New York’s cutting-edge boutique hotels get a lot of well-deserved attention. But it’s worth remembering that there’s a classic side to this city as well — alongside the funky downtown boutiques, this town is also home to some century-old gems, among them John Jacob Astor’s landmark St. Regis, on 55th between Fifth and Park.
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Back at the turn of the 20th century New York had a serious case of Europe envy, and it shows in the St. Regis’s ornate Beaux Arts facade. The renovated interiors, too, stay true to the original Continental style, from the silk drapes to the crystal chandeliers. Rooms come with updated electronics — this is no museum, after all — but the classic marble baths and the 24-hour butler service never went out of style. And while the standard experience is very luxe indeed, the signature suites, named for the likes of Christian Dior, Tiffany, and Astor himself, are on another level entirely.
It’s not just the décor. The taste in nightlife is similarly timeless. Rather than a throbbing disco and some bizarre fusion joint, the St. Regis is home to the King Cole bar, as classic a cocktail bar as you’ll find anywhere, and Adour, a restaurant by the tried-and-true Alain Ducasse. If it’s novelty you’re after, you’re in the wrong neighborhood — this is prewar New York at its most elegant.