The Plaza isn't the only icon on the block. While the vaunted hotel undergoes a makeover, NYC visitors can still stay at name-dropper properties where luxury drips from the faucets. Here are some of the classics.
The Essex House comprises two little pretties: the St. Regis Club and the Westin. The St. Regis (170 Central Park South) occupies the 19th through 36th floors and overlooks Central Park. The 1931 property boasts 104 rooms and 40 suites decorated in lordly furnishings, including your own personal Jeeves. It's also home of the super-swank Alain Ducasse restaurant. Nightly rates from $399. The Westin (No. 160) is a (teeny) step down, but not much. Its 501 rooms and suites are more modern with art deco designs. Rates from $299. Info: 888-625-5144, www.essexhouse.com.
The Carlyle (35 E. 76th St., 212-744-1600, www.thecarlyle.com), or Madison Avenue Madame, has been attracting the creamiest of society for nearly 75 years. The 128 rooms and 56 suites are dressed in high-society drag, with Louis XVI-style furnishings, Limoges lamps and English country scenes to remind guests of their Anglo alter egos. Dining choices range from Frenchy Dumonet at the Carlyle to Bemelmans Bar. Rates from $550.
At the 201-room Pierre (Fifth Avenue at 61st Street, 212-838-8000, www.fourseasons.com/pierre), a Four Seasons hotel with Central Park views, even the "moderate" accommodations have marble tubs. Tea under the trompe l'oeil ceiling in the Rotunda is de rigueur. Rooms from $435.
A registered landmark, the 1,245-room Waldorf-Astoria (301 Park Ave., 800-WALDORF, www.waldorf.com) has been pampering guests since the 19th century. The elegant rooms are rich in jewel tones and fabrics. Toast Mr. Waldorf Astor on the Cocktail Terrace, perched above the art deco lobby. Rates from $299. -- Andrea Sachs