Gramercy Park Hotel
When design partners Ian Schrager and Julian Schnabel unveiled their reimagined, ultraswanky Gramercy in winter 2006, it brought modern glamour back to this once-famous, 1925-era hotel that had been on its last legs. The 185 rooms—done up in Raphaelite tones of jade, claret, and sapphire blue—have chairs and ottomans upholstered in thick velvet, studded leather hope chests, and heavy drapes. Many have decent views across the park, and all are enlivened by funky metal light fixtures and bold wall art (much of it black-and-white photography from the Magnum agency archives). Art looms large in the common areas too; the checkerboard-tiled lobby, where rough-hewn wooden columns support a 20-foot ceiling, and the adjacent Rose and Jade bars double as galleries for paintings by Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Cy Twombly. And all guests are allowed entry to the exclusive, quiet, privately keyed Gramercy Park, just outside.
Tip: Don't assume that just because you're a hotel guest, you'll automatically get in the door at the two superchic in-house bars. To get past the doormen, you'll need to call and make a reservation as soon as you check into your room.
Room to Book: One-bedroom suites are worth spending a little more for; although Superior rooms are just as plushly outfitted, they're less than half the size (250 square feet).
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.