What are the Most Historic Hotels in New York City?

New York City’s hospitality industry is one of the largest and most diverse in the world. Among these, historic hotels hold a special place in the city’s cultural landscape. Preserving these historic properties is more than just a means of maintaining their physical beauty. It’s a way of connecting with the past and preserving the stories that have shaped New York City.

These hotels are also important for the local economy because they attract tourists from around the world and create jobs for New Yorkers. In this post, we will explore the most significant historic hotels in New York, so let’s get started.

The Algonquin Hotel

an image of that hotel

Goldwin Starrett designed the well-known Algonquin Hotel. It is located in 59 W 44th St New York City. It was originally a 12-story building (some say 9 stories) in 1902 for the Puritan Realty Company. Frank Case purchased the hotel in 1927 and put effort into restoring it from almost a state of despair. Since then, the hotel has earned a reputation as a highly regarded tourist destination, boasting 156 rooms and 25 suites.

Famous Guests and Notable Events

The Algonquin Hotel’s fame can be traced back to famous gatherings of creative people, including writers, journalists, and politicians. They were known for their quick wit and humor, and their regular meetings at the hotel.

The hotel’s appeal goes beyond its connection with known actors like Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, and Elsie Janis in the past. Famous authors, including H. L. Mencken and Gertrude Stein, have also stayed at the hotel. This is merely an example of the many famous people who are associated with the hotel.

Significance Of The Hotel in Literary and Cultural Circles

As mentioned earlier, the Algonquin Hotel has played a significant role in shaping New York’s culture. It was a favorite spot for intellectuals and notable individuals due to the Algonquin Round Table, which was a major part of its literary circles. The hotel has promoted cultural gatherings and art exhibits, showing ongoing cultural importance.

The Waldorf Astoria

The Waldorf Astoria has a rich history dating back to 1893. Initially named after its founder, William Waldorf Astor, over time, the hotel underwent significant changes. The Hotel was demolished to make way for the new structure after the construction of the Empire State Building in 1929. The hotel was rebuilt from scratch and reopened in 1931.

Features And Amenities Of The Hotel

  • The Waldorf Astoria Hotel has over 1,400 guest rooms and suites.
  • The hotel has a fitness center and the Waldorf Astoria Guerlain Spa. 
  • he hotel has its own business center, which is a 1,150-square-foot digital facility
  • The hotel has a hidden railway platform under it.
  • The