long day in the hustle and bustle: all gorgeous streaked marble, wood and tons of natural light. It takes on a Korean influence and reminded us of our stay at the hotel&rsquos sister property in Seoul. You know an area has become chic when a Four Seasons has moved in.

Courtesy, The Beekman, A Thompson Hotel. Photo: Bjorn Wallander

The Beekman, a Thompson Hotel

Staying in Downtown may not be the leisure traveller&rsquos first choice on a visit to New York City, but it actually has its benefits. It is surprisingly easy to get to on the subway, as it&rsquos serviced by a number of lines that connect in the financial heart of the city, and it&rsquos also within walking distance of some iconic landmarks, from the new World Trade Center plaza, ferry piers, the Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges and the South Street Seaport district. The Beekman is an absolute gem of a heritage hotel, with a jaw-dropping, open atrium showing off the turn-of-the-century architecture (it used to be the headquarters of a law firm).

Courtesy, The Beekman, A Thompson Hotel. Photo: Bjorn Wallander

The ground floor houses two outstanding restaurants: Keith McNally&rsquos brasserie Augustine and Tom Colicchio&rsquos Temple Court, which brings a unique take on an American menu. Make time for a cocktail in the hotel&rsquos beautiful Bar Room before heading downstairs into the basement to the Alley Cat, an eclectically designed speakeasy-style club with late opening hours. It reminded us of Maggie Choo&rsquos in Bangkok. The high ceilings in our suite made it feel generous and, despite the rather modest bathroom, we loved the design &ndash a mix of dark wooden floors and handsome solid furniture combined with sumptuous, richly coloured soft furnishings. The hotel sports two signature penthouse suites nestled on the hotel we imagine they are worth every dime.

Courtesy, The Wagner at the Battery

The Wagner Hotel

Formerly the darling of Wall Street wolves because of its proximity to the Financial District, this once-starchy property is changing things a little with the influx of leisure travellers now choosing Downtown as their base. And this is as downtown as you can get &ndash the property literally perches on the southernmost tip of the island. The advantage was a picture-postcard view of the Hudson from our suite, which looked out over the Statue of Liberty. A strategically placed telescope comes as part of the furnishings in each room. The Battery Park location means that the One World Observatory (the perfect starting point for a first-timer in NYC) and the new shopping meccas in the Oculus and Brookfield Place are all within walking distance. Should you not be a walker, the hotel provides complimentary bicycles. The property is classic 1990s luxe, with gold and marble trim everywhere. Flawless service and attention to detail by its predominantly male team were the icing on the cake to an already-great stay.

Courtesy, The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park

The Ritz Carlton New York

With traditional charm and killer views over Central Park, this hotel made us feel at home. In fact, the demeanour of the team there was geared towards us being residents rather than guests.

We loved our room, which featured Club Lounge access, along with oversize marble bathroom and butler service (the latter at an additional charge). We dined at the hotel&rsquos bistro specialising in seafood and had many a martini in the gorgeous Star Lounge.

www.ritzcarlton.com
50 Central Park South, New York City

Courtesy, The St. Regis, New York. Photo: Bruce Buck

The St. Regis New York

This Beaux-Arts hotel is quite a name to drop &ndash Astor, Dalí, Old King Cole. Okay, so we spent a lot of time in the property&rsquos lauded bar, but the rest of the hotel had just as many stories to tell. Playing up to its NYC glamour credentials, we had to choose between a Bentley, Tiffany or Dior suite. Guess which we picked? It was hard to contain our excitement as our butler unveiled our palatial rooms.

Courtesy, Hotel Plaza Athénée

Hôtel Plaza Athénée New York

With elegant rooms in a luxurious house on a brownstone-lined street, the Athénée feels like an intimate, boutique hotel, despite holding 140 keys and being the talk of New York high society. The decor stays true to the property&rsquos Beaux-Arts stylings and its location is a dream for culture-vultures. We enjoyed the hotel&rsquos stately Arabelle restaurant.

