Whether built by American royalty (namely the Astors and the Hearsts) or by immigrants pursuing the American Dream like Charles Pierre, their shared dedication to excellence in hospitality serve as the foundation to NYC’s premier hotels. Besides impeccable hospitality taken as a given at all of these establishments, each of these hotel are renowned for its originality. Visit these hotels for murals, the birthplace of world famous cocktails and the storied haunts of aristocrats, presidents, industrialists and Hollywood stars.
The Pierre: The philosophy of excellence in hospitality Charles Pierre learned while working at his father’s Monte Carlo hotel, apprenticing at Sherry’s and establishing Pierre’s Park Avenue restaurant as the favorite haunt of NYC high society still lives on at the Pierre. Occupying the site of the former Elbridge T. Gerry mansion, the French chateau inspired hotel dominates the Upper East Side and its place in NYC history as the gold standard in hospitality.
The Jane Hotel
The Jane: Enjoy a slice of NYC nautical history at the former American Seaman’s Friend Society Sailors Home and Institute. Resembling its sister building, the Ellis Island immigration station, this warm brick hotel by William A. Boring housed Titanic survivors in its rooms which ironically were designed to resemble cabins aboard a ship.
Waldorf Astoria: Borne of an Astor family feud, one relocation from the current site of the Empire State Building and 120 years later, the Waldorf continues to rank amongst the finest hotels in the world. The first hotel to introduce room service, this Art Deco piece of NYC history continues to lead in the hospitality industry.
Algonquin Hotel: We previously featured the Algonquin in a profile of its resident cat, Matilda. Long a cultural and literary hub of NYC since its opening in 1902, the Algonquin has hosted Nobel laureates and the first unaccompanied single women guests allowed to lodge at hotels. Designated as a NYC landmark in 1987 and as a literary landmark in 1996, this hotel’s literary legacy is matched by impeccable service.
St. Regis: Suitably named after the patron saint of travelers, St. Regis was built by John Jacob Astor IV in 1904 as the tallest NYC hotel in the most exclusive residential area. Noted for its opulent interior and furnishings from the Old World by its aristocratic, royal, entertainment and politician guests since the opening, this “home away from home” continues to cater to the most discerning travelers. One of the highlights of the hotel is the King Cole Bar where the Bloody Mary was invented.
The Warwick: Publishing tycoon William Randolph Hearst built the hotel as a love nest for him and his mistress actress Marion Davies and as a place to host his Hollywood friends who frequented the Ziegfield Theater across the street. Built for Hollywood and with an impressive guest list with the the likes of Elvis Presley, Elizabeth Taylor and the Beatles the Warwick is without a doubt one of the most star-studded hotels in NYC. A unique feature of the hotel is the Murals on 54 restaurant based around a series of murals by Dean Cornwell in 1937 depicting Sir Walter Raleigh and the lost colony at Roanoke.
Bemelman’s Bar at the Carlyle Hotel
The Carlyle: One of the first to lead the way in the interwar trend for residential hotels, the Carlyle was dubbed one of the first skyscraper communities. Also called the New York White House, President John F. Kennedy maintained a residence in the Carlyle and used a network of tunnels under the hotel and famously rendezvoused with Marilyn Monroe. The Bemelmans Bar in the hotel features murals by Ludwig Bemelman (creator of the children’s book series Madeline) that depict the four seasons in Central Park and continues to delight the socialites, politicians, entertainers and tourists who frequent the bar.