In 2009, the Beaux Arts Surrey was literally gutted and rebuilt at a cost of $60 million. In the process it was transformed, well, into the sort of hotel that one usually sees downtown rather than up. By which I mean: It now has edge. On the walls are contemporary art by such big names as Chuck Close, Richard Serra, and Jenny Holzer; and the decor, instead of consisting of tastefully tassled couches and velvet chairs (like so many other Upper East Side hotels), is proudly contemporary. That’s not to say rooms aren’t comfortable: They are—in the extreme. Spacious, well-appointed, and wow, each has a Duxiana mattress, an amenity that alone costs about $15,000 per room. The one disappointment here: The walls could be thicker (they’re not always fully soundproof). Even if you don’t end up staying, drop by for a drink at the comely rooftop garden bar; a treatment at the state-of-the-art Cornelia Spa; or a meal at Café Boulud (p.
, it supplies the room service here).
- Pauline Frommer