Courtesy, Mandarin Oriental, New York

Mandarin Oriental New York

Perched high above Columbus Circle, this Asian-inspired hotel, complete with wood panels, marble floors and artworks inspired by nature, offers luxuriously zen places to stay. We enjoyed the property&rsquos spa and Asiate restaurant, with its floor-to-ceiling vistas of the city&rsquos skyline. Our room was understated, but waking to a view of Central Park was a showstopper.

Courtesy, Lotte New York Palace. Photo: Bruce Buck Photography

Lotte New York Palace

A story of old meets new unfurls in this 19th-century building, with its topiary-peppered Italian courtyard and opulent marble staircase. The Lotte has become synonymous with luxury leisure travel and it&rsquos easy to see why &ndash it boasts sumptuous rooms with marble bathrooms and a 7,000 sq ft (yes, you heard right) wellness centre overlooking St Patrick&rsquos Cathedral.

Courtesy, The Peninsula New York

The Peninsula New York

We&rsquore big Peninsula fans &ndash we&rsquove stayed in them all across the world. This is everything a luxury hotel should be, with that added Peninsula touch. Discreet, classy and sensational, it lets you melt away from the madness of NYC. We loved our room with its Fifth Avenue views and the staff and concierge went out of their way to make our stay great.


OutThere Recommends: Hotels

New York City is rightly renowned for its luxurious accommodations, with classic as well as new (and newly reimagined) hotels that offer elegance at every turn. For this feature, our partners at OutThere sampled a selection to include in their Monumental NYC issue. These are their &ldquofavorite, tried-and-tested, stylish and extraordinary places to stay.&rdquo See their descriptions below for inspiration on your next visit to NYC. &mdashnycgo.com staff

Courtesy, The Pierre New York

The Pierre New York

Nothing says old-world Upper East Side eclecticism louder than the Pierre &ndash one of the true Fifth Avenue grandes dames. The property&rsquos classic charm remains unchanged, despite renovations in 2007 &ndash each of the elevators features its own attendant to guide you to your room. We became fast friends with ours, who told us she had been here for 29 years.

The hotel&rsquos Rotunda restaurant serves afternoon tea and cocktails in a setting that has to be seen to be believed, lovingly reimagined by artist Daniel Romualdez (rumour has it Jackie O may be looking down on you enviously). The property&rsquos bar is perfectly adequate for a pre-Broadway drink. Dining in the hotel&rsquos Perrine restaurant is a more modern affair, attracting a wealthy Upper East Side crowd. Just enough of the classic Pierre style has been retained, such as the cute vintage style of the menu design, and executive chef Ashfer Biju offers up classic dishes from the hotel&rsquos original fare. The decor of our room was elegant and grand, in keeping with the DNA of the property, although 10 years into its renovation, it could do with a refresh. However, what may be missing in modernity is made up for in quality &ndash our sheets were some of the silkiest we&rsquove ever slept in. If you&rsquore craving some contemporary (okay, mid-century modern) stylings, check-into a Grand Suite that comes with terrace views over one of Manhattan&rsquos chicest neighbourhoods.

Courtesy, The Plaza, a Fairmont Managed Hotel

The Plaza

It&rsquos impossible to visit this grande dame of New York City hotels without an overwhelming sense of déjà-vu taking over you. After all, for over 60 years it has played cameos in all genres of Hollywood films &ndash from Alfred Hitchcock&rsquos North by Northwest, to Baz Luhrmann&rsquos The Great Gatsby, to Christmas favourite Home Alone, as well as in the recent crowd-pleaser Ocean&rsquos Eight (although we don&rsquot recommend trying to hustle the staff into giving you a free room &ndash we&rsquore pretty sure they are on to that one). Beyond the cinematic prestige lies a hotel with a sense of its own place in the New York imagination. It&rsquos a hotel where Saudi princes mix with wide-eyed, special-occasion guests looking for that quintessential old-school vibe. Our lavish Pulitzer Legacy Suite overlooked Fifth Avenue and the famous Pulitzer Fountain on Grand Army Plaza from which it gets its name. It embodies the hotel&rsquos timeless European style, albeit with modern conveniences. Afternoon tea in the opulent Palm Court was a particular highlight for us, although we didn&rsquot have to go far for more contemporary fare. Beneath the hotel is a modern food court, bustling with smart shoppers in search of fancy treats &ndash such as Japanese layer cake, our personal favourite. There was no real need (or desire) to leave the property.

