The Midtown Guide
Save for the theater district, this slice of Manhattan island has historically been associated with office buildings, salad bars, and little else: When you ask most New Yorkers where to get a great lunch or after-work drink, you’re met with blank stares. We’ve rounded up the best of the best, including a lot of great new arrivals, as the neighborhood has been enjoying a renaissance of sorts. Here, our favorites for everything from a quick lunch to the perfect last-minute gift.
Mandarin Oriental NYC80 Columbus Circle, Upper West Side | 212.805.8800
Towering over Central Park in the Time Warner Center building, the Mandarin Oriental's location is within striking distance of Fifth Avenue, Broadway, and Lincoln Center. That's all overshadowed by the view. The décor is typical of the Mandarin's modern, Asian-inflected style, the spa is excellent, and there's a pretty insane 75-foot lap pool.
The St. Regis2 E. 55th St., Midtown | 212.753.4500
While it's a historic classic (it was built in 1907), New York's St. Regis received a 90 million dollar renovation in 2013. It's still as luxe and old-world as ever: The historic King Cole Bar, and the library—assembled by the hotel's original owner John Jacob Astor, which houses more than 3,000 vintage leather-bound books—are as wonderful as ever. The service here is famously excellent: Each guest is assigned a tails-wearing butler to attend to any special requests.
The Peninsula700 5th Ave., Midtown | 212.956.2888
Every outpost of the Peninsula—Hong Kong, Paris, Los Angeles—delivers the same service and attention to detail (and, in New York, those Savoir beds). Their Manhattan hotel, located in a gorgeous old beaux-arts building that was first built in 1905 and opened as The Gotham, has 200 rooms, each decorated simply and luxuriously. The onsite concierge is available 24 hours a day and even organizes personalized tours of the city.
The Ritz-Carlton Central Park50 Central Park S., Midtown | 212.308.9100
The Ritz actually has two outposts in Manhattan, including one at the tip of Battery Park which offers stunning views of the Statue of Liberty. The outpost in Midtown is classic New York, with all the amenities you'd expect (amazing beds, beautiful bathrooms), though what really sets this location apart is the luxe spa, La Prairie.
Park Hyatt New York153 W. 57th St., Midtown | 646.774.1234
In a neighborhood that's primarily serviced by grand, historic hotels, the just-opened Park Hyatt offers an experience that's very modern. The Christian de Portzamparc-designed skyscraper, One 57, sits directly across from Carnegie Hall and offers some of the biggest rooms, square-footage-wise, in the city. Meanwhile, the contemporary interiors by design firm Yabu Pushelberg strike the perfect balance between modernism and comfort. Bonus: the 13,000-square foot Spa Nalai, which is divided into a fitness room, 65-foot lap pool, and six sleek suites offering everything from treatments on a sand quartz bed (the only one of it’s kind in NYC) to cupping.
The Royalton44 W. 44th St., Midtown | 212.869.4400
Although first built in 1898, the Royalton didn't burst onto the scene really until 1988, when Ian Schrager and Philippe Starck made it one of their projects and decked it out with daring, experimental design that drew a very trendy crowd. In 2007, the hotel underwent its first renovation since Starck's initial vision, with a redesign led by goop favorites Roman & Williams; the dark, moody lobby epitomizes their signature warm, modern style. Meanwhile, the rooms upstairs (larger ones have actual wood-burning fireplaces in the winter) are crisp and light, with white bedding and mirrored bathroom tiles. If you're staying in Midtown but need to be south of all the grand dames off Central Park, it's a great pick.
The Four Seasons New York57 E. 57th St., Midtown | 212.758.5700
Completed in 1993, the I.M. Pei-designed Four Seasons building was one of the most iconic additions to the New York skyline in the '90s; at 54 stories, it's also one of the tallest hotels in the city. Despite its location just steps from Madison Avenue in the most bustling part of Midtown, it feels like a quiet reprieve. If you're feeling baller, inquire about the Ty Warner penthouse on the top floor.
1 Hotel Central Park1414 6th Ave, New York, NY 10019 | 212.703.2001
We’ve been fans of the 1 Hotel group since it first set up shop in Miami; New York quickly followed with two locations—one near Central Park and the other on a stretch of rapidly changing Brooklyn Heights waterfront. Blurring the line between luxury and sustainability, every corner of the space is considered in terms of design, from the locally made tables to the greenery and reclaimed wood walls. The rooms are minimal but comfortable, outfitted with hemp-blend mattresses and organic cotton sheets. Another major draw is the food: Chef Jonathan Waxman’s beloved NYC establishment Jams was reprised here, and he hands down serves one of the city’s best kale salads and squid ink rigatoni.
Made Hotel44 West 29th St., Flatiron | 212.213.4429
Tucked away on an unassuming side street in the Flatiron district, Made is right in the thick of Manhattan’s gorgeous sprawl, showcased beautifully via floor-to-ceiling windows in all 108 rooms. Inside, exposed bronze-shelving with a sleek, industrial-ish vibe plays off the beds’ colorful, hand-woven headboards; the bathrooms have hand-painted Japanese tiles and deep limestone sinks. Good Behavior, the hot-house rooftop bar, is filled with plants, many hanging whimsically from the ceiling. Sipping on a Toki Toddy (Japanese whisky mixed with turmeric tea and pressed ginger) and lounging on one of the sofas (indoors or outdoors, depending on the weather) surrounded by the hazy glow of towering buildings is as New York as it gets: the view is epic. Paper, the coffee bar in the lobby serves dynamite coffee, lattes, and tea, pastries, and come dusk, excellent cocktails; the Lobby Bar specializes in small plates, and Ferris is the hotel’s sleek, subterranean delight of a restaurant.
The Whitby Hotel18 West 56th Street., Midtown | 212.586.5656
In the past few years, Midtown has undergone a subtle evolution from the land of corporate offices and tourists to a neighborhood New Yorkers actually want to hang out in. It’s all thanks to a smattering of stylish new cafés, restaurants, and hotels. The Whitby, which opened last spring, has been a big part of the revival. The property is part of British-based Firmdale Hotels (the brand’s downtown Crosby Street Hotel is a fashion-world favorite) and displays founder and designer Kit Kemp’s signature aesthetic—bright, boldly patterned fabrics; floor-to-ceiling windows; colorful floral headboards and wallpaper; and tasteful, contemporary artwork everywhere. Fittingly for a hotel with roots in the UK, afternoon tea is a major draw, and this one offers a selection of gluten- and dairy-free options.
The Chatwal130 W. 44th St., Midtown | 212.764.6200
In its former life as the home to America's first professional theatrical club, the Lambs, this Midtown hotel was a hangout for the entertainment world’s brightest stars, like Irving Berlin and Fred Astaire, to name a couple. Today, it’s The Chatwal, a Luxury Collection Hotel—one of Manhattan’s under-the-radar gems, where its relatively small size (just seventy-six guest rooms) makes it a good choice for visitors who are turned off by the busyness of the megahotels nearby. The interior is an ode to its Art Deco history, which has the delightful feel of a glamorous ocean liner, and we love the fun little details (like backgammon sets, playing cards, and copies of The Great Gatsby) in the rooms.