The Peninsula New York
Of the same vintage as the neighboring St. Regis (both hotels were built between 1904 and 1905), the Peninsula has retained its decorative Beaux-Arts façade—but inside, old-world grandeur meets streamlined modernity. A crystal chandelier dangles in the lobby, illuminating dark-cherry and Carpathian-elm burl woodwork with Art Nouveau carvings; Oriental carpets are spread over white marble floors. The 239 rooms feature sleek chaises, Roman shades, lacquered armoires, mahogany headboards, and goose-feather duvets—as well as high-tech touches like bathroom flat-screen TV's (might as well keep up with the financial news while you're soaking in the tub). Afternoon tea service in the Gotham Lounge is a characteristically civilized affair, while the rooftop bar, formerly known as the Pen-Top, is one of the city's hottest spots for a drink.
Tip: The spa will be closed until Fall 2008, when it will be rebord as The Peninsula Spa by ESPA.
Room to Book: The spacious Deluxe Luxe suites, which overlook the bustle of Fifth Avenue.
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.