Courtesy, The Plaza, a Fairmont Managed Hotel

We loved the glamour of the Plaza. It&rsquos no wonder it was billed &lsquothe world&rsquos greatest hotel&rsquo when it opened back in 1907, but more than a century and a bit later, it&rsquos
still a contender for that title.

Courtesy, Loews Regency New York

Loews Regency New York

Like the city it&rsquos located in, Loews Regency is a no-nonsense hotel that clearly means business. Going into this smart Park Avenue hotel, set close to the southeastern corner of Central Park, feels like entering another level of New York&rsquos complex social structure.

Courtesy, Loews Regency New York

At almost every hour of the day, the foyer is a tableau of men in smartly tailored suits, talking earnestly on their phones &ndash and to each other &ndash as if a big diplomatic deal were about to go down. Immaculately dressed women with their manicured dogs (the hotel has a special Very Important Pets programme that gets them the same &ndash perhaps even more &ndash perks as their two-legged owners) step out of limousines, as attentive door staff rush to retrieve their shopping bags from Bergdorf Goodman just a few blocks away. We visited at the time of the United Nations General Assembly, which may go some way to explain all of this, so perhaps at any other time of year the hotel may have more of a relaxed vibe. Our contemporary suite &ndash one of just 58 here &ndash had its own balcony with views across the rooftops to the park. It is one of a number of individually designed self-contained &lsquoapartments&rsquo that mix a cool minimalist 1970s vibe with modern comforts. We were told that many were rented out for the month by international long-stay visitors looking for the trappings of home (with a pretty prestigious address), matched with the convenience of staying in a hotel. We always maintain that you can judge a hotel by its concierge service and in this case it scored top marks, guiding us to an exquisite local Japanese restaurant that more than satisfied our late-night cravings for sushi. Naturally, this was followed by a nightcap in the hotel&rsquos classic American-style Regency Bar & Grill.

Courtesy, The Knickerbocker

The Knickerbocker

As the New York socialite saying goes, &lsquoget you a man who can do both&rsquo. If that&rsquos what you&rsquore looking for, the Knickerbocker is your man &ndash well, hotel. Nestled among the bright lights and hustle of Times Square, it&rsquos right in the heart of all the Midtown action, yet it&rsquos a sanctuary from the craziness outside. This was our second stay at the Knickerbocker and we were excited to return.

Courtesy, The Knickerbocker

So let&rsquos get the challenges out of the way. Unfortunately, as on our first visit when the hotel had just opened, the staff&rsquos aloof approach to service (which we had assumed may have been a teething problem) had not gone away. After a long flight, this doesn&rsquot make a great impression, but once we&rsquod shrugged off the big-city attitude, the only way was up. Waiting in the St. Cloud Rooftop bar for our room to be readied made it all better. It&rsquos a great people-watching space, with delicious signature cocktails. Our suite was a contemporary, well-proportioned space, understated and minimalist, but effortlessly comfortable.

Courtesy, The Knickerbocker

It was an oasis of calm in comparison to what we could see from our window and shutting the curtains allowed us to forget that we were in the middle of one of the busiest, most-photographed places in the world. The aptly named Saints & Sinners Fitness Center is divided into a tranquil space for yoga and pilates and a more upbeat cardio-and-weight-training facility to pump up for a night on the town. One evening, we forwent the city&rsquos bright lights for a night in and the Knickerbocker&rsquos in-room dining was a delight.

