While other cities may try to compete, the fact is that there are few skylines that are as instantly recognizable as New York City’s. In fact, in some ways, New York has perfected the urban landscape, peppering it with iconic landmarks like Central Park, Times Square, the Empire State Building and One World Trade Center. With so much to see in the city that never sleeps, knowing how to find the best view can be a daunting task. Thankfully, we’ve scoured hundreds of different hotels in search of the 15 best views to be found across New York.
Mandarin Oriental, New York
For those with the cash to spare, the views from the Mandarin Oriental are some of the most picture-perfect that New York has to offer. Its extravagantly polished interiors and floor-to-ceiling windows open on almost all sides, offering glimpses of Central Park, Columbus Circle, Midtown’s high-rises or the Hudson River. Add world-renowned dining options and a luxurious spa, and it’s hard to beat this impeccably luxurious property.
The William Vale
All of the cool kids know that Williamsburg is the best place to crash in NYC. And these days, that doesn’t mean living like a bohemian. At The William Vale, settling down in the heart of hipster heaven can be done in chic luxury style — and alongside epic 360-degree views of Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan. Its sharp retro-inspired style makes it one of 2016’s freshest additions to the NYC hotel scene, and those views are available everywhere — from the pool to trendy Westlight bar and many of the spacious rooms.
The Towers at Lotte New York Palace
Believe it or not, New York has a spiritual side as well. In fact, the recently refurbished St. Patrick’s Cathedral remains one of the nation’s most stunning examples of Neo-Gothic architecture (and has an enviable address along Fifth Avenue). The Towers at Lotte New York Place — a sharp luxury hotel — has an equally posh setting along Madison Avenue, and its Premier Skyline Rooms look out onto both St. Patrick’s and the towering buildings of Rockefeller Center.
The Beekman, A Thompson Hotel
New York may not be the birthplace of the skyscraper, but these days it’s home to some of the most stunning towers in the Western Hemisphere — old and new. The Beekman, A Thompson Hotel, capitalizes on its Lower Manhattan setting by adding views of classics, like the Woolworth Building, and new additions to the skyline, like One World Trade Center. For the best views, opt for a Corner Suite on a higher floor. Don’t forget to bask in the hotel’s sumptuous Old World-inspired interiors, too, because some of the best views here don’t even require looking outside.
Cambria Hotel & Suites New York – Chelsea
Want to really be in the know about New York views? Then we have a tip: Make sure you park yourself somewhere great when the sun is going down, as the sky does magical things in the Tri-State area. Armed with that info, head to the terrace bar at the Cambria Hotel & Suites New York. Once there, you’ll see New York’s famous water towers crowning buildings in the foreground, and the glistening spire of One World Trade Center in the distance. That pink sky (and great cocktails) will only add to the romance of it all.
There’s something about a glistening skyscraper that can turn even gloomy days into an inspirational event. While the Millenium Hilton is a fairly run-of-the-mill Hilton property inside, its views are anything but ordinary. Many of the hotel’s 569 rooms look directly onto the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, One World Trade Center, the Santiago Calatrava-designed Oculus and even the Hudson River from higher floors.
Rookie travelers might tell you all of the best New York spots to hit up are in Midtown Manhattan. However, there’s a whole lot more to the city if you’re willing to explore the outer boroughs, too. That’s especially true for Long Island City in Queens, which has amazing views of Manhattan’s spires across the East River. The Z Hotel is not only reasonably priced, but has those same views from many of its rooms and its terrace bar. What’s even better? Long Island City is one of New York’s trendiest neighborhoods, home to foodie destinations and cultural hotspots like MoMA PS1.
New York Marriott Marquis
The neon buzz and over-the-top shows of Broadway are at the top of nearly every visitor’s list when they come to New York. That makes this Marriott hotel one of the city’s most prized pieces of real estate for travelers. While this middle-of-the-road chain hotel doesn’t have the most spectacular style, it does capitalize on its Times Square setting. Head to the hotel’s Broadway Lounge for views that will have you feeling all of those bright-lights-big-city vibes.
Archer Hotel New York
Few landmarks are as instantly recognizable as the Empire State Building, and the Archer Hotel matches that premium view with equally attractive style. The upscale rooms here have a fresh, modern look plus extras like Malin + Goetz toiletries in the swish bathrooms. There are two prime dining spots, including Charlie Palmer Steak and a rooftop bar, the Spyglass, which offers memorable views of the city’s most famous skyscraper.
New York City’s skyline is an ever-changing organism, and every year exciting new additions are added to the mix. Yes, One World Trade Center is a simple thing of beauty, with its monolithic glass exterior. But we also love new landmarks, like 56 Leonard, a Jenga-like residential tower that rises over TriBeCa, or 8 Spruce Street, designed by Frank Gehry. NoMo SoHo happens to be one of the best places to spot all three, and its bright contemporary interiors make it a great upscale spot for soaking up New York’s downtown scene. For the best views, opt for a SoHo Studio.
West Side YMCA
There isn’t much peace and quiet in New York City, which is why gorgeous Central Park remains such a popular destination. While the YMCA doesn’t top anyone’s list for chic digs, it does have bargain-basement rates that are a steal in this hyper-expensive city. You won’t get tons of amenities, but the prices at this budget property mean that great views of Central Park can be had on the cheap.
The Standard High Line
This mid-century mod-inspired hotel looks lifted straight out of South Beach, and — as one of the tallest structures in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District — it has fantastic all-around views. Its 338 stylish rooms — and rooftop nightspots like Le Bain — look down on the bustling High Line Park, out onto the Hudson River, over the Financial District, and uptown toward the skyscrapers of Midtown. Keep in mind that the all-glass facade and constant stream of people in the park below means that what goes on in your room won’t be private unless you have the shades drawn. For the more adventurous, though … well, we’ll leave that up to you.
The Pierre, A Taj Hotel
Fans of classic opulence will be right at home at this luxury property. The decor throughout veers from sharp and modern to Renaissance, and high-end extras include white-gloved elevator operators and a traditional afternoon tea service. However, it’s the views of Central Park that are the most stunning aspect of this hotel. They’re particularly amazing from the slightly stuffy Park View Room — with the park’s massive green swath cutting through the forest of buildings all around.
The Peninsula New York
There’s something especially exciting about views of New York City at night, when its busy avenues and towering skyscrapers glitter with lights. While The Peninsula has lots of bells and whistles — like an indoor pool, classically elegant interiors and popular bars — it’s the views that make this place extra special. Many of the rooms look directly across the street to some of Midtown’s older, ornate buildings, but if you head to Salon de Ning for a cocktail, you’ll see NYC ablaze in all of its inspiring nighttime glory.
New York’s bridges are some of the city’s most scenic assets, from the soaring elegance of the Brooklyn Bridge to the humbler — but still impressive — Queensboro Bridge in Midtown East. The latter was made even more famous after it made cameos in 2002’s Spider-Man and 2012’s The Dark Knight Rises. The bridge is on full display from many spots at Midtown East’s humble Bentley Hotel. A good amount of its sharp rooms have great views of the bridge, the East River, and the Queens skyline across the water (yes, Queens has its own skyline — one that’s growing by the month). Sunrises over the river can be a particularly atmospheric sight, so opt for a room like a Junior Suite.
Kyle Valenta, Oyster.com/USA Today Network