New York City just might be the most famous city on the planet.
Filled to the brim with world-renowned landmarks, culture, restaurants, and unlimited opportunities for entertainment, visitors from around the world come to stay in New York City by the millions.
And when they stay many of them dream of spending at least a night or two in some of the most famous hotels in NYC.
The hotels we highlight below are true landmarks of the city, the kinds of hotels that have featured prominently in movies, TV shows, and music. Not just gorgeous pieces of architecture and beautiful accommodations, they are cultural touchstones, too.
The Plaza Hotel
No list of the most famous hotels in New York City would be complete without including The Plaza Hotel.
Perhaps the most authentic classic of all the legendary New York City hotels, The Plaza first opened up for business back in 1907. Business luminaries, politicians, celebrities, artists, and writers from around the world have called The Plaza home for at least a night – and many continue to do so still today!
Designated as an official city landmark in 1969, stepping into The Plaza feels like stepping into a time machine. Many recognize the interior of The Plaza from movies like North by Northwest and Home Alone, but those that get to stay and experience the hospitality of this hotel are always left awestruck.
Some of the amenities visitors enjoy include a full, 24 hour concierge, a dedicated fitness center and well appointed spa, a business center, full laundry and dry cleaning, and some of the best views New York City has to offer.
The St. Regis Hotel
The St. Regis Hotel is another legendary classic of the New York City hotel landscape.
Built by John Jacob Astor IV and opening just three years before The Plaza, the St. Regis Hotel shares a look and aesthetic with that hotel that helps to really bind them together. Legendary guests of the St. Regis include people like John Lennon, Salvador Dali, and Marlene Dietrich. Even James Bond spent some time at the St. Regis in Live and Let Die!
This hotel is rumored to be the originator of the Bloody Mary cocktail, made for the very first time in the King Cole Bar on the grounds. If you get a chance to visit, be sure to enjoy one while you soak in the gorgeous classic architecture, chandeliers, and marble appointments.
The Waldorf Astoria
The Waldorf Astoria started off its life as separate hotels located on Fifth Avenue, hotels built by relatives in the middle of a blood feud. Later on these hotels were combined with one another (creating the Waldorf Astoria we know today), another of the most legendary hotels in NYC.
Because of its age (these buildings go all the way back to 1893) the Waldorf has been renovated and rebuilt a number of times, including just somewhat recently. The classic style, architecture, and appointments within haven’t changed a bit, though.
This is still New York City luxury through and through!
Many believe that the concept of the “Presidential Suite” started in the Waldorf Astoria when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt spent a night in the hotel. Since then everyone of America’s presidents have spent at least one night in one of the 26 suites that carry this moniker!
Built back in 1924, located near Grand Central Station, The Roosevelt is sometimes lost in the shuffle amongst legendary New York City hotels.
At least until recently, anyway.
Hollywood has featured this hotel pretty prominently of late, making The Roosevelt a central part of movies like Wall Street, Maid in Manhattan, and the most recent Men and Black movie.
The small screen has zoomed in on The Roosevelt as well. The Golden Age of Television blockbuster hit Mad Men has storylines that regularly feature this hotel. If you aren’t going to be staying at the hotel named after our 26th President of the United States (Theodore Roosevelt), at least head up to the rooftop bar and have an old-fashioned.
The Ritz Carlton New York
This hotel is somewhat smaller than some of the other landmarks on this list (rising just 33 floors above Central Park) but is one of the most iconic buildings in the city to be sure.
Built by Swiss hotelier Caesar Ritz, this hotel first opened up for business in 1911 and has had some of the most exclusive and luxurious accommodations right from day one. Known for their discretion and for their legendary concierge teams, getting a room at The Ritz can be a bit of a challenge.
That’s not just because of the overwhelming popularity of this iconic hotel, but also because of the fact that there are only 259 rooms and suites here. If you want to know what old world luxury was really like, and what high-end hotel accommodations during America’s prime were like, a stay at The Ritz is the only way to go.
Obviously this list of the most famous hotels in New York City is somewhat incomplete, but only because there are so many different legendary accommodations within the city limits.
If you’re going to be visiting the city, though, and only have time to investigate a handful of these buildings – and maybe only time to stay in one or two of them – these are the hotels you’ll want to focus on.
Each of these hotels have their own unique atmosphere and aesthetic, their own energy and their own memories. Walking through their entrances is like stepping into another world, the kind of world that can only be found in the “center of the universe” that is New York City.
Be sure to take plenty of pictures, even if the memory of a stay at any of these hotels are guaranteed to last a lifetime (and then some).
You’ll want to share the experience with as many other people as possible. There’s nothing like time spent in legendary hotels like these in NYC!