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Historic hotels in NYC

The hotels listed below are intimately connected with the city's life and times, whether they're housed in an art deco skyscraper or an 1830s brownstone. They've played host to visiting royalty and political types, rock stars and movie moguls, literary lions, and just about every stripe of celebrity there is.

The Gramercy Park Hotel
2 Lexington Avenue
In one of the prettiest parts of the city, the Gramercy Park has hosted celebrities like a young Jack Kennedy, Babe Ruth, and Humphrey Bogart, not to mention the rock stars that made the place something of a headquarters during the 1980s. For those of us less famous, there's the High Bar, one of the city's sexiest places to have a drink. And it's the only hotel in the city where a room will get you access to the gated and locked Gramercy Park itself. Rates start at $145.

The Hotel Chelsea
222 West 23rd Street
It's always been a little on the seedy side although the building started life as a perfectly respectable co-op apartment complex (the city's tallest building when it went up in 1884). Among the celebrities who have lived here at one time or another: O. Henry, Thomas Wolfe, Brendan Behan, Dylan Thomas, and Andy Warhol, not to mention Sid Vicious and Lance Loud. Today, the lacy iron balconies overhanging 23rd Street look a little precarious and the lobby could do with some sprucing up. But if raffish charm is what you like, this is the place. Rates range from $150-$250 for a single; $175-$300 for a double.

The Plaza Hotel
5th Avenue & Central Park South
It's starred in the movies (Crocodile Dundee, North by Northwest, The Way We Were, and others), been the subject of a book (Eloise), and appeared on Broadway (Plaza Suite). Presidents, kings, rock stars have all haunted its corridors. Business types congregate in the Oak Bar, and ladies take tea in the Palm Court. The Plaza is as much a part of the city fabric as anything is, and staying here is one of New York's great traditions. Rooms start at about $370 per night.

The Inn at Irving Place
56 Irving Place
The Inn at Irving Place, composed of two 1830s townhouses near Gramercy Park, has the feeling of a small London hotel. Rooms are high-ceilinged and decorated with antiques and reproductions, and high tea in the afternoon is a cherished institution here. Rooms are carefully appointed with Frette linens, cable TVs and CD players. Rooms start at $275 per night.

The Algonguin
59 West 44th Street
You know about the Round Table -- that congregation of legendary wits that spiced up lunchtime at the Algonquin through the 1920s. After they had moved on, though, the hotel continued to draw its share of visiting literary types to its guest rooms and the bar that stretches across the lobby. A 1992 renovation restored many of the hotel's architectural details to their turn-of-the-century glory. The hotel will be closed for a month-long renovation in July 2004. Room rates start at $195 per night.

The Roosevelt Hotel
45 East 45th Street
Built in 1924, the Roosevelt -- named for Teddy -- has been renovated and generally spiffed up. The lobby is still a swanky-looking place, even when it's full of group tourists, and the bar is an unpretentious place for an after-work drink. Rates start at $179 per night.

Washington Square Hotel
103 Waverly Place
In the heart of Greenwich Village, the 100-year-old hotel is worth a visit if only to check out the prettily decorated public areas and settle down to dinner in the restaurant, North Square. Guest rooms are decorated with antiques and reproductions, and there is a fitness room in the hotel. Rooms go for $166 to $204 per night.

The Lucerne
201 West 79th Street
Located in a landmark building on the Upper West Side, The Lucerne has an inviting lobby and rooms that are comfortable if a little plain. The neighborhood is great for shopping, restaurants, and museum-going, and Central Park is just a short walk away. Standard rooms come fitted out with high-speed internet access, Nintendo games for the kids, hair dryers, internet TV, and coffee makers. Rates range from $155 to $400 per night.

W New York Union Square
201 Park Avenue South
The building is what's historic here -- the landmark Guardian Life Building, which has been a part of the skyline since 1911. At the northern end of Union Square, the hotel is an opulent combination of granite and limestone outside, a mix of trendy hangouts -- the lobby bar, Underbar and Olives -- and guest rooms kitted out with down comforters and up-to-the minute technology. Rooms start at about $370 per night.

The Waldorf
301 Park Avenue
The Waldorf is one of the city's grandest traditional hotels, which played host to visiting dignitaries as well as Hollywood types and captains of industry. Rooms are spacious, decorated in classic style, and some have superb views over Park Avenue. In addition, the hotel's three restaurants and several bars offer plenty of choices for relaxing after a day of shopping or sightseeing. Rates start around $229 per night.

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
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