The Empire Hotel’s large neon sign has been a neighborhood landmark for over 50 year now, but it wasn’t until a 2005 renovation that anyone would actually want to stay here. Now, it’s as swank as its surroundings (it’s right across the street from Lincoln Center), and even the smallest rooms have a feeling of luxury to them, with Rothko-like paintings on the wall, handsome leather and dark wood furnishings, and cushy beds. Because of the hotel’s 10-foot ceilings, even the smaller rooms feel spacious (though they’re only 205 square feet). This is also that rare NYC hotel to have a rooftop pool (it’s small, but usable) and a fun sun-tanning deck with cabanas. The only disappointment? The lilllipution bathrooms (though they do have rainfall shower heads).
- Pauline Frommer