Courtesy, Four Seasons Hotel New York Downtown. Photo: Christian Horan

Four Seasons New York Downtown

Everyone&rsquos talking about the &lsquonew New York&rsquo and at the heart of all this hype is the revitalised Lower Manhattan area.

A couple of years ago, we were thrilled to be part of the hotel&rsquos unveiling and, having had a great experience, we were equally thrilled to return. Just moments from Downtown Manhattan Heliport, this relatively new hotel, set in a glistening tower building, was built from scratch and features the understatedly opulent interior design of the husband-and-husband team that is Yabu Pushelberg. Our north-facing, 22nd-floor suite offered a striking view of the city &ndash the vista stretched for miles &ndash while other rooms showcase views of Downtown icon the Oculus and the mighty Hudson River. The sweetest suite is the property&rsquos gorgeous Penthouse, a luxury home-away-from-home that made us consider buying one of the exclusive residences that are for sale in the building. Perks of being in residence include Cut &ndash Wolfgang Puck&rsquos first steakhouse in New York City &ndash a showy, boudoir-like, eclectic eatery that&rsquos a departure from the Four Season&rsquos aesthetic identity. With a seven-room spa and pool area, the fitness centre takes up an entire floor and is an escapist&rsquos dream, perfect after a long day in the hustle and bustle: all gorgeous streaked marble, wood and tons of natural light. It takes on a Korean influence and reminded us of our stay at the hotel&rsquos sister property in Seoul. You know an area has become chic when a Four Seasons has moved in.

Courtesy, The Beekman, A Thompson Hotel. Photo: Bjorn Wallander

The Beekman, a Thompson Hotel

Staying in Downtown may not be the leisure traveller&rsquos first choice on a visit to New York City, but it actually has its benefits. It is surprisingly easy to get to on the subway, as it&rsquos serviced by a number of lines that connect in the financial heart of the city, and it&rsquos also within walking distance of some iconic landmarks, from the new World Trade Center plaza, ferry piers, the Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges and the South Street Seaport district. The Beekman is an absolute gem of a heritage hotel, with a jaw-dropping, open atrium showing off the turn-of-the-century architecture (it used to be the headquarters of a law firm).

Courtesy, The Beekman, A Thompson Hotel. Photo: Bjorn Wallander

The ground floor houses two outstanding restaurants: Keith McNally&rsquos brasserie Augustine and Tom Colicchio&rsquos Temple Court, which brings a unique take on an American menu. Make time for a cocktail in the hotel&rsquos beautiful Bar Room before heading downstairs into the basement to the Alley Cat, an eclectically designed speakeasy-style club with late opening hours. It reminded us of Maggie Choo&rsquos in Bangkok. The high ceilings in our suite made it feel generous and, despite the rather modest bathroom, we loved the design &ndash a mix of dark wooden floors and handsome solid furniture combined with sumptuous, richly coloured soft furnishings. The hotel sports two signature penthouse suites nestled on the hotel we imagine they are worth every dime.

Courtesy, The Wagner at the Battery

The Wagner Hotel

Formerly the darling of Wall Street wolves because of its proximity to the Financial District, this once-starchy property is changing things a little with the influx of leisure travellers now choosing Downtown as their base. And this is as downtown as you can get &ndash the property literally perches on the southernmost tip of the island. The advantage was a picture-postcard view of the Hudson from our suite, which looked out over the Statue of Liberty. A strategically placed telescope comes as part of the furnishings in each room. The Battery Park location means that the One World Observatory (the perfect starting point for a first-timer in NYC) and the new shopping meccas in the Oculus and Brookfield Place are all within walking distance. Should you not be a walker, the hotel provides complimentary bicycles. The property is classic 1990s luxe, with gold and marble trim everywhere. Flawless service and attention to detail by its predominantly male team were the icing on the cake to an already-great stay.

