You may have gazed wistfully at the 45-foot-long pool while wedged into someone’s armpit at the crowded public bar. Book a night’s stay here, and you’ll be the one on a personal lounger. On some nights, the wraparound terrace bar becomes a deejayed outdoor party with a glittering Manhattan backdrop—and no matter how crowded it gets, there’s no hassle at the door for hotel guests. Counteract the damage with a Core Fusion barre class ($20)—a workout incorporating ballet, yoga and Pilates—in the Exhale spa, a candlelit sanctuary that contains soaking pools for relaxing tired muscles. Rates start at $345.
Many NYC hotels have exclusive terraces or gardens, but only one boasts access to the city’s most storied private outdoor space: Gramercy Park. Staff will accompany guests to the walled two-acre patch, which was modeled on a London square from the 1830s, and unlock the gate. You can linger for as long as you like, just call the front desk to be let out. The hotel’s interior resembles a baronial manor occupied by a rock star, with rustic wooden beams and a roaring fire in the lobby (to take the edge off the AC on all but the hottest days); a $65 million art collection, including works by Richard Prince and Damien Hirst, and a whole room dedicated to Andy Warhol; and studded velvet headboards and mahogany drink cabinets in the bedrooms. Get a taste of the Eternal City in the restaurant, Maialino, Danny Meyer’s tribute to Roman trattorias. And after 10pm at the Rose Bar, you either need a reservation or have to be a guest. Rates start at $455.
The design inspiration at this Tribeca retreat, co-owned by Robert De Niro, is as international as the clientele: Individually decorated rooms combine custom-made English leather seating, Tibetan rugs and gorgeous Moroccan- or Carrara-marble-tiled bathrooms, most outfitted with capacious tubs that fill up in a minute flat (bath salts from Nolita spa Red Flower are provided). Breaststroke meditatively beneath the frame of a 250-year-old Kyoto farmhouse in the Shibui Spa’s underground pool, then unwind with a bottle of wine by the water’s edge. For dinner, there’s no need to rub shoulders with the masses at the always-mobbed house restaurant, Locanda Verde. Have dishes delivered to the cloistered courtyard, where travertine floors and terra-cotta pots evoke a Florentine villa. Rates start at $525.
Entering this hotel is like passing through a portal to the first arrondissement. Jacques Garcia, designer of Paris celeb hangout Hôtel Costes, transformed the interior of a 1903 New York office building into this convincing facsimile of a grand hotel in the City of Light. Sip cocktails in the stately library, then sample the already-iconic roasted chicken with foie gras and truffles ($79 for two) at one of the most lusted-after tables in town. The titular restaurant is booked about a month ahead, but a few tables are set aside for hotel guests—put in your request when making a reservation. The chic rooms, furnished with vintage Heriz rugs and distressed-leather armchairs, are more personal—Garcia based the design on his old Paris apartment. Many quarters feature freestanding claw-foot tubs; take a luxurious soak with aromatic Côté Bastide bath salts. Rates start at $395.
Members of this British-born network of 11 clubs enjoy a slew of perks, and for the price of a room, so can you. Chief among them is the freshly revamped roof deck, which feels more Montauk than Meatpacking District, with a clapboard-beach-shack bar. Spend an afternoon perched on a cushion-strewn banquette, lunching and reclining by the pool in the company of swimsuit-clad models, actors, and movers and shakers. (Don’t be tempted to take any snaps, though: Photography is strictly forbidden in the public spaces.) Get a bespoke pummeling (60mins $125) in the Cowshed Spa, a diminutive version of the rural original at posh Babington House in Somerset, U.K. Time it right and you can catch a screening of a flick (most recently, Spiderman and Transformers) in the 44-seat cinema. Rates start at $530.