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New York City is a sensory overload. So thank goodness for Central Park, an oasis in Manhattan where locals and visitors escape the bustling sidewalks to wander amongst the greenery, picnic, or perch on a bench to watch life unfold. Staying near Central Park is a good decision when in NYC. You can start your day with a coffee and bagel there before sightseeing, or stretch out on the grass after a long day of exploring. Here, our favorite hotels within a stone’s throw (almost) of Central Park.
Best Overall: 1 Hotel Central Park
Gone are the days when staying at a hotel in New York meant cramped quarters with a view of a brick wall. 1 Hotel Central Park is light-filled and has nature-inspired interiors, as well as a prime location just one block south of Central Park. Many of the 229 rooms not only have views over the park, but comfortable window benches so you can curl up and take in the treetop panorama. Organic sheets, furniture made from reclaimed wood and in-room yoga mats add to the zen atmosphere. 1 Hotel boasts uber-modern touches, including an in-room app where you can order room service or choose what time you’d like housekeeping to come as well as complimentary Tesla rides anywhere within 15 blocks of the hotel (on a first come, first served basis). Whether visiting for work or leisure, you’ll want to hang in the second-floor communal area which offers plenty of seating (and fast Wi-Fi) and eat at Jams, the modern-American restaurant by James Beard awarded chef Jonathan Waxman.
Best Budget: NYLO Hotel
For good value, forget Midtown or Lower Manhattan. At NYLO Hotel on the Upper West Side — where the nightly rate starts at a reasonable (for NYC) $200, you’re a 10-minute walk to Central Park and the American Museum of Natural History. The rooms are a normal size for Manhattan (the smallest — the Standard Queen — is 240 feet) and are modern, clean and bright. Book a room with a terrace for a private balcony with views over the Hudson or the leafy surrounding neighborhood. Speaking of the neighborhood, you’ll love the laidback vibe with local-filled restaurants and bars (Times Square is fun, but it can get old really quick). NYLO Hotel is just two blocks to the 79th Street Subway Station where you can hop on the 1 and 2 trains to Times Square, Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn. On-site eatery LOCL Bar is open from 3pm daily serving small plates, wines, beers and cocktails in a casual setting.
Best Boutique: The Whitby
The Whitby Hotel has 86 rooms over 16 floors but feels like a much, much smaller hotel. The rooms and communal spaces were dreamt up by interior designer Kit Kemp, each one individual, colorful and thoughtfully arranged for good feng shui. Every room has floor-to-ceiling windows to let the light in, while some have deep-soaking tubs and private terraces (rooms on the top floors offer Manhattan skyline views). The Whitby is part of the Firmdale Hotels group, which has properties in NYC and London, so there are some charming English touches like an Afternoon Tea of cucumber sandwiches, hot tea, scones and British sweets. The drawing room — with a large collection of books and a fireplace — feels straight out of Downtown Abbey. The bright and airy Whitby Bar & Restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch, dinner or you can swing by for a couple of drinks. The hotel offers a 130-seat screening room, spa and fully equipped gym. But why hit the treadmill when The Whitby is just three blocks from Central Park?
Best for Families: The Plaza Hotel
It’s hard to imagine a better setting for a family vacation to the Big Apple than The Plaza Hotel. The iconic property — which has been one of America’s most celebrated hotels since it opened its doors in 1907 — was made famous by Kevin McAllister’s hijinks in Home Alone 2 and Eloise, the beloved children’s book character. The Plaza embraces its history as a magical place for children: Kid-size bathrobes and bicycles are available, there’s an Eloise-themed teatime menu at The Palm Court restaurant and in-room services include pizza parties and babysitting. The rooms at The Plaza pay homage to a bygone era with gold fittings and classic decoration. The 550-square-foot Deluxe Double Queen is perfect for families offering ample room to spread out. On top of all that, The Plaza has an unbeatable location directly opposite Central Park and is within easy reach of the American Museum of Natural History and more.
