Whether you are a couple in love, in need of a staycation, or want a place to lay your weary tourist head, New York City hotels have a long history of offering a little something for everyone. Despite the pandemic, luxury hospitality brands have made New York their favorite location. We saw new openings, like Aman New York, Ritz Carlton and Casa Cipriani. Amongst the many hotel options in the city that never sleeps, there are a few who stand out. Save this list of the best hotel stays to ensure you have an adventure worthy of your bucket list.
The Beekman Hotel
Not many New York City hotels can say that they are a city landmark, but the Beekman Hotel is no ordinary place. Built in 1883, the then “Temple Court Building” was among the tallest buildings in the city, with views all the way to Central Park. This would make it the first city skyscraper (although the word did not exist back then). The tall wonder was dreamed up by millionaire Eugene Kelly. It served as an office building for many years, until its last tenant moved out in 2005 and the structure was abandoned. While abandoned, plenty yearned to visit as its architecture is a well-known Old New York jewel loved by creatives and romantic types. During its closure The Temple Court building has seen lots of photo shoots, marriage proposals and movie/TV show tapings. What makes this hotel special is its photogenic wow factor. The open atrium, with a skylight at the top, is what draws in the crowds, but it is the hospitality that makes them come back. Photo above shows how the Beekman hotel atrium cascades down to The Temple Court lounge and bar. (Photo via GKV Architects)
We had our very own birthday celebration at the beloved 19th century landmark, and even booked a room with a terrace. Photo at the top of this post shows the penthouse terrace at The Beekman Hotel—ours was a little smaller. (Photo courtesy of thebeekman.com) The Beekman interiors have an old-world charm, with plenty of details that make you stop and notice. The rooms are charming, with a hint of nostalgia for the 1920s. We appreciated the freestanding wardrobe, thick bathrobes, and C.O. Bigelow toiletries.
While the comfortable rooms beg for a cozy night in, make sure to visit The Bar Room. The Bar Room is part of The Temple Court lounge, a spacious room and restaurant at the very bottom of the atrium. This is where you can enjoy a cocktail or two as you sit back and linger in plush velvet seats marveling at the view. You can choose to have dinner at Temple Court, an American restaurant by Tom Colicchio; or the famous Le Gratin by Chef Daniel Boulud. If you would prefer an intimate dinner, we recommend Le Gratin as the room helps invite intimate conversation. For a more laid-back dinner option choose Temple Court, as it is the place to see and be seen. Do not miss the opportunity for a picture or two. Whatever you choose, this hotel stay will be a memorable one.
The Beekman, 123 Nassau St (betw Beekman/Ann St), Financial District
Hotel Chelsea might have grown up, offering luxurious accommodations, soaking tubs, and the best martinis in the city, but its artistic spirit endures. To fans of music and literature The Chelsea needs no introduction. Patti Smith even dedicated a chapter to it in her book Just Kids. Built between 1883 and 1885 the historical hotel and residence has seen lots of famous guests over the years, like Janis Joplin, Andy Warhol, Madonna, Neon Leon, Bob Dylan, Mark Twain, Jack Kerouac, but also non-famous guests like the 1912 Titanic survivors. The hotel’s distinctive Victorian style red brick facade features iron balconies, and can be seen in movies and shows, but it is the real life stories that happened here that make this place exciting. For many years it was home and a place of respite to all types of artists looking to create, and party with like-minded souls. It is no wonder that in 1966 the building was deemed a historical landmark. Parts of the hotel are still occupied by long-term residents, who have plenty of stories to tell. For more interesting history on the hotel we recommend you watch Dreaming Walls, a 2022 documentary about the legendary guests and residents that continue to live here. Photo above: Blondie at The Chelsea. (Photography via Morrison Hotel Gallery)
The Hotel Chelsea is so legendary that we had to be one of the first to stay here after its renovation and see the changes for ourselves. The hotel’s impeccable revamp feels modern, but walking the halls you can easily tell that careful thought went into respecting the hotel’s history. In fact, there are special nodes to the past everywhere you look. Make sure to enjoy the resident art in the lobby. The hotel’s famous restaurant, El Quijote (link to El Quijote review), kept its brown-and-white mural of Don Quixote and his windmills, and frosted glass separator. While the restaurant space did become smaller, the atmosphere here feels special and the bar is decidedly fun. If you wonder what happened to all the extra space, the hotel now offers a small private dining room and a large event space. The hotel’s Lobby bar (see photo above) is quickly becoming a popular place to come and enjoy a martini.
