SPLURGING IN MANHATTAN
Hey, Big Spender: Eight Luxe Hotels
Pretend you're a corporate titan or movie star. At these hotels, pampering and staff discretion are mandatory, spas and stunning views standard. In skyscraper suites larger than city apartments, the designer draperies may be elegant enough to wear. Bringing Fido? He'll be spoiled rotten. Here are eight places to splurge on.
· Enjoy the skyline up Fifth Avenue from the rooftop Pen-Top Bar & Terrace at the Peninsula (700 Fifth Ave. at West 55th Street). Or snack on $125-an-ounce beluga caviar with $400-a-bottle Louis Roederer champagne in the Gotham Bar & Lounge. The 23-story 1905 landmark in midtown has Old World elegance mixed with high tech (like silent in-room fax machines and a bedside electronic system to control heat and light). Prices for the 240 standard doubles and suites run $650 to $17,950 a night. Go crazy and take the $582 Spa Splurge -- facial, seaweed wrap, massage and lunch -- in the 35,000-square-foot spa with heated indoor pool.
Info: 800-262-9467, http:/
· Take in the view from your soaking tub at the Mandarin Oriental (80 Columbus Circle at West 60th Street), whose rooms feature floor-to-ceiling windows, Asian-inspired decor and at least two televisions. The hotel, on floors 35-54 of the Time Warner Center, opened in December 2003. The 202 rooms range from $725 to $1,095 a night, while 46 suites are $1,800 to $14,000 per night. The 2,230-foot Presidential Suite ($14,000) has a wood-paneled study and Oriental rugs. From a cushy sofa in the 35th-floor lobby, gaze at Central Park and the Manhattan skyline, or catch the sunset over the Hudson from the indoor rooftop lap pool.
· Need a butler? The St. Regis (2 E. 55th St. at Fifth Avenue) -- a 1904 Beaux-Arts midtown classic near Tiffany's and Carnegie Hall -- has 40 of 'em. They'll unpack for you, press garments, shine shoes, set up your computer and bring coffee minutes after a wake-up call. The 171 rooms, featuring Louis XVI-style furniture and crystal chandeliers, start at $895 a night; 66 suites start at $1,300. You can bring Fido, but it'll cost you $150 per visit. For $13,000, check into the Presidential Suite, whose personal library contains some of John Jacob Astor's books. Relive simpler days over afternoon tea ($42.50) in the Astor Court, or have a bloody mary where it was introduced: the clubby King Cole Bar, near Maxfield Parrish's mural.
Info: 800-759-7550, http:/
· When they want to hide, stars (think Tom Cruise) stay at the Carlyle (35 E. 76th St. at Madison Avenue). Since 1930, so have American presidents, world leaders and Princess Diana. The hotel, a 34-story beaut with original Audubon prints, is a block from Central Park and five minutes from midtown; its 179 rooms and suites are interspersed among the hotel's 60 residential apartments. Rooms start at $650 a night; the $6,000 22nd-floor Royal Suite has a Steinway piano. Managing director James McBride says Woody Allen's jazz performances ($100-$150) in the Cafe Carlyle, where Bobby Short entertained for 36 years, is "the hottest date on a Monday night in New York" when theaters are dark.
Info: 888-767-3966, http:/
· Talk about opulence. The New York Palace (455 Madison Ave. at 50th Street) features a Royal Suite that goes for $12,000 a night, and its four 5,000-square-foot trilevel suites ($10,000 a night) are so private that each has its own elevator and concierge. Some of the 897 rooms, starting at $310, and the spa face St. Patrick's Cathedral across the street. Townhouses constructed in 1882 are built into the design of the lobby, while the restaurant Gilt's gilded walls and cathedral ceilings recall late 19th-century glory days -- as does a $160 tasting menu with rabbit and black truffles. The wine list includes a 1989 white burgundy for $6,200. Butlers are on call 24-7; personalized business cards are available.
Info: 800-697-2522, http:/
· The Lowell (28 E. 63rd St. between Park and Madison avenues), on a quiet, tree-lined street on the tony Upper East Side, attracts celebrities who want to remain anonymous. Its 21 rooms and 47 suites start at $495 nightly and include such homey touches as working fireplaces, kitchens and terraces. The $1,950 Manhattan Suite's bookshelves are full of titles about the city, while the Hollywood Suite ($1,650), decorated with original photos and posters of Hedy Lamarr, Greta Garbo and Marlon Brando, is stocked with 400 movie-related books. Hungry? The Post House steak and chop restaurant is decorated with 18th-century American folk art.
Info: 800-221-4444, http:/
· If Cupid strikes, the 33-story Ritz-Carlton Central Park (50 Central Park South) has an $850,000 Love on the Rocks package that could be for you: It includes private jet transportation within the United States, three nights in the Royal Suite (usually $12,500), a 10.14-carat Tiffany's diamond, a white-gloved butler, a Bentley with chauffeur, etc. (No takers so far, we're told.) The two-bedroom Ritz-Carlton Suite ($12,500) has a floor telescope, two flat-screen TVs, a $78,000 stereo system and a library. Or cheap out and stay in one of the hotel's other 261 rooms and suites, which start at $845 a night. Pamper the kids in La Prairie spa: The teenage spa half-day treatment is $575.
Info: 800-241-3333, http:/
· The postmodernist Four Seasons (57 E. 57th St. between Park and Madison avenues), the city's tallest hotel, will soon unveil the I.M. Pei-designed Ty Warner Penthouse; at $30,000 per night, it may be the world's most expensive suite. Spanning the entire 52nd floor, 23-foot-high projecting bay windows will offer unobstructed views. Meanwhile, settle for one of two 51st-floor presidential suites, each with a marble gas fireplace and surround sound, for $15,000 a night. There are 307 rooms (among the city's largest, with an average 600 square feet) for $675 to $1,025; the 61 suites are $1,650 and up. Coming soon: L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon restaurant, modeled after the three-star Michelin chef's Paris original.
Info: 800-487-3769 ,http:/
-- Sue Shuman Kovach