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The Pierre, A Taj Hotel, New York Review: You could easily mistake this property for an Old World club rather than a modern luxury hotel. When it opened in 1930, a guidebook described it as beautiful, gorgeous, distinctive and catering only to those of refined tastes who can afford the best. This is as true today as it was then, since the property has been updated (to the tune of $100 million) to exceed the expectations of modern travelers. Overlooking Central Park, the hotel is managed by Taj Hotels Resorts & Palaces. As grand as it is subdued, it boasts European antiques and gleaming mahogany. The 189 guest rooms and suites offer a cozy at-home feeling (if, of course, your home has design elements like rich woods and tufted leather headboards). Nevertheless, the emphasis is upon making guests feel at home (away from home), albeit in luxurious fashion. Room features include Bose Wave stereo systems, 40-inch flat-screen TVs, large desk areas and Molton Brown bath products. Service includes packing/unpacking and one-hour pressing. Public areas showcase the Two E Bar/Lounge and Sirio Ristorante, serving excellent Italian cuisine. Breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea are served in the gorgeous Rotunda, adorned with mythological trompe l'oeil paintings by Edward Melcarth.