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New York City hotels

New York's hotel scene leaves travelers as spoiled for choice as they are in every other aspect of life here. The myriad hotel options range from super-swank to shoebox, and everything in between. While key luxury markers like service, amenities, and views are world-class, sleeping in the city that never sleeps also involves curbing your expectations, at least when it comes to size: At 325 square feet, the average New York hotel room is substantially smaller than what you'll find in other cities.

Manhattan hotels tend to fall into two different camps. In one corner, there are the establishment, Louis XVI-furniture-and-gilt joints on which this city built its reputation—the Peninsula, the Plaza, the St. Regis. In the other is the new guard: intimate, clubby hideaways like the Gramercy Park Hotel and the Library Hotel.

Lodging in New York may be notoriously hard on the hip pocket (the average hotel-room price is $320, but good luck getting that), yet there still are bargains out there, like Greenwich Village's Abingdon Guest House. Fancy more of the pied-è-terre experience? Urban Living (www.urbanliving-ny.com), an agency that specializes in vacation rentals in New York City, can set you up in a furnished one-bedroom apartment in Chelsea for around $240 a night.

Manhattan is very much a series of villages, with scenes to match: The higher-end, more traditional hotels tend to be clustered around Midtown and Central Park, while below 14th Street you'll find more fashion-forward accommodation. If you plan to spend every night dive-hopping downtown, opt for a buzzy newcomer like the Crosby Street Hotel, or Bowery Hotel. If high-end shopping and Broadway shows are your scene, stick to Midtown. But don't let ZIP code be your only guiding principle: Manhattan is compact, eminently walkable, and stocked with enough cabs to make location a minor concern.

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Mandarin Oriental, New York, Midtown West

On the 35th through 54th floors of the Time Warner complex on Columbus Circle, the Mandarin Oriental New York competes with the Four Seasons across town as the...more

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The Lowell, Upper East Side

Clubby and intimate—only 23 rooms and 47 suites—with the tiniest of lobbies, this is the hotel of choice for VIPs who want to drop out of sight. Built...more

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London NYC, Midtown West

When the 562-room London NYC opened in late 2006, the news that the restaurant was to be headed by Hell's Kitchen antihero Gordon Ramsay upstaged the news about...more

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Library Hotel, Midtown East

The concept sounds gimmicky—the 60 rooms are first categorized according to the Dewey Decimal system by subject (Literature, Arts, Math and Science, and...more

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The Lafayette House, East Village

New York luxury hotels often fail to deliver the greatest of New York luxuries: downtime. Lobbies can feel so sceney you need a stylist, and restaurants so...more

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Jumeirah Essex House, Midtown West

Dubai-based hotel group Jumeirah spent $90 million renovating the Essex House hotel on Central Park South after acquiring this Art Deco dowager in 2006. But...more

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The Jane Hotel, West Village

Superlative set design meets the golden age of travel at the Jane Hotel, a 159-room former SRO for sailors (with a few residents still remaining; look for the...more

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The James, Soho

An artsy crowd favors the Manhattan sister of Chicago's James (Hot List 2007). The hotel fills an 18-story raw-concrete tower that dwarfs the low-slung...more

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Inn at Irving Place, Gramercy

More country than town, the two 1834 brownstones near Gramercy Park at East 17th Street that house this 12-room inn are all 19th-century charm. Each room, along...more

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Hôtel Plaza Athénée, Upper East Side

The quintessential Upper East Side residential nest, this collection of 149 rooms and suites is decorated with Asian and European silks, framed prints, and...more

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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