Courtesy, The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park

The Ritz Carlton New York

With traditional charm and killer views over Central Park, this hotel made us feel at home. In fact, the demeanour of the team there was geared towards us being residents rather than guests.

We loved our room, which featured Club Lounge access, along with oversize marble bathroom and butler service (the latter at an additional charge). We dined at the hotel&rsquos bistro specialising in seafood and had many a martini in the gorgeous Star Lounge.

www.ritzcarlton.com
50 Central Park South, New York City

Courtesy, The St. Regis, New York. Photo: Bruce Buck

The St. Regis New York

This Beaux-Arts hotel is quite a name to drop &ndash Astor, Dalí, Old King Cole. Okay, so we spent a lot of time in the property&rsquos lauded bar, but the rest of the hotel had just as many stories to tell. Playing up to its NYC glamour credentials, we had to choose between a Bentley, Tiffany or Dior suite. Guess which we picked? It was hard to contain our excitement as our butler unveiled our palatial rooms.

Courtesy, Hotel Plaza Athénée

Hôtel Plaza Athénée New York

With elegant rooms in a luxurious house on a brownstone-lined street, the Athénée feels like an intimate, boutique hotel, despite holding 140 keys and being the talk of New York high society. The decor stays true to the property&rsquos Beaux-Arts stylings and its location is a dream for culture-vultures. We enjoyed the hotel&rsquos stately Arabelle restaurant.

Courtesy, Mandarin Oriental, New York

Mandarin Oriental New York

Perched high above Columbus Circle, this Asian-inspired hotel, complete with wood panels, marble floors and artworks inspired by nature, offers luxuriously zen places to stay. We enjoyed the property&rsquos spa and Asiate restaurant, with its floor-to-ceiling vistas of the city&rsquos skyline. Our room was understated, but waking to a view of Central Park was a showstopper.

Courtesy, Lotte New York Palace. Photo: Bruce Buck Photography

Lotte New York Palace

A story of old meets new unfurls in this 19th-century building, with its topiary-peppered Italian courtyard and opulent marble staircase. The Lotte has become synonymous with luxury leisure travel and it&rsquos easy to see why &ndash it boasts sumptuous rooms with marble bathrooms and a 7,000 sq ft (yes, you heard right) wellness centre overlooking St Patrick&rsquos Cathedral.

Courtesy, The Peninsula New York

The Peninsula New York

We&rsquore big Peninsula fans &ndash we&rsquove stayed in them all across the world. This is everything a luxury hotel should be, with that added Peninsula touch. Discreet, classy and sensational, it lets you melt away from the madness of NYC. We loved our room with its Fifth Avenue views and the staff and concierge went out of their way to make our stay great.


OutThere Recommends: Hotels

New York City is rightly renowned for its luxurious accommodations, with classic as well as new (and newly reimagined) hotels that offer elegance at every turn. For this feature, our partners at OutThere sampled a selection to include in their Monumental NYC issue. These are their &ldquofavorite, tried-and-tested, stylish and extraordinary places to stay.&rdquo See their descriptions below for inspiration on your next visit to NYC. &mdashnycgo.com staff

Courtesy, The Pierre New York

The Pierre New York

Nothing says old-world Upper East Side eclecticism louder than the Pierre &ndash one of the true Fifth Avenue grandes dames. The property&rsquos classic charm remains unchanged, despite renovations in 2007 &ndash each of the elevators features its own attendant to guide you to your room. We became fast friends with ours, who told us she had been here for 29 years.