Best for Romance: The St. Regis New York
The St. Regis — housed in a landmark Fifth Avenue building four blocks from Central Park — was made for lovers. For more than a century, it’s been a glamorous destination where New York’s elite sip champagne in the King Cole Bar. Plush guest rooms scream refined opulence with chandeliers, silk and rich hues. The hotel prides itself on attention to detail: a 24-hour butler service offers coffee and tea at check-in, garment pressing and packing services. Some of New York’s most romantic destinations are also right at the hotel's doorstep. The Museum of Modern Art, LOVE Sculpture, Rockefeller Center, Bergdorf Goodman and Tiffany & Co. are all less than a 10-minute walk away. Some not-to-be-missed romantic dining experiences are also in the neighborhood. You'll find The Monkey Bar, one of New York’s most iconic restaurants, and Le Bernardin, the three-Michelin-star French seafood eatery with an elegant dining room by chef Eric Ripert, are truly worth a reservation.
Best for Luxury: The Mark Hotel
A favorite of visiting celebrities, The Mark Hotel is tucked away on a historic Upper East Side block — just one street back from Central Park. Stepping into the lobby of the 1927 building, its art-deco beginnings blend seamlessly with modern, avant-garde updates like the bold black-and-white striped floor. The chic, elegant rooms are also seriously tech-savvy, with heated towel racks, a mirrored flat-screen TV in the bathroom (what could be more luxurious than catching up on Netflix while soaking in the marble tub?), complimentary high-speed Wi-Fi and a control panel to easily adjust temperature, lighting and entertainment. The Mark takes in-room service seriously; you can order room service from the on-site Jean-Gorges restaurant and on the first night of your stay you’ll find treats from the famous Ladurée bakery on your pillow. Other perks include the option to ride one of the hotel’s signature bicycles into Central Park and enjoy a picnic prepared by Jean-Gorges, and the on-site Frederic Fekkai hair salon to ensure you look your best while in NYC.
Best for Business: JW Marriott Essex House New York
At the upscale, recently renovated JW Marriott Essex House, directly opposite Central Park, you can start a day of business and meetings with a walk or run through Manhattan’s biggest green space. And if you book a Central Park View room or Central Park Deluxe Suite, you can wake up to a view of the treetops. The modern and refined guest rooms maintain some art-deco touches while being truly contemporary, offering plush bedding, marble bathrooms, internet TV and ergonomic workstations. You can also have a productive work session in the exclusive Executive Lounge, which promises a comfortable, distraction-free space with coffee, tea and snacks, fast Wi-Fi and a daily buffet breakfast (and an honor bar in the evening for when the working day is done). A state-of-the-art gym, luxurious spa and modern-American restaurant, SOUTHGATE make for a seamless and enjoyable stay in NYC.
Best View: The Pierre, A Taj Hotel
Rising 44 floors above Fifth Avenue, The Pierre has astonished guests with spectacular views over Central Park since it opened in 1930. Many rooms offer a dizzying panorama over the treetops that makes you feel as if you are floating above the park. Despite a $100 million upgrade in 2007, The Pierre has retained much of its rich history. In The Rotunda, a unique oval dining room with walls covered in exquisite Renaissance murals painted in the 1960s, guests can enjoy an afternoon tea of pastries and champagne or dinner in the evening. The rooms are luxurious but understated, with high ceilings and Turkish marble bathrooms. Walking through the grand, elegant lobby, or pulling up a stool at the Two E lobby bar, it’s easy to imagine bumping into Elizabeth Taylor, Cary Grant or Katharine Hepburn, who all lived at The Pierre and enjoyed that incredible view at one time or another.
Best Hostel: HI NYC
In New York, a city where you could feasibly blow your life savings by lunchtime, there’s no shame in spending less on accommodation so you have more funds for fun. Just two blocks from Central Park on the Upper West Side, HI NYC is a large, clean hostel offering dorm-style accommodation, including male-only and female-only rooms. Communal areas include a large outdoor space in the warmer months, a bright, modern indoor area, a guest kitchen and a laundry room. Perks include free Wi-Fi, charging stations, linens and lockers. Booking a premium bed also gets you complimentary breakfast. HI NYC is all about getting to know the city like a local, and the hostel offers a range of free daily walking tours and itinerary planning. HI NYC is close to Harlem and Columbia University, and there’s a subway station nearby for your adventures in lower Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens.