As logic dictates, for the best views of Manhattan, you either need to leave the island or go up—the higher the better. From head-on vistas of Lady Liberty to eyefuls of Central Park green, New York City’s hotels, many of which reach skyscraper height, offer some of the most stunning views in the city. Nearly every penthouse suite has a great view, but which hotels can provide jaw-dropping vistas at every price point, from standard room to suite? We identify ten of the best in NYC.
When night falls and Manhattan lights up, there are few better spots to witness the magic than from your bedroom window at the Peninsula. The key benefit to the Peninsula, which rises over Fifth and 55th, is that the skyline is all around you, quite literally. Some views are about gazing off into the distance; here, it’s about being encircled by mighty Midtown and its sprawl of streets. By day, the view is superb; by night, even more so. The city streets crawl with cabs—a long, shimmering corridor of red tail lights. The view is further enhanced from the spa pool, which has floor-to-ceiling windows, and the swank rooftop Salon de Ning, where you can sip cocktails under starry sky.
Rooms with a view: Every level of accommodation features views, either in the direction of Fifth or 55th, from the Grand Luxe Room (which, despite its name, is the mid-range option) to all suites. 700 Fifth Ave., 212-956-2888. Check current rates at the Peninsula.
The advantage is obvious the moment the elevators deposit you in the lobby: the Mandarin Oriental’s first floor is the 35th floor of the Time Warner Center.
Central Park may have been created as an escape from the city, but the most iconic view is a juxtaposition of the two—the park flanked by skyscrapers. It’s this splendid vista, with Columbus Circle in the foreground, that you see from the Mandarin Oriental. The Mandarin also features multiple additional angles, including the Hudson River and the skyline sprouting north and south of Columbus Circle. The hotel has maximized its high-up perch with floor-to-ceiling windows everywhere, from the “sky lobby” that overlooks Central Park to the 14,500-square-foot spa with sweeping Hudson River vistas.
Rooms with a view: It’s hard to go wrong with views from nearly every room and suite. Rooms are named after their vistas, including the Hudson River Room, which takes in a wide sweep from the Statue of Liberty to the George Washington Bridge; the Central Park View Room; and the Skyline View Room. 80 Columbus Circle, 212-805-8800. Check current rates at the Mandarin Oriental.
The Bentley Hotel
You may find yourself humming Simon and Garfunkel’s “The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy)” as you gaze out the picture windows at the elegant Bentley Hotel. The Upper East Side is dotted with boutique hotels, but few are as close to the East River as the Bentley. Housed in a former sky-rise office building, the Bentley looms over the East River, with spot-on views of the 59th Street Bridge (also called the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge). Kick off the evening on the Bentley Rooftop, a spacious rooftop bar and restaurant, and keep an eye out for the Roosevelt Island Aerial Tram, which you’ll see suspended in air as it travels from Manhattan to Roosevelt Island.
Rooms with a view: Every level of room comes with views of the river and bridge—just make sure to ask when booking—including the Superior King and Queen. If you want a guaranteed top-notch view, go for the Deluxe King, which commands the corners of the hotel. If you’re willing to drop coin, opt for the Junior Suite, which casts its gaze over the river, the bridge and the skyline. 500 E. 62nd St., 212-644-6000. Check current rates at the Bentley Hotel.
One of many pleasures of the Pierre’s iconic Central Park and Upper East Side views is knowing how many famous folks have enjoyed them before you, from Katharine Hepburn to Liz Taylor to Gary Cooper. The Pierre is geographically blessed with a location directly across the street from Central Park, which ensures that the views are sensational, no matter what season you visit. Stand at the windows and take in the blooming trees of spring or the orange leaves of fall. The non-park-view rooms are equally inviting, with vistas of the swank Upper East Side.
Rooms with a view: A wide range of rooms feature park views, including the aptly named Park View Rooms, the Signature Rooms and the Park Suite, which directly overlooks Wollman Ice Skating Rink, so you can practically see what the skaters are wearing as they’re twirling on ice. 2 East 61st St., 212-838-8000. Check current rates at the Pierre.
The Strand Hotel
What’s missing in the view from atop the Empire State Building? The Empire State Building. For that, stay at the Strand, which has face-on views of the Empire State Building from many of its rooms and its breezy rooftop bar. The other big draw of the bar is that it’s often less packed than its high-rise cousins, which heave on summer weekends.
