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Hotel Belleclaire
Photograph: Courtesy Hotel Belleclaire

The best Upper West Side hotels

For culture, cuisine, and Central Park access, you can’t go wrong with a stay at the best Upper West Side hotels

Written by
Emily Benson-Scott
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This tree-lined, affluent, and residential neighborhood between Central Park and the Hudson River, book-ended by Lincoln Center and Columbia University, is still known as Manhattan’s cultural and intellectual mecca. At a hotel stay here, you just might encounter some of NYC’s cultural elite—from famous musicians to visiting professors. Not to mention you are in proximity to some of the best Manhattan restaurants and New York attractions.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best hotels in NYC

Best Upper West Side hotels

Mandarin Oriental New York
  • Hotels
  • Chain hotels
  • Hell's Kitchen
  • price 4 of 4

Only in a city teeming with skyscrapers, do you find a lobby high enough to induce vertigo. As you exit the elevator and enter the 35th-floor lobby of this beyond opulent hotel, the ethereal glass centerpiece “Crystal Cranes,” by sculptor Chihuly Dale, makes you feel like you just might be airborne. You’ll want to linger a while to admire the bird’s-eye view of Columbus Circle and Central Park through floor-to-ceiling glass windows in the elegant Lobby Lounge while sipping a classic holiday cocktail like the cinnamon cranberry whiskey sour. If you still haven’t managed to unwind, indulge in some of the Asian-themed treatments at the hotel’s world-class spa where you can enjoy the same formidable skyline views. Since this hotel sits on top of the Time Warner Center, you can shop till you drop and then dine at some of NYC’s finest restaurants like PerSe and Masa.

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  • Hotels
  • Boutique hotels
  • Upper West Side
  • price 3 of 4

One of the few hotels with a rooftop pool, and with a role in Sex and the City 2, this sultry hotel with a candle-lit lobby is literally right across the street from Lincoln Center.  Even if you prefer Carrie Bradshaw to Renée Fleming, you’ll have no excuse not to visit the epicenter of highbrow culture. You’ll want to fortify yourself before a lengthy opera at the Met or performance of the New York Philharmonic with a signature cocktail in the seductive and soothing Lobby Lounge warmed by earth tones and adorned with splashes of animal print. Chow down on seafood at Ed’s Chowder House, or maybe even go for a steak at P.J. Clarke’s down the street. After an elegant evening out at the opera, ballet, or symphony, you can look forward to returning to this classy intimate hotel and maybe even head up to the gorgeous rooftop bar for a nightcap and one last unforgettable glimpse of the Manhattan skyline.

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NYLO New York City
  • Hotels
  • Boutique hotels
  • Upper West Side
  • price 2 of 4

This stylish hotel with its seamless blend of art deco and industrial chic decor still manages to maintain that cozy casual neighborhood vibe. Tourists mingle with Upper West Side locals who come to enjoy the dimly lit ambience of the hotel’s 1920’s inspired bar, library and piano lounge. Many of the loft-inspired rooms have balconies, and terraces on the 14th and 16th floors offer sweeping views of the Hudson, Central Park, and Midtown that just might render you speechless. You won’t go hungry either with three restaurants to choose from, including the popular Northern Italian trattoria Serafina, and RedFarm- a hip Chinese dim sum spot. For small bites and cocktails, try the lobby bar LOCL with jazz era libations like the decadent “bubbles and pink” made with with Croft Pink Port, Prosecco Champagne, Cointreau and bitters.

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  • Hotels
  • Boutique hotels
  • Upper West Side
  • price 3 of 4

Far from the madding crowd of Midtown Manhattan, this regal, flawlessly restored Brownstone hotel lures you into its relaxed embrace through its Baroque red terra-cotta entrance. The plush comfortable beds in these classically styled rooms will lull you to sleep in no time. While removed from most of the action, kids will love that it’s a stone’s throw from the Natural History Museum. Guests can enjoy a discount at adjoining Nice Matin, the bustling French bistro with creative riffs on Riviera dishes like delicious swiss chard socca.

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  • Hotels
  • Upper West Side
  • price 2 of 4

The roaring fireplace in the library of this traditional hotel makes it a perfect spot to warm up in wintertime while classical music and books continue the theme of cultural enrichment after a long day of museum hopping. This traditional, modestly opulent hotel features family-friendly suites and residential-style rooms with kitchenettes complete with a microwave, dining room table and mini-fridge. The strictly classical decor has been updated to inconspicuously include flat screen TVs and white duvets.

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Hotel Belleclaire
  • Hotels
  • Boutique hotels
  • Upper West Side
  • price 2 of 4

This historic 1903 property with original mosaic tiling in the lobby and a quaint coffee bar has a distinctly European vibe. Mark Twain and Babe Ruth both stayed here as guests, and if you want to be surrounded by memorabilia reminiscent of these famous denizens, you can stay in one of the hotel’s themed suites. Not only will you find free coffee and pastries in the morning but also a free New York Times, and better yet, free WiFi throughout the entire hotel.

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Hotel Beacon
  • Hotels
  • Boutique hotels
  • Upper West Side
  • price 2 of 4

There is something about staying on the Upper West Side that makes you feel more like a local than a tourist. This may be especially true at Hotel Beacon, with its spacious residential rooms featuring kitchenettes which include a fridge, microwave and stovetop. Fairway is right across the street, so you’ll have access to some gourmet groceries to prepare at your home away from home. Book a room above the 23rd floor, and you’re likely to have killer views of the Hudson River. It’s hard to beat this hotel for proximity to entertainment. Take in a concert at the famous Beacon Theatre next door, or stop in the hotel’s elegant Beacon Bar for live piano music.

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Marrakech Hotel
  • Hotels
  • Boutique hotels
  • Upper West Side
  • price 1 of 4

At this vibrant hotel steeped in sultry Moroccan-inspired decor, you will feel like you just landed in Morocco for the night. This decidedly non-touristy hotel on the northern outskirts of the Upper West Side and close to Columbia University features rich jewel-hued interiors, a cocktail lounge from Sookk Thai, and an unusually beautiful and exotic lobby. It lacks some amenities, such as a fitness center, but since this 127-room walk-up hotel has no elevator, you won’t necessarily be craving cardio. And if you are, it’s only a ten minute walk to Central Park.

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