While we loved celebrating Hotel Chelsea’s re-birth downstairs, one of our favorite parts was taking a long bath in the soaking tub. The rooms are spacious, and combine a clean aesthetic with old-world elegance. The Chelsea also has one of the most comfortable beds we ever experienced at a hotel. Guests will appreciate room extras, like Marshall speakers, plush robes, a well-stocked mini bar, Red Flower bath essentials, rainfall shower, and antiqued brass fixtures. The inviting rooms, combined with the hotel’s artistic energy make you want to sit down and start working on your next novel. There are more hotel amenities in the works, like a spa. Since its re-opening the hotel has received a lot of buzz, and draws in a new crowd of artists, and celebrities. The impressive changes to Hotel Chelsea can be attributed to Hoteliers Ira Drukier, Richard Born and Sean MacPherson, and their director of marketing, Leo Jacob.
The Hotel Chelsea, 222 W 23rd St (betw 7th/8th Ave), Chelsea
For something a little different we recommend the TWA Hotel. Fans of the jet age should not miss the opportunity to stay here. The sixties-era style hotel is unlike anything else in the city, or the world. The TWA Hotel is located right at the JFK Airport, inside the original 1962 terminal. Many come here just before or after their flight, or to escape to an era when travel was a lot more glamorous. When it comes to the mod hotel interiors no detail goes unnoticed. New York–based architecture firm, Beyer Blinder Belle, is responsible for returning The Sunken Lounge to its original 1962 design, complete with its historic chili pepper red carpet.
Once you check you will find that there is plenty to see and do. Choose from five Mad Men style dining options, each with their own charming interior and menu. Our favorites, The Paris Café by Jean-Georges and the Connie Cocktail Lounge, will help make your stay feel like you traveled back in time. Connie is a famous 1958 airplane transformed into a bar and lounge. It can easily get one the list of one of the most unique bars in the world. To enter you step onto the tarmac and enter a plane with a historic, but checkered past—the plane used to be an Alaskan bush plane shuttling supplies to Prudhoe Bay and a marijuana dropper after retiring from TWA! Drinking a martini here (order the Vodka is My Co-Pilot) feels like a surreal experience. Photo above shows The Paris Café by Jean-Georges Vongerichten. (Photography Courtesy of TWA Hotel/David Mitchell)
TWA rooms have views of the airport runway and the TWA historic building. All rooms include a wooden mini bar with clever retro drinks, a rotary phone, blackout curtains, old Hollywood–inspired vanity, and mid-century style furniture. TWA-branding can be seen on all hotel essentials and make for a great souvenir. To ensure you have fun outside of your room, the hotel provides guests with access to a heated rooftop pool (yes, it has a bar), an interactive Sixties living room that is ideal for a fun retro photo shoot, a tour of the TWA museum and a re-creation of Howard Hughes’s office, and a curling rink. This is aviation nerd heaven, and the kind of place where you dress up in your favorite vintage finds without anyone batting an eyelash.
TWA Hotel is accessible via car, AirTrain, or directly from the arrivals level of the terminal, and is directly across the jet blue terminal. While this hotel is a very convenient, and glamorous, stopover for travellers, it is also a special place to hold your next party.
TWA Hotel, John F. Kennedy International Airport, One, JFK Access Road, Idlewild Dr, Queens
Nine Orchard Hotel
Known for its glamorous but unpretentious atmosphere, Nine Orchard on the Lower East Side attracts both locals and curious travelers. Since its opening in spring of 2022, the hotel has captured the attention of top fashion and interior design publications. If you prefer a boutique hotel over large hotel chains this is the right place for you. Housed inside yet another historical landmark the hotel feels timeless, and sophisticated, ensuring you have a romantic experience. We love stopping in for a drink in The Swan Room. This is where you can truly appreciate the architecture, which remained from the former Jarmulowsky Bank. The building was built in 1912, and was designed by architects William Lawrence Rouse and Lafayette A. Goldstone. Make sure to notice the intricate details in the lobby as well.
Among the hotel offerings are three culinary options, Corner Bar, Amado Grill and The Swan Room, led by the Michelin star chef Ignacio Mattos of Manhattan’s Estela, Altro Paradiso, and Lodi. The comfortable rooms look much simpler than the downstairs offerings, but feel warm, providing guests with that home away from home feeling. The hotel’s spacious rooms include extras like Ojas speakers with a curated music program, Takamichi beauty products, plush robes, and views of downtown. All you have to do is relax and enjoy the space.
The service at Nine Orchard is one of the best we ever experience, no details goes unnoticed. With its cool downtown attitude, and old New York look, Nine Orchard exudes realness. Staying here will help you experience the city like a local. Photo above shows the Terrace Suite and its spectacular view.
Photos via nineorchard.com
Nine Orchard, 9 Orchard St (betw Canal/Division St), Lower East Side