Rooms with a view: Nearly all of the hotel’s mid-range offerings, called the Deluxe Rooms, have views of the Empire State. You have plenty of floors to choose from, with great views from floors 10 and up. 33 West 37th St., 212-448-1024. Check current rates at the Strand Hotel.
The Standard, owned by swashbuckling hot
elier Andrew Balazs, made headlines a few years back when nearby High Line visitors reported they could see into the hotel’s non-reflective windows and witness the risqué acts of certain guests. Rather than deny or blush, the Standard proudly owned up to it. Because that’s the kind of hotel they are. The exhibitionist tales have died down, but the views are as glorious as ever. The hotel straddles the High Line, so the perk here is views that take in the elevated park and the Hudson River, with Manhattan and New Jersey looming in the distance. You can also get sweaty or tipsy while enjoying the views—the 17th-floor gym and the roof bar Le Bain, with its glass side rails, both feature serious vistas.
Rooms with a view: It’s hard to go wrong: All 338 rooms have views—choose between river or city—and floor-to-ceiling windows that actually crack open. For the best views of the High Line, opt for a north-facing room, as the park extends considerably further north of the hotel than south. Also, yes, off in the distance, small but distinct, you can see the Statue of Liberty from most river rooms. Another bonus: Many of the rooms have glass-walled bathrooms—loos with a view. 848 Washington St., 212-645-4646, standardhotels.com
Ritz-Carlton Battery Park
The Statue of Liberty rooms are equipped with telescopes. But that’s just the cherry on top. The views you can see with your bare eyes are spectacular, too, rivaling any of the boat tours that nose right up to the statue. Looking to impress a client or date? Invite them up to your room. It all comes down to the hotel’s remarkable proximity to the harbor—stand up against the massive windows and you’ll feel like you’re flying over the water.
Rooms with a view: A wide range of rooms and suites offer harbor views. Essentially, any room or suite named after the statue looks to the water, from the Statue of Liberty Room to the Liberty Suite. 2 West St., 212-344-0800, ritzcarlton.com
When Trump SoHo was under construction, rising conspicuously over low-slung SoHo, there was some controversy (no surprise, this being Trump). In SoHo, after all, skyscrapers and high-rises are refreshingly absent, and some locals wanted to keep it that way. But the hotel went up as planned—and its great advantage is precisely what caused the protest. The 46-story Trump SoHo is by a long shot the tallest building around, and it offers unobstructed views in all directions. Choose between Midtown and the Empire State Building, the Hudson River and New Jersey, the LES and SoHo, or Tribeca and downtown.
Rooms with a view: A wide range of rooms feature views, which get better the higher you go. For guaranteed views, go for a Premier Room, which start on the 30th floor. Following closely are the Deluxe Rooms, on floors 20 to 29, though ask to be placed in a room over the 26th floor. 246 Spring St., 212-842-5500. Check current rates at Trump SoHo.
Hotel on Rivington
The view from the Hotel on Rivington is much like the surrounding LES neighborhood: a mix of old and new. The modern glass hotel is, of course, a prime example of the new, looming over a cluster of historic—and much shorter—buildings, many dating from the 18th and 19th centuries. The views encompass a wide sweep of Manhattan, from peeling LES rooftops and water towers to skyscrapers glinting in the distance.
Rooms with a view: The hotel is well positioned, so many of the rooms have views, including the Double Double (floors 7 to 16); the Unique Rooms, so-named for a unique amenity, often view-related, like a north-facing balcony or shower with a view; and the High-Floor Rooms, as they’re called, on floors 9 to 20, some of which are corner rooms with balcony. 107 Rivington St., 212-475-2600, hotelonrivington.com
Z NYC Hotel
When it comes to views, this Z is the king of Queens. The Z NYC Hotel in Long Island City is perched just across the East River, a quick hop on the subway or water taxi. The hotel also offers a free shuttle between Manhattan and the hotel. All rooms have views, as does the hotel’s breezy rooftop, which looks out onto the 59th Street Bridge, draped like a sparkling necklace across river.
Rooms with a view: Each of the 100 rooms has screensaver-worthy views of the NYC skyline, punctuated by the signature Chrysler and Empire State buildings. The experience is enhanced by the room itself, which was designed to showcase the view, with floor-to-ceiling windows and nine-foot ceilings. 11-01 43rd St., Long Island, Queens, 212-319-7000. Check current rates at Z NYC Hotel.
Discover more of top places to see and things to do while in New York City with our Best of New York series.