February 5, 2023

New York City’s Hotel Scene Is More Glamorous Than Ever

The other new hotels of 2022 may not have the Chelsea’s artistic cachet, but they…

New York City’s Hotel Scene Is More Glamorous Than Ever

The other new hotels of 2022 may not have the Chelsea’s artistic cachet, but they are windows back onto golden ages of the past: It is pleasant to think of 19th-century robber barons like J. P. Morgan and assorted Rockefellers dashing from their offices in the building that houses the new Wall Street Hotel for a steak at Delmonico’s. Even The Ned NoMad, occupying the space that Zobler’s landmark did before it fell to COVID-19, carries on its predecessor’s social spirit.

But it is the social life of New York hotels that provides the most powerful sense of continuity. One of the charming elements of staying in the Hotel Chelsea is that some 40 long-term tenants still live there. When I stayed overnight a few months ago, I ended up at a party in the apartment of a photographer acquaintance who had resided there since the 1990s and had decorated every inch of his rooms with brilliant colors and Italian religious icons. I recall talking to a gentleman dressed as a pirate, filmmakers, and burlesque dancers before staggering back to my room after the impromptu staging of a piece of performance art at 3 a.m. Like the city around it, the Chelsea has changed, but the energy remains the same.

Drinks at La Marchande, in The Wall Street Hotel

The Wall Street Hotel

The elegant interiors of La Marchande

The Wall Street Hotel

The Wall Street Hotel

Walk into this boutique newcomer in the Financial District and immediately you’ll notice the abundant Old New York glamour in materials like brass, velvet, and mother-of-pearl, a nod to the Beaux Arts building’s former life as the headquarters of a successful trading company. The 180-room hotel’s opening marks the latest in the evolution of Manhattan’s southern tip into a place you want to be after the workday is over. Suites have both desks and deep soaking tubs, allowing guests to finish those last few tasks before relaxing for the night. Downstairs, chic locals mingle with out-of-towners, clinking martini glasses at Lounge on Pearl and downing oysters at La Marchande. All this, plus a soon-to-open roof-top bar with river views, adds up to a definitive statement: Wall Street isn’t just business anymore. —Megan Spurrell

Aman New York

Even after stepping inside the sepia-toned foyer on 57th Street, guests have little indication they’ve arrived at Aman New York—at least until a uniformed staffer appears and quietly asks for their names. Such discretion feels surprising at first amid the splash and bang of midtown Manhattan, but it fits with the Aman ethos. The company’s ballyhooed first American city hotel, housed in the iconic Crown Building, doesn’t deviate from the formula so much as elevate it—quite literally. Belgian designer Jean-Michel Gathy has smartly leveraged the skyscraper’s verticality to deliver on Aman’s dual promises of space and tranquility—removing floors to create a double-height atrium, for example, and installing sleek gas fireplaces in every guest suite. The greatest testaments to his success are the breezy 7,000-square-foot terrace, with its sweeping common area and seating for Aman’s restaurant, Arva, and the spa, which sprawls across three floors to offer a 65-foot pool, a state-of-the-art gym, and two Spa Houses—treatment rooms outfitted with, among other pleasures, either a hammam or a banya. —Betsy Blumenthal

A claw-foot tub with views of Tribeca at Hötel Barrière Fouquet’s New York;

Joe Thomas

Nine Orchard, overlooking Canal Street

Joe Thomas

Hôtel Barrière Fouquet’s New York

The French hospitality group Lucien Barrière has quickly become renowned for addresses like Hôtel Barrière Le Fouquet’s Paris, the fantastical Jacques Garcia–designed landmark in Paris’s Golden Triangle, and Hôtel Barrière Le Carl Gustaf, a sophisticated St. Barts hideaway. Now it has turned its sights to a cobblestoned corner of Tribeca with its American debut. Inside, the wallpaper depicts expressionist park scenes and France-linked illustrations of New York City, like Lady Liberty and cartoon pigeons carrying croissants in their beaks. The street-level outpost of their famed Champs-Élysées bistro, Fouquet’s, has already become a destination in itself, slinging brasserie fare like escargots and onion soup by Michelin-starred chef Pierre Gagnaire at its signature red-and-black bar. For a lighter repast, try Par Ici Café, a lush, greenhouse-style eatery with a vegetarian focus, or the sultry guests-only Titsou cocktail bar. In the 97 residential-style rooms, designer Martin Brudnizki sought to modulate his trademark maximalism; with a palette of French lavender and mint green, antiqued gold-leaf mirrors, and deep velvet couches, the spaces feel straight out of the 16th. For the ultimate upgrade, the two-story Le Grand Appartement Terrasse includes multiple terraces, some overlooking the Hudson. —Shannon McMahon