The hotel&rsquos Rotunda restaurant serves afternoon tea and cocktails in a setting that has to be seen to be believed, lovingly reimagined by artist Daniel Romualdez (rumour has it Jackie O may be looking down on you enviously). The property&rsquos bar is perfectly adequate for a pre-Broadway drink. Dining in the hotel&rsquos Perrine restaurant is a more modern affair, attracting a wealthy Upper East Side crowd. Just enough of the classic Pierre style has been retained, such as the cute vintage style of the menu design, and executive chef Ashfer Biju offers up classic dishes from the hotel&rsquos original fare. The decor of our room was elegant and grand, in keeping with the DNA of the property, although 10 years into its renovation, it could do with a refresh. However, what may be missing in modernity is made up for in quality &ndash our sheets were some of the silkiest we&rsquove ever slept in. If you&rsquore craving some contemporary (okay, mid-century modern) stylings, check-into a Grand Suite that comes with terrace views over one of Manhattan&rsquos chicest neighbourhoods.

Courtesy, The Plaza, a Fairmont Managed Hotel

The Plaza

It&rsquos impossible to visit this grande dame of New York City hotels without an overwhelming sense of déjà-vu taking over you. After all, for over 60 years it has played cameos in all genres of Hollywood films &ndash from Alfred Hitchcock&rsquos North by Northwest, to Baz Luhrmann&rsquos The Great Gatsby, to Christmas favourite Home Alone, as well as in the recent crowd-pleaser Ocean&rsquos Eight (although we don&rsquot recommend trying to hustle the staff into giving you a free room &ndash we&rsquore pretty sure they are on to that one). Beyond the cinematic prestige lies a hotel with a sense of its own place in the New York imagination. It&rsquos a hotel where Saudi princes mix with wide-eyed, special-occasion guests looking for that quintessential old-school vibe. Our lavish Pulitzer Legacy Suite overlooked Fifth Avenue and the famous Pulitzer Fountain on Grand Army Plaza from which it gets its name. It embodies the hotel&rsquos timeless European style, albeit with modern conveniences. Afternoon tea in the opulent Palm Court was a particular highlight for us, although we didn&rsquot have to go far for more contemporary fare. Beneath the hotel is a modern food court, bustling with smart shoppers in search of fancy treats &ndash such as Japanese layer cake, our personal favourite. There was no real need (or desire) to leave the property.

Courtesy, The Plaza, a Fairmont Managed Hotel

We loved the glamour of the Plaza. It&rsquos no wonder it was billed &lsquothe world&rsquos greatest hotel&rsquo when it opened back in 1907, but more than a century and a bit later, it&rsquos
still a contender for that title.

Courtesy, Loews Regency New York

Loews Regency New York

Like the city it&rsquos located in, Loews Regency is a no-nonsense hotel that clearly means business. Going into this smart Park Avenue hotel, set close to the southeastern corner of Central Park, feels like entering another level of New York&rsquos complex social structure.

Courtesy, Loews Regency New York

At almost every hour of the day, the foyer is a tableau of men in smartly tailored suits, talking earnestly on their phones &ndash and to each other &ndash as if a big diplomatic deal were about to go down. Immaculately dressed women with their manicured dogs (the hotel has a special Very Important Pets programme that gets them the same &ndash perhaps even more &ndash perks as their two-legged owners) step out of limousines, as attentive door staff rush to retrieve their shopping bags from Bergdorf Goodman just a few blocks away. We visited at the time of the United Nations General Assembly, which may go some way to explain all of this, so perhaps at any other time of year the hotel may have more of a relaxed vibe. Our contemporary suite &ndash one of just 58 here &ndash had its own balcony with views across the rooftops to the park. It is one of a number of individually designed self-contained &lsquoapartments&rsquo that mix a cool minimalist 1970s vibe with modern comforts. We were told that many were rented out for the month by international long-stay visitors looking for the trappings of home (with a pretty prestigious address), matched with the convenience of staying in a hotel. We always maintain that you can judge a hotel by its concierge service and in this case it scored top marks, guiding us to an exquisite local Japanese restaurant that more than satisfied our late-night cravings for sushi. Naturally, this was followed by a nightcap in the hotel&rsquos classic American-style Regency Bar & Grill.

