A luxury hotel as steeped in history as New York City itself.
A walk through the marble-floored lobby of this 1904 Beaux Arts-style building is like taking a trip back to the Gilded Age. A three-year, $100-million renovation restored the Louis XV furniture to a lustrous state and concealed new technology beneath original fixtures. Red-velvet-covered antique armchairs look as comfortable today as they must have nearly a hundred years ago when the hotel was the headquarters for an elite 400 selected by Mrs. Astor herself. The 313 rooms are all spacious; most have separate sitting areas. While they provide such old-time charms as high ceilings and Louis XV-style pieces in understated grays and beiges, they all contain CD players, MP3 players and flat-screen TVs. The black-and-white marble bathrooms feature brass fixtures and Tiffany toiletries. Each floor has 24-hour butler service, offering such complimentary services as unpacking, complimentary shoeshine and suit- or dress-pressing upon arrival. Grand Luxe rooms have fax machines, while the suites are equipped with cell phones, two full baths and more. For a real treat, book one of the unique designer suites, either the Christian Dior or the Tiffany. The legendary King Cole Bar and Lounge is home to Maxfield Parrish's famed 1895 mural of Old King Cole; here in 1934, the bartender mixed a Red Snapper, which later became the Bloody Mary.