Nine Orchard

Gritty-cool Dimes Square, Manhattan’s newly minted microneighborhood at the bottom of the Lower East Side, is a place where 20-somethings carouse, 30-somethings debate leaving, and 40-somethings fondly recall their misspent youth. It is this last group that the team behind Nine Orchard seems to have had in mind when creating this sophisticated boutique hotel in a former bank steps from the Manhattan Bridge. Since June its beautiful bar, flooded with light from the oversized windows, has been filled with a chic crowd that feels a world away from the ragtag skaters outside. The painstakingly restored vaulted ceilings are among the dozens of details that have been carefully considered in creating a hangout worthy of New York’s coolest grown-ups. Superstar Uruguayan chef Ignacio Mattos, the hotel’s exclusive food-and-beverage partner, brings his sophisticated but accessible cooking to the cozy Corner Bar, which serves up bistro classics like steak au poivre and pomme frites (don’t skip the lamb ragù). For a nightcap, hit the well-stocked bar cart that comes with each of the 116 minimal rooms, turn the radio to one of four stations designed for Nine Orchard by hot local DJs Stretch Armstrong and Devon Turnbull, and have your own dance party until you’re ready to crawl into your custom bed. —Lara Kramer

Lobby seating at The Hotel Chelsea

Joe Thomas

The historic El Quijote at The Hotel Chelsea

Joe Thomas

The Hotel Chelsea

The Chelsea, as artists like Andy Warhol called it, has a fair claim to being New York City’s most rock-and-roll hotel. But after a hard-partying run during which famous guests from Dylan Thomas to Sid Vicious got up to no good, the hotel stopped taking reservations in 2011. It finally reopened this year, with some overdue upgrades and its old spirit seemingly intact. The 155 guest rooms and suites are now bright and airy, with animal-print chairs bringing a bit of pizzazz to the original fireplaces, stained-glass windows, and those iconic wrought-iron balconies overlooking West 23rd Street. Iconic artworks by Sandro Chia and Alain Jacquet hang in the freshly painted stairways and lobby. The 92-year-old El Quijote restaurant, known for Spanish classics, is again packed nightly. The decadent Lobby Bar has added a solarium to go with the chandeliers, grand piano, and a cocktail menu loaded with drinks made famous from hotels around the world. Grab a seat, and you’re bound to bump into one of the permanent residents who live in the Chelsea’s few remaining bohemian apartments. Stick around for a story or two. —Megan Spurrell

The Ned NoMad

Five years after the landmark Ned opened in London, the brand has come to roost in New York’s NoMad district, in the building occupied for nearly a decade by the neighborhood’s namesake hotel. While The Ned NoMad isn’t as opulent as its sibling across the pond, it has similar qualities: a stylish city bolt-hole and some members’-club exclusivity (its parent company also owns Soho House). The Beaux Arts building’s interiors are pure Art Deco glam, with rich upholstery, marble floors, and warm woods. Traces of the old hotel remain in the design details at the bar and restaurant Little Ned, which serves popular American bar classics to diners in 1920s-style booth seating. The property’s 167 rooms still have their wood paneling, damask dividers, and, happily, freestanding claw-foot bathtubs. The rooftop restaurant and bar are currently available only to Ned’s Club members, but the company is betting that guests will join up. In fact, it’s counting on it: A second New York Ned is set to open in the Financial District in 2024—at a scale to rival the London location. —Arati Menon

Zaytinya, from José Andrés at The Ritz- Carlton New York, NoMad

Jason Varney

A spread at Zaytinya

Jason Varney

The Ritz-Carlton New York, NoMad

When Ritz-Carlton announced its ambition years ago to open a hotel in the NoMad neighborhood, it raised some questions: Would the brand deliver its trademark style of traditional luxury or incorporate some of the energy of the hip hotels that more than a decade ago began transforming this once anonymous neighborhood into a place with a pulse? A José Andrés restaurant serving seriously delicious branzino, a lobby with hand-blown Randy Zieber light fixtures, and an arboretum’s worth of potted plants all show that the answer lay behind door number two. Through the hotel’s outdoor plaza, passersby can spy stylish entrepreneurial types sipping old-fashioneds on the green barstools beneath a canopy of shrubbery. Upstairs, the rooms have cloudlike beds and wide windows with expansive views. In the subterranean spa, therapists give deep-scrub facials in black Italian-marble treatment rooms. It’s an indulgence straight out of the Ritz’s old playbook, but like everything else here, it fits in perfectly. —Scott Bay

This article appeared in the December 2022 issue of Condé Nast Traveler. Subscribe to the magazine here.