Ritz-Carlton New York, Battery Park
Set at the southern tip of Manhattan, this Ritz may be the only hotel in the city where you'll wake to the morning cries of seagulls. The 39-story tower's location is either a huge selling point or an inconvenience, depending on your point of view: although it's set far from most of the city's main attractions, it's also set far from crowds, and the natural light that floods through the windows—reflected off the waters of the Hudson—is of a quality you won't find elsewhere here. These simpler pleasures—light, quiet, views of the Statue of Liberty and passing ships—are the real reasons to stay here; the customary Ritz-Carlton crystal-and-marble formality isn't much in evidence. The 298 lemon-yellow and sea-green rooms—all with Frette linens and Bulgari bath products—start at a spacious 425 square feet; those with harbor views have window telescopes. Abstract works by New York artists hang on walls throughout the hotel, while gently curving hallways and Art Deco touches allude to the cruise liners that once called at the adjoining harbor.
Tip: Don't feel like leaving the premises? The terrace at the 14th-floor Rise Bar is a summer hotspot, especially between 6 and 8 pm.
Room to Book: Liberty Suites, on the –17 line, which have stupendous south-facing views of New York Harbor.
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.