Courtesy, The Knickerbocker

The Knickerbocker

As the New York socialite saying goes, &lsquoget you a man who can do both&rsquo. If that&rsquos what you&rsquore looking for, the Knickerbocker is your man &ndash well, hotel. Nestled among the bright lights and hustle of Times Square, it&rsquos right in the heart of all the Midtown action, yet it&rsquos a sanctuary from the craziness outside. This was our second stay at the Knickerbocker and we were excited to return.

Courtesy, The Knickerbocker

So let&rsquos get the challenges out of the way. Unfortunately, as on our first visit when the hotel had just opened, the staff&rsquos aloof approach to service (which we had assumed may have been a teething problem) had not gone away. After a long flight, this doesn&rsquot make a great impression, but once we&rsquod shrugged off the big-city attitude, the only way was up. Waiting in the St. Cloud Rooftop bar for our room to be readied made it all better. It&rsquos a great people-watching space, with delicious signature cocktails. Our suite was a contemporary, well-proportioned space, understated and minimalist, but effortlessly comfortable.

Courtesy, The Knickerbocker

It was an oasis of calm in comparison to what we could see from our window and shutting the curtains allowed us to forget that we were in the middle of one of the busiest, most-photographed places in the world. The aptly named Saints & Sinners Fitness Center is divided into a tranquil space for yoga and pilates and a more upbeat cardio-and-weight-training facility to pump up for a night on the town. One evening, we forwent the city&rsquos bright lights for a night in and the Knickerbocker&rsquos in-room dining was a delight.

Courtesy, Four Seasons Hotel New York Downtown. Photo: Christian Horan

Four Seasons New York Downtown

Everyone&rsquos talking about the &lsquonew New York&rsquo and at the heart of all this hype is the revitalised Lower Manhattan area.

A couple of years ago, we were thrilled to be part of the hotel&rsquos unveiling and, having had a great experience, we were equally thrilled to return. Just moments from Downtown Manhattan Heliport, this relatively new hotel, set in a glistening tower building, was built from scratch and features the understatedly opulent interior design of the husband-and-husband team that is Yabu Pushelberg. Our north-facing, 22nd-floor suite offered a striking view of the city &ndash the vista stretched for miles &ndash while other rooms showcase views of Downtown icon the Oculus and the mighty Hudson River. The sweetest suite is the property&rsquos gorgeous Penthouse, a luxury home-away-from-home that made us consider buying one of the exclusive residences that are for sale in the building. Perks of being in residence include Cut &ndash Wolfgang Puck&rsquos first steakhouse in New York City &ndash a showy, boudoir-like, eclectic eatery that&rsquos a departure from the Four Season&rsquos aesthetic identity. With a seven-room spa and pool area, the fitness centre takes up an entire floor and is an escapist&rsquos dream, perfect after a long day in the hustle and bustle: all gorgeous streaked marble, wood and tons of natural light. It takes on a Korean influence and reminded us of our stay at the hotel&rsquos sister property in Seoul. You know an area has become chic when a Four Seasons has moved in.

Courtesy, The Beekman, A Thompson Hotel. Photo: Bjorn Wallander

The Beekman, a Thompson Hotel

Staying in Downtown may not be the leisure traveller&rsquos first choice on a visit to New York City, but it actually has its benefits. It is surprisingly easy to get to on the subway, as it&rsquos serviced by a number of lines that connect in the financial heart of the city, and it&rsquos also within walking distance of some iconic landmarks, from the new World Trade Center plaza, ferry piers, the Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges and the South Street Seaport district. The Beekman is an absolute gem of a heritage hotel, with a jaw-dropping, open atrium showing off the turn-of-the-century architecture (it used to be the headquarters of a law firm).

Courtesy, The Beekman, A Thompson Hotel. Photo: Bjorn Wallander

The ground floor houses two outstanding restaurants: Keith McNally&rsquos brasserie Augustine and Tom Colicchio&rsquos Temple Court, which brings a unique take on an American menu. Make time for a cocktail in the hotel&rsquos beautiful Bar Room before heading downstairs into the basement to the Alley Cat, an eclectically designed speakeasy-style club with late opening hours. It reminded us of Maggie Choo&rsquos in Bangkok. The high ceilings in our suite made it feel generous and, despite the rather modest bathroom, we loved the design &ndash a mix of dark wooden floors and handsome solid furniture combined with sumptuous, richly coloured soft furnishings. The hotel sports two signature penthouse suites nestled on the hotel we imagine they are worth every dime.

