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
  • Also
  • Inn at Irving Place Photo: Inn at Irving Place
  • Algonquin Hotel Photo: Algonquin Hotel

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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