The Maritime Hotel, New York
Like an angular white cruise ship docked along Ninth Avenue, the tall, stark Maritime, with its unique round porthole-style windows, is easily downtown's coolest-looking hotel. The nautical aesthetic is reinforced in the retro-chic lobby, with its paneled wood ceiling and low-slung, sea-green leather chairs—and also on the two expansive terraces, where the umbrella-shaded tables and cabanas evoke the lido deck. The 125 rooms continue the motif: custom-made teak furniture, modular beds with padded headboards, and fabrics in navy and bright white all contribute to the cabinlike feel (as does the small size). But claustrophobia is never a problem here. For one thing, there's those giant round windows, with views all the way east to the Hudson River; for another, there are so many fabulous galleries, nightspots, shops, and eateries just steps away, you'll be hard-pressed to spend much time inside.
Tip: Matsuri, the in-house sushi restaurant, has a lengthy and excellent sake list. If you want to try something special, though, order the Daruma—it's an exclusive blend made just for the restaurant.
Room to Book: Penthouse rooms are as spacious as the standard rooms are cozy—and have terraces with outdoor showers.
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.