Unlike a large, more corporate-feeling hotel, a boutique hotel specializes in treating guests to a customized, intimate experience. In the Central Park area of New York City, this one-on-one level of service fits in handily with the region's reputation for luxury and opulence. Although numerous grand hotels dot the Central Park area, several highly regarded boutique hotels also merit a highly regarded four-star status.
The St. Regis
A 2010 AAA Four Diamond hotel, the St. Regis is located near Central Park in the middle of the Fifth Avenue luxury shopping district. With 164 rooms and 65 suites, the New York City landmark building holds a moderately-sized grand hotel that centers on a personalized, butlered experience. The St. Regis isn't a super-trendy boutique experience; instead, expect antique furnishings and historical trappings that have been around for a long time. The King Cole Bar has a huge Maxfield Parrish work behind the bar, and the Astor Court is known for its classic afternoon tea service. For someone looking for a high-class NYC hotel stay packed with culture, the St. Regis is a good chocie.
Hotel Plaza Athenee
The 2010 AAA Four Diamond Hotel Plaza Athenee is the place for those who like the posh and ornate. While the brightly painted lobby can seem jarring on the senses, the rooms are much more muted and restful in appearance. Offering only 142 rooms and suites, the Plaza Athenee centers its image on a relaxing experience for the customer. On-site yoga classes and family-friendly features like toys and connecting rooms make it convenient to bring kids and still have fun. Guests can also partake of daily afternoon tea and dining at the hotel's Bar Seine.
The Mark Hotel
Honored with a Four Golden Key rating by Gayot, the Mark Hotel is a trendy, artsy hotel that also holds a Jean-Georges restaurant of the same name. The avant-garde design combines modernist art with warm wood tones and comfy furnishings; rooms come with remote controlled curtains, electronics and climate. Unlike many high-end New York City hotels, the Mark offers complimentary Internet service, a perk for business travelers. The Mark also has afternoon tea in two different modes, Savory or Sweet, mimicking the traditional afternoon and high teas of England.
The most traditional hotel of the bunch, the Blakely attempts to replicate the atmosphere of an English library. The Blakely, another Gayot Four Golden Key-rated hotel, has rooms ranging in size from deluxe to a 525-square-foot one-bedroom suite; and all come with amenities like free computer use, full kitchenette and luxe Italian bathrobes. The in-house Ristorante Abboccato serves Italian cuisine and also provides room service. Like the Mark, the Blakely is a suitable option for those who need longer-term accommodations, especially since each room contains a kitchenette and all the necessary trappings for daily life.
- carriage in central park image by Christine Dhanraj from Fotolia.com