City Club Hotel
Stylish and compact, this former members-only club is a well-designed secret among midtown hotels. The 65 smallish rooms have combed-plaster walls, chocolate-marble showers, and Honduran mahogany accents; TV's placed behind two-way mirrors are clever space-savers. The common areas are similarly petite; next to the small lobby (enlivened by a scrawly monochromatic canvas by Richard Giglio), the "business center" is basically just a desk and a computer. And while the hotel doesn't have a fitness room, all guests get free access to the New York Sports Club down the street. (Preloaded iPod loaners are available if you need motivation to get on the treadmill.) The top (ninth) floor, once the club's ballroom, now features three grand duplex suites with Palladian windows and 20-foot ceilings.
Tip: Under no circumstances should you leave without trying the $29 DB Burger at the ground-floor DB Bistro Moderne—Daniel Boulud's decadent combination of short ribs, truffles, and foie gras.
Room to Book: The 185-square-foot Petite Rooms are a bargain at $295, and the reservations staffers will give you a free upgrade if they can—which is about 50 percent of the time. Queen rooms ending in –07 have tubs; three queens on the ninth floor have balconies.
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.