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The Upper East Side, NYC is where the elite resides in huge townhouses and storied mansions. Wealth and class define the area that many celebrities call home. It’s possibly one of the best places for celebrity sightings. Since the area is largely residential you won’t find too many hotels here. However, many of the best hotels in the Upper East Side, NYC stand proudly in the tony residential neighborhood. Not surprisingly some of the hotels this side of town also stand out as the best hotels in Manhattan.
Besides celebrity sightings and the glitzy veneer, the Upper East Side is a huge draw for its high-end shopping on Madison Avenue. You won’t find many big tourist attractions here but what you will find is Museum Mile where some of the best museums in New York City sit. Whether its the Metropolitan Museum of Art or the Guggenheim Museum, art aficionados and history buffs are sure to enjoy a day out on the Upper East Side.
If you’re looking for a cozy but elegant accommodation far from the bustling crowds, The Franklin is one of your best options. This historic hotel in operation since 1931, definitely stands out in the smaller category as one of the best hotels in Upper East Side. It’s only a 50-room property but one that has retained much of its original charm. The hotel is located on one of the busier stretches of the Upper East Side although the area, in general, is much quieter than the rest of Manhattan. You’ll find plenty of restaurants, bars, and stores close to the hotel. Many museums of the Upper East Side are also easily accessible from here. Besides, three subway lines also stop about a block and a half from the hotel at 86th and Lexington.
The guest rooms are quite compact but that’s because the new owners were keen on retaining the original structure. Though the rooms are small, they’re cozy and stylish with crystal chandeliers, dark wood furniture, and vintage fashion photography. Rooms also have standard amenities such as a flat-screen TV, iHome alarm clock, toiletries, and a few items that you would find in a minibar.
One of the best features of the hotel is the free buffet breakfast and a wine and cheese reception every evening. Guests also enjoy free WiFi in all the rooms. The hotel does not have an onsite gym but guests get complimentary day passes to two New York Sports Clubs. Large families may feel that the rooms are a bit too small.
Courtyard New York
Though the Courtyard New York is far from the regular tourist sights it’s one of the best hotels in Upper East Side for those looking for a quiet stay. The hotel sees a larger footfall of healthcare professionals as there are quite a few hospitals in the vicinity. However, for leisure travelers who are familiar with New York, it’s a good place to base yourself. Central Park is within walking distance from here as are the Carl Schultz Park and Gracie Mansion. To get to other parts of the city, the six train and crosstown bus are not too far away.
Renovations in 2013 and 2014 gave the Courtyard a better look. The red and green decor of the guest rooms was replaced with a more tasteful palette. If you’re lucky you may get a room with a good view of the skyline or the East River. Since the hotel sees a large business clientele you’ll find the rooms suitable outfitted with modern amenities. The bathrooms may seem a little cramped but contain all the essentials.
A large fitness center beneath the lobby with a sauna/steam room, a few meeting rooms, and a small market near the front desk are the other amenities offered by the hotel.
One of the reasons why the Lowell Hotel sits high up in the rankings of best hotels in the Upper East Side, NYC is the impeccable service and beautifully decorated rooms. This high-end boutique hotel located on a tree-lined street is just a block from Central Park. The designer boutiques along Madison Avenue and the museums are a short walk from here.
Wood-burning fireplaces and full stocked kitchens characterize most of the elegantly designed rooms at the Lowell. You’ll even find furnished terraces attached to some rooms, which is a rarity in New York City. The spacious rooms have a host of modern amenities to add to guests’ comfort.
For its small size, the hotel packs quite a punch with its extra perks. An American restaurant renowned for its afternoon tea service brings in some regular patrons. You’ll also find a fitness center on the second floor with a wide array of high-end machines.
Enjoying an enviable location at the intersection of Midtown and Upper East Side, directly opposite Central Park is another of Manhattan’s historical landmarks, the iconic Pierre Hotel. The hotel’s great location puts guests in close proximity to many top-class destinations. Guests also have easy access to public transportation with numerous subway lines nearby.
The US flagship of the India-based luxury Taj group was built in the 1920s with a tribute to Neoclassical Georgian design and a nod to Indian heritage. Renowned for its great hospitality, The Pierre also has the distinction of being one of the few remaining New York hotels with lift attendants. Featuring traditional decor, the 714 rooms at the hotel combine Indian touches and old-world charm. The suites are huge and resemble lavish old-world New York apartments. Prices soar with each level that you climb.
