The Beldon-Stratford Hotel
Built in 1923 and featuring a grand, hushed lobby topped with a ceiling mural of clouds in the sky, the Belden-Stratford offers the “Eloise at the Plaza” experience without the crowds and noisy streets of a downtown hotel. Just north of the city center, the Beaux-Arts building has a mere 70 hotel rooms, all with full kitchens—the rest of the 299 spaces are leased as apartments. The standard English oak furniture, heavy drapes, and faux Oriental rugs won’t impress interior decorators, but the views of the lake across the expanse of the park more than make up for the lack of cutting-edge design.
Tip: In warmer months, the rooftop deck is the perfect place to read the morning paper.
Room to Book: Any of the rooms in the southeast tower, which come with wraparound views of both the lake and the downtown cityscape.
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.