Courtesy, The Wagner at the Battery

The Wagner Hotel

Formerly the darling of Wall Street wolves because of its proximity to the Financial District, this once-starchy property is changing things a little with the influx of leisure travellers now choosing Downtown as their base. And this is as downtown as you can get &ndash the property literally perches on the southernmost tip of the island. The advantage was a picture-postcard view of the Hudson from our suite, which looked out over the Statue of Liberty. A strategically placed telescope comes as part of the furnishings in each room. The Battery Park location means that the One World Observatory (the perfect starting point for a first-timer in NYC) and the new shopping meccas in the Oculus and Brookfield Place are all within walking distance. Should you not be a walker, the hotel provides complimentary bicycles. The property is classic 1990s luxe, with gold and marble trim everywhere. Flawless service and attention to detail by its predominantly male team were the icing on the cake to an already-great stay.

Courtesy, The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park

The Ritz Carlton New York

With traditional charm and killer views over Central Park, this hotel made us feel at home. In fact, the demeanour of the team there was geared towards us being residents rather than guests.

We loved our room, which featured Club Lounge access, along with oversize marble bathroom and butler service (the latter at an additional charge). We dined at the hotel&rsquos bistro specialising in seafood and had many a martini in the gorgeous Star Lounge.

www.ritzcarlton.com
50 Central Park South, New York City

Courtesy, The St. Regis, New York. Photo: Bruce Buck

The St. Regis New York

This Beaux-Arts hotel is quite a name to drop &ndash Astor, Dalí, Old King Cole. Okay, so we spent a lot of time in the property&rsquos lauded bar, but the rest of the hotel had just as many stories to tell. Playing up to its NYC glamour credentials, we had to choose between a Bentley, Tiffany or Dior suite. Guess which we picked? It was hard to contain our excitement as our butler unveiled our palatial rooms.

Courtesy, Hotel Plaza Athénée

Hôtel Plaza Athénée New York

With elegant rooms in a luxurious house on a brownstone-lined street, the Athénée feels like an intimate, boutique hotel, despite holding 140 keys and being the talk of New York high society. The decor stays true to the property&rsquos Beaux-Arts stylings and its location is a dream for culture-vultures. We enjoyed the hotel&rsquos stately Arabelle restaurant.

Courtesy, Mandarin Oriental, New York

Mandarin Oriental New York

Perched high above Columbus Circle, this Asian-inspired hotel, complete with wood panels, marble floors and artworks inspired by nature, offers luxuriously zen places to stay. We enjoyed the property&rsquos spa and Asiate restaurant, with its floor-to-ceiling vistas of the city&rsquos skyline. Our room was understated, but waking to a view of Central Park was a showstopper.

Courtesy, Lotte New York Palace. Photo: Bruce Buck Photography

Lotte New York Palace

A story of old meets new unfurls in this 19th-century building, with its topiary-peppered Italian courtyard and opulent marble staircase. The Lotte has become synonymous with luxury leisure travel and it&rsquos easy to see why &ndash it boasts sumptuous rooms with marble bathrooms and a 7,000 sq ft (yes, you heard right) wellness centre overlooking St Patrick&rsquos Cathedral.

Courtesy, The Peninsula New York

The Peninsula New York

We&rsquore big Peninsula fans &ndash we&rsquove stayed in them all across the world. This is everything a luxury hotel should be, with that added Peninsula touch. Discreet, classy and sensational, it lets you melt away from the madness of NYC. We loved our room with its Fifth Avenue views and the staff and concierge went out of their way to make our stay great.