Upper East Side, New York City
A marriage of art and elegance
What it is
An Upper East Side hotel with a contemporary twist.
What it isn't
Suitable for youngsters, unless they're the foie gras and Dover sole type.
What we think
The exterior may be classic prewar with Art Deco touches, but one look at the lobby of the Surrey—with its enormous black-and-white portrait of Kate Moss by Chuck Close—and you'll know this isn't your typical Upper East Side hotel. A 2009 redesign by Lauren Rottet added contemporary verve to the historic 1926 property, where Bette Davis and Claudette Colbert were once guests. Some elements (an art collection that includes Jenny Holzer, Jimmie Martin and William Kentridge) work better than others (lines of poetry stitched into the upholstery). But the overall effect lightens the mood without diminishing the uptown polish. Service is attentive and discreet, and luxury touches in the 189 rooms include Duxiana beds, Sferra linens and gloriously fragrant Diptyque bath products. The restaurant, the superb Café Boulud, also provides 24-hour room service. And this Surrey has a fringe on top: a fabulous 17th-floor private rooftop garden with panoramic city views (open in warm weather only).
You're here because
You're like the glamorous daughter of an old-line Manhattan family: fun and fearless, but respectful of tradition.
The waiter sets down your Champagne cocktail at your black-and-white banquette at Bar Pleiades, notices your Chanel bag on the table and says "Bravo." The bar's Art Deco design, he explains, was inspired by none other than Coco Chanel herself.
Restaurants & Bars
Café Boulud - French, Chef Daniel Boulud, 1 Michelin star
Private Rooftop Garden
Madison Avenue on the Upper East Side, a block from Central Park.