Your New York City bucket list isn’t complete unless you’ve checked out these coolest New York City hotels to stay in before you die. Hotels are most often regarded as temporary tourist lodging in cities that aren’t their own. But then there’s NYC – a cornucopia of hip and legendary hotels that offer so much more than beds and minibars, they’re destinations in and of themselves. And if you’re making a Manhattan staycation of it, why not treat yourself to the best Manhattan restaurants? Or the best Broadway shows? In NYC, we know how to make every second count, and since native New Yorkers refuse to miss out on noteworthy experiences, we’ve curated a list of must-stay-in-before-you-die (or move to Westchester) hotels – ranging from trendy to historic, relaxing to splurge-worthy.
RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best hotels in NYC.
Coolest hotels to stay in before you die
It’s exciting that there’s always something new popping up in NYC – yet that’s also what makes this iconic hotel that much more alluring.
Best reason to stay there for New Yorkers: High tea.
For over a century, Palm Court in The Plaza has remained New York’s premiere destination for afternoon tea. And thanks to a renovation in 2013, tea isn't the only thing on the menu. An oval grand bar serving expertly crafted cocktails all day is now in the center of it all, amongst lush flora, lofty palm trees, and trellis and cane details which take inspiration from Central Park (The Plaza’s backyard).
This former hat factory and Prohibition era tearoom-turned-luxury hotel is dripping with fashionable history. Featuring industrial-chic décor from bottom to top.
Best reason to stay there for New Yorkers: Drinks at the Rooftop.
An impressive list of innovative handcrafted cocktails comes with a lively crowd and breathtaking views of the Manhattan skyline and Empire State Building. The roof’s vibe is casual yet chic; rustic yet refined, if you will. And you can sip there year-round, as there’s a retractable roof, indoor seating, and an outdoor terrace.
This 'designer luxury' hotel is a favorite stay among the fashion and film industries, so it’s no surprise the venue’s stylishly sexy vibe infiltrates its on-premise nightlife.
Best reason to stay there for New Yorkers: Clubbing at Cellar Bar.
Residents of the city that never sleeps love a solid late night club scene – especially when said club is underground and attended by Victoria’s Secret models. So put on your stilettos and head to Midtown’s (yes, Midtown!) Cellar Bar, a cavernously chic, gothic-style lounge located in the Bryant Park Hotel. Bottle service starts at 10pm and goes all night, and is served with music from NYC’s top DJs.
Dream is in a fab location. Just around the corner from Chelsea Market, a block from the High Line and a stone’s throw from the Meatpacking District. This hotel is everywhere you want to be.
Best reason to stay there for New Yorkers: Swim at the rooftop pool.
While many NYC hotels don’t open their pools to non-guests, the dazzling-yet-inclusive Dream Downtown invites you to indulge in a sumptuous beach day at their 5,000 sq ft roof deck oasis (day passes are $65). Bury your toes in the white sand beach, soak up the sun from a chaise longue or one of two private cabanas equipped with flat screen TVs (and a masseuse if you book ahead).
Futuristic, space-age style in Hell's Kitchen, which also hints at what to expect when dining in their Mediterranean-inspired Green Fig restaurant.
Best reason to stay there for New Yorkers: Brunch.
Brunch is a New Yorker’s rite of passage. And if your favorite flavor includes poached eggs, watermelon bellinis, and a side of daytime debauchery, Yotel is the definition of #brunchgoals. For $40 you can enjoy two hours of unlimited eating and drinking every weekend (11am-4pm). But make no mistake, this is quite the animated affair – we’re talking DJs, costumed dancers and large communal tables.
This internationally acclaimed business traveler’s paradise has five stars for a reason: the scene, the service and the spa.
Best reason to stay there for New Yorkers: Spa day.
Relaxing doesn’t come easy to New Yorkers, but you shouldn't struggle with this utterly serene award-winning spa spread over two luxurious floors, with highly trained therapists and panoramic (silent) views of Central Park through floor-to-ceiling windows. Situated in (but more so above) Columbus Circle, the Mandarin Oriental’s day spa is a calming respite in the midst of the concrete jungle.
Crosby Street’s Kit Kemp-owned-and-designed icon is as inviting as it is acclaimed, welcoming guests with both an air of refinement and a splash of unexpected color.
Best reason to stay there for New Yorkers: Catch a flick.
When the multiplex’s soda-drenched floors are cramping your style, make your way to the quaint cobblestone streets of SoHo for a 'reel' experience. The Crosby Street Hotel runs a film club in their luxe, state-of-the-art cinema, which is open to hotel guests and the public. The evening begins with a three-course dinner or a cocktail and bar plate, followed by an 8pm showing of the movie of the week. Check out upcoming flicks here.
Floating above the iconic High Line, The Standard’s 338 rooms all boast a modern-minimalist vibe with soaring floor-to-ceiling windows and rain showers.
Best reason to stay there for New Yorkers: Indulge in a staycation.
New Yorkers love irony as much as they love a grand experience, and since The Standard is anything but, trading your Murray Hill studio for a weekend 'away' in this landmark is a must. Play ping-pong in the lively German Biergarten; peruse the outdoor art; head up to Le Bain and its adjoining 35-foot rooftop bar – complete with a 'grass' surface, DJ, and plunge pool.
The Nomad Group's boutique hotel offers simply lovely Scandi style in the heart of Manhattan. Plus views to die for, best admired through their floor-to-ceiling windows.
Best reason to stay there for New Yorkers: Reward for good behavior.
Behind the hotel's unassuming wood-panelled exterior is Good Behavior. This is their eighteenth-floor bar, which serves up Tiki-inspired cocktails (and craft beer) with panoramic views of the capital. There are seats indoors and out, with lush plants everywhere, so it really doesn't matter where you choose to sit, because there's a great vibe all round.
Make reservations here to experience sumptuous decor, impeccable views and exquisite dining in the heart of the Lower East Side.
Best reason to stay there for New Yorkers: For a slap-up French meal.
The Ludlow's restaurant, Dirty French, has a decisively friendly-but-firm New York City vibe and serves up buttery meals of substance. Gorgeously plated tuna tartare, tender pork chops and delicious sea bass and wine pairings followed by the Opera peanut butter and chocolate cake – topped with dreamy banana ice cream – should satisfy any foodie worth their weight in 'sel'.
This stalwart of the New York hotel scene is still as classic and elegant today as the day it first opened in 1930.
Best reason to stay there for New Yorkers: To take a trip back in time.
The Rotunda on the ground level is the room that The Pierre is most well-known for. The curved walls and grandiose murals, painted by Edward Melcarth in 1976, make the room feel like it was plucked straight from a rococo fairytale setting. It was newly renovated by Daniel Romualdez to include a full bar and light snacks in the afternoon and evening.