January 11, 2023
Tablet is your source for discovering the world’s most exciting boutique hotels — places where you’ll find a memorable experience, not just a room for the night. For over twenty years we’ve scoured the earth, evaluating hotels for every taste and budget, creating a hand-picked selection that’s proven and unforgettable. Now, we’re the official hotel selection of the legendary MICHELIN Guide. Here are the top boutique hotels in Midtown NYC.
We’ve been looking forward to telling you about this one ever since we saw those telltale steel-framed windows appear over West 56th Street. Firmdale, the proprietors of Soho’s fine Crosby Street Hotel (as well as too many London hotels to mention), is at it again, this time in Midtown, just two blocks from Central Park. The Whitby Hotel brings the warmth and coziness of English hospitality to a neighborhood that’s already got plenty of American-style luxury hotels, and proves that Firmdale can compete with anyone in the world on comfort, and look just that much more stylish and charming while they’re at it.
The Whitby Bar and Restaurant is a typically triumphant space — complete with afternoon tea service — as are the lobby lounge, the Orangery, the courtyard terrace, and the 130-seat private cinema that is the Whitby Theater.
Whatever meaning the word “refinery” calls to mind, New York’s Refinery Hotel has it covered: there’s a slight edge of industrial chic about the guest rooms, an air of classic refinement about the public spaces, and the whole thing is built on the site of a factory that once turned out finery, if you’ll extend the pun that far — hats, to be specific, though the vibe is more holistically Twenties-inspired than specifically headwear-related.
The location, after all, is Manhattan’s fabled Garment District, give or take a yard or two, so the classic fashion angle is a natural one. More relevant to the majority of travelers is that this lower stretch of Midtown is on the up; young boutiques like the Ace and NoMad have revitalized the area just to the south, and the charming Bryant Park is just to the north, while Times Square and the theater district are the merest stumble from the front door.
Maybe we just have a soft spot for all things French. Or maybe it’s the case that for a big-business hotel chain, Sofitel seems to have it pretty well figured out — the consistent quality of a corporate hotel, but with the personality too many others lack, and an aesthetic sense that we may as well just go ahead and describe as Parisian, as long as we’re not shying away from cultural stereotypes.
The Sofitel New York’s curvaceous glass tower turns heads along 44th street, between Fifth and Sixth avenues; this is that part of Midtown that feels close by to everything in the world. There are just shy of four hundred rooms, most of which have some sort of dramatic view or another; the Chrysler Building, if you’re lucky, or just a bird’s-eye-view of 44th.
At the risk of massively understating the case, we’ll start by saying that some of the big chains are really getting the hang of this whole boutique-hotel thing. The Andaz concept was probably focus-grouped and market-tested for years by the design wonks in the Hyatt black-ops program, but when they finally started opening — whether in London, or Hollywood, or Wall Street, or here, the Andaz 5th Avenue — they felt as fresh as any independent boutique.
It starts with a non-traditional check-in, the sort without a reception desk, where you’re simply walked to your room by a tablet-toting "Andaz host" — a recipe for chaos in some hotels, perhaps, but they manage it quite professionally. And the look, by Tony Chi & Associates, is both contemporary and luxurious, but neither desperately hip nor unfashionably opulent. It’s not an easy balance to strike, but they strike it.
If you’re like us, you’ll see the words “Times Square” and you’ll be tempted to keep scrolling. But Merrion Row Hotel and Public House is worth lingering over for a bit. Yes, it’s right around the block from Times Square itself, deep in the heart of Midtown’s most heavily traveled neighborhood. But if you want a break from the noise and the crowds — well, that’s what elevators are for. Once you’re within the walls of Merrion Row, you’re immersed in an idealized modern version of traditional Irish hospitality, a public house with all the cheer and warmth of historical Dublin, transplanted to 21st-century New York City.
A hotel with a point of view goes a long way towards distinguishing itself. Here the rooms are identifiably Irish in aspect, including large-format landscapes of the Emerald Isle or portraits of Irish notables. But what’s perhaps most remarkable is Merrion Row’s restraint. We’ve all seen Irish bars that walk right up to the border of kitsch, and then plunge ahead fearlessly. Merrion Row, in contrast, is ever tasteful. The Public House, too, pays just the right amount of tribute to its heritage, without crossing over into theatricality; the restaurant serves contemporary Irish-American fare, with a focus on the flavors of Ireland’s west coast, and a long list of appropriately chosen beers and spirits.
More boutique hotel lists in the New York Area:
Brooklyn Boutique Hotels
Greenwich Village Boutique Hotels
Soho New York Village Boutique Hotels
Tribeca & Wall St Boutique Hotels
Meatpacking NYC Boutique Hotels
Flatiron NYC Boutique Hotels
Long Island New York Boutique Hotels
Upstate New York Boutique Hotels
View our entire selection of Boutique Hotels in New York City
Many people visiting New York for the first time are shocked with the size of the rooms (smallish). If you need some space and are not looking to book a suite, here are some boutique hotels with larger standard rooms:
Four Seasons Hotel New York Midtown
The Dominick Soho
The St. Regis New York Midtown
Crosby Street Hotel Soho
Park Hyatt New York Midtown
There are plenty of great dining experiences in New York boutique hotels but here are a few recognized by The MICHELIN Guide we recommend:
The New York Edition
The Langham, New York, Fifth Avenue
Tablet Hotels merged with MICHELIN in 2018 and is the hotels component of the MICHELIN Guide. For more information visit our About Tablet section.