Gramercy Park Hotel, New York City, New York $$$$
Concierge.com's insider take:
Artist Julian Schnabel oversaw the Gramercy Park Hotel's more-is-more decor when Ian Schrager took over (Schrager has since moved on to other projects). Schnabel's choices are heavy, even brooding, and decidedly Old World: studded Spanish hope chests; tapestry-covered, tasseled chairs; red velvet drapes; quilted velvet headboards. The lobby is dominated by black and white Moroccan tiles in a checkerboard pattern, an impressive coffered ceiling, and a massive crystal chandelier. The overall look sounds severe, but it's leavened by lighter touches (Jean Prouvé–inspired lamps, archival photographs) and by a fantastic art collection, including huge pieces by Twombly, Warhol, Basquiat, Hirst, and Schnabel himself. The 185 rooms are painted in one of three palettes—jade green, powder blue, or pale red—and have overstuffed furniture, windows that open partway, and generally good views. Spring for a larger one, such as the 950-square-foot Gramercy suites: The smaller "superior" rooms are just large enough to pace in and can be overwhelmed by all that red velvet. Service is efficient to only occasionally officious. So, does it all warrant the minimum $500-something-a-night tariff? That partly depends on if you're willing to pay to be with the in crowd. The door policy at the Rose and Jade bars is heavily enforced, though not surly, and even hotel guests need a reservation after 9 pm. The upsides are that the spaces are never overflowing, and the Rose Bar is inviting with its fireplace and a red-felt pool table (free).
From the editors of Condé Nast Traveler:
This 1925 landmark, whose bohemian sumptuousness had frayed in recent years, has been reanimated by hotelier Ian Schrager, who, with Julian Schnabel as his collaborator, buffed the old-school grandeur to a sheen and added canvases by Schnabel, Cy Twombly, and Jean-Michel Basquiat in the lobby. From the leather-topped dining tables to the artful splashes of color, the 185 guest rooms are mini versions of the ultrafabulous public areas. Aloof service often accompanies such chic, but the appropriately beautiful staff are eager and unassuming. The Rose Bar, with its original latticed wood-beam ceiling, becomes a velvet-rope nightspot after ten o'clock. A bonus: Guests can get a key to the private Gramercy Park.2007 Hot List
When to go: No matter the season, Manhattan has plenty of vittles for every palate.
Which room to book: Third-floor Deluxe Lofts offer perfect park views.
Amenities: 24-hour Room Service, Bar/lounge, Gym, SpaSubscribe now to Condé Nast Traveler for just $1 an issue! ›