With a hotel of this caliber, you can expect to find some top-class amenities outside the room too such as the fine-dining restaurant, Perrine, which is popular with the Uptown crowd. There’s also the historic Rotunda which offers light evening fare and cocktail service. A 24-hour fitness center, 1500 capacity Grand Ballroom, and other luxurious meeting spaces add to the charm of staying at The Pierre.
Gardens Suites by Affinia
Families will probably love the spaciousness of the Gardens Suites by Affinia. The reason why the rooms here are so spacious is that the hotel used to be a former apartment complex. Although the hotel isn’t close to any main attractions other than Central Park which is 10 minutes on foot, the neighborhood is quiet and peaceful. Madison and Fifth Avenues are also easily accessible from here. There are some kid-friendly attractions such as the Central Park Zoo and Dylan’s Candy Bar not too far away. It’s also an easy walk to the subways from the hotel. The hotel sees a large footfall of guests visiting the two major hospitals in the area.
Large contemporary suites make this one of the best hotels in Upper East Side NYC for families. There is a wide range of suites to choose from ranging from different sizes to extra features like terraces and patios. It’s a good option for people looking for long term accommodation as the suites are well equipped for a comfortable stay. Fully equipped kitchens feature gas stoves, pots and pans, and other kitchen necessities. The bathrooms are all stocked with quality toiletries. Besides a small gym and bike rental, you won’t find much else here. There is no onsite restaurant but room service from nearby restaurants is possible.
For someone looking for a quiet, affordable option, The Marmara is one of the best hotels in Upper East Side, NYC in the affordable segment. Although the hotel is quite far removed from the touristy spots it’s just four blocks from the 6 subway line and about 10 blocks to the other express lines. Central Park is a 10-minute walk from the hotel whereas the Empire State Building is about half an hour by taxi. There are a few low key restaurants in the area though.
Most of the rooms are either studios or one and two-bedroom apartments with full kitchens. The rooms are clean and comfortable as are the bathrooms. Some rooms even come with attached balconies. If you’re in a mood to dip right into your wallet then the Penthouse will definitely wow you with its wraparound deck and deep tub that looks out on the skyline. Other than a fitness center, there’s not much else to look forward to at the Marmara.
Hotel Plaza Athenee
With its look and feel of a luxury townhouse, the Hotel Plaza Athenee is a popular stopover for socialites and celebrities. The hotel exudes luxury with its Beaux-Arts design and attention to detail making it stand out as one of the best hotels in Upper East Side NYC. Its location in a quiet tony section of the Upper East Side area puts you close to museums, shopping, and Central Park, which is just a block away. A leisurely 14-minute walk will take you to St. Patrick’s Cathedral whereas the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) is a little further away. The F subway line is just two blocks from the hotel too, making it easy to access other points of the city.
The hotel stands out among the neighboring brownstone mansions with its bright red-domed awnings. Guest rooms feature classic European decor that has a stamp of luxury written all over. Not surprisingly, you can look forward to some top-notch amenities in the rooms. Some rooms also have terraces or glass-enclosed solariums that provide expansive views of the city. Soaking tubs, rain showers, and complimentary toiletries are part of the ensuite bathrooms.
The hotel is also big on other amenities such as the Spa Valmont that offers Asian inspired treatments and Valmont Cosmetics. There’s also a well-equipped fitness center with various cardio and weight machines, stretch bands, and yoga mats. Guests can avail of private yoga or pilates sessions for an extra fee. Apart from the workout area, the hotel also has two dining outlets, Bar Seine which offers a delectable fusion of styles inspired by Asian, Moroccan, and European design elements and the Arabelle with its contemporary American cuisine.
Another of New York’s historic hotels that offers a touch of classic elegance with class is the Sherry Netherland. The hotel which opened in 1927 as the largest apartment building in the world, now stands out as one of the best hotels in Upper East Side NYC. Sitting on Fifth Avenue across from Central Park, the hotel is a great base for exploring all that the Upper East Side has to offer, especially the high-end shopping. While you’ll find some pricey restaurants in the area there’s no nightlife to speak of.
Guests can look forward to large rooms and some great service at the Sherry Netherland. White gloved elevator operators, handwoven French carpets, and a vaulted lobby complete with crystal chandeliers give the hotel its outstanding character. The 100 units of the hotel are divided into four types that generally differ in the view and the brightness of the room. Each room has its own unique decor with non-working fireplaces, great amenities, and a few antique pieces. The huge bathrooms also reflect the historical style of the hotel.
There’s a small but well-equipped fitness center in the basement, an on-site barbershop, and hairdresser plus concierge services. The hotel’s acclaimed restaurant Harry Cipriani is almost an exact copy of the original Harry’s Bar in Venice. Serving classic Venetian food and Cipriani’s signature Bellini cocktail, the restaurant attracts quite a crowd.
