Sometimes, the out-of-room extras are more important than the rooms themselves. Take the Parker Meridien, which boasts a superb location (just 2 blocks from Central Park in one direction, the stores of Fifth Avenue in the other), and a host of nifty amenities. Not only does the hotel feature a 17,000-square-foot fitness center (with basketball and racquetball courts, a spa, and a rooftop pool), but it’s also the site of two of the most unique restaurants in midtown (Norma’s and Burger Joint, also reviewed on this website), plus a spectacularly beautiful espresso bar called Knave. As for the rooms, they’re more than respectable, if nowhere near as creative as the rest of the hotel, featuring beds with feather-top mattresses, workable desks with fancy Aeron chairs, a good amount of elbow room, and comfy armchairs. The hotel is a favorite among families for the large suites, that rooftop pool, and the cartoons that play in the elevators.