The Carlyle, A Rosewood Hotel
A stylish classic, the Carlyle gets all the details right—from the chessboard floors and (still-working!) mail chutes to the new Empire Suite, a cashmere-walled, $15,000-a-night duplex designed by Thierry Despont and curated by the Metropolitan Museum of Art. A haven for presidents and blue bloods since 1930, the Carlyle has a pedigreed past, to say the least; it's easy to imagine Jackie Kennedy and Audrey Hepburn bumping into one another at lunch—oh wait, they did. Each of the 187 surpassingly tasteful rooms is unique, but many feature Louis XVI-style furnishings and black-marble bathrooms courtesy of decorator Alexandra Champalimaud, who recently revamped the –05 line. Audubon prints and hardwood floors throughout the hotel are original; cocktails at Bemelmans (with murals by the author of the Madeline children's books) and cabaret at the recently spiffed-up Café Carlyle are two nonpareil experiences of uptown nightlife. In September 2008, the hotel will unveil a new spa.
Tip: Hang out in the lobby to spot someone famous—but don't expect the famously discreet staff to tip you off.
Room to Book: For Art Deco enthusiasts, Suite 509; for Anglophiles, Mark Hampton-decorated Corner Premier Rooms.
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.