Global Luxury Suites, at the Pearl
On a quiet street on the Upper East Side, you’ll find the towering Pearl which houses the Global Luxury Suites. The building is conveniently placed from all local bus and subway lines. It’s also at a convenient distance from Central Park and Rockefeller Center.
The recently constructed glass and limestone building stand out in the area. Although this is not a regular hotel, you’ll find a few amenities such as a 24-hr fitness center and a full-time concierge plus a laundry facility in the basement. The apartment is spacious with a fully equipped kitchen, featuring granite countertops, a living area, and a big bedroom. It also has a flat-screen TV and DVD player units in some rooms. For families looking for affordable spacious accommodation, the tastefully furnished Global Luxury Suites is a good option.
One of the hotels on the Upper East Side that is frequented by the political and financial elite is the Loews Regency. Though the location may not be ideal for those wanting to be close to the tourist hotspots of Midtown, the hotel is great for power shoppers. Madison Avenue with its high-end shops and boutiques is just a block away. Sitting on one of the most expensive streets in the United States, the area is easily recognizable from the grass median on a broad tree-lined boulevard.
A $100 million facelift completed in 2014 gave the hotel a fillip to the top of the best hotels in Upper East Side NYC. In operation for over 50 years, the hotel has seen the likes of Elizabeth Taylor and other Hollywood stars walk through its doors. Today however you’re more likely to see a business tycoon or the Police Commissioner than a Hollywood Star here. Guest rooms are characterized by big windows, artwork above the beds, and thoughtful extras. Not all bathrooms have shower/tub combos as some are outfitted with walk-in showers.
There is a lot of attention to detail at the hotel, from catering to pets and keeping children entertained. Age-appropriate toys and activities are arranged for children staying at the hotel. Head to the Regency Bar & Grill if you want to rub shoulders with the city’s elite. This New York City institution is known for its ‘Power Breakfasts’ which often see the power brokers and financiers grabbing a bite before they head off for the day’s business. The hotel also has a fitness center and an on-site salon.
Historic hotels dot a large part of Manhattan’s landscape and The Mark, built in 1927, is just another of them. The hotel has constantly made it to the top of the rankings of the best hotels in Upper East Side NYC, which is no mean feat given its location. Sitting right in the heart of the Upper East Side neighborhood, you’re in close proximity to Central Park and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Public transportation is a bit limited with only one subway station nearby.
You’re greeted by the hotel’s signature scent, Jurassic Flower, when you walk through the entrance signaling your entry into a posh space. Although the hotel has always stood out for its elegance, it became the subject of the gossip mills during the infamous spat between celebrities Jonny Depp and Kate Moss in 1994. However, apart from the occasional celebrity many of the hotel’s clientele are business people. There are a wide variety of guest rooms to choose from, ranging from regular guest rooms to studios, and multi-room suites. The largest of the suites is a massive five-bedroom space. Not surprisingly, all guest rooms are tastefully designed with great attention to detail. Ensuite bathrooms are also bright and tasteful with deep soaking tubs and monogrammed towels.
There are not many on-site features for a property of this caliber. However, there are plenty of luxe extras and partnerships especially tailored for guests. You can enjoy various meals including a late-night menu at the hotel’s restaurant. Additionally, guests can also pre-order a picnic basket to take to Central Park. Surprisingly, the hotel also has special offers for children. There are free custom strollers for children, slumber parties complete with tents, yummy snacks, and tours for the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Apart from these amenities, guests can also burn some calories at the extensive gym or get pampered at the Frederic Fekkai Salon on the second story.
Recommended Restaurants / Bars in Upper East Side:
- DANIEL – One of the best French restaurants on this side of town, DANIEL is renowned for its refined European cuisine and fantastic hospitality. Chef/Owner Daniel Boulud is one of New York City’s top French chefs so you know what to expect when you walk through the doors.
- The Penrose – When it comes to pulsating nightlife, the Upper East Side is sorely lacking. However, The Penrose in the heart of the Upper East Side is one of the best bars in the area notable for their draft beers and great snacks.
Recommended Activities In Upper East Side:
- Horse Carriage Ride – Hop into a horse-drawn carriage to soak in the sights of Central Park, Rockefeller & Times Square on a one-hour sightseeing tour.
- Museum Mile – If visiting museums is your thing, you’ll enjoy walking down Museum Mile which begins on 82nd Street and continues till the 104th Street. 10 different museums are part of the area. If you happen to be in town during the Museum Mile Festival you get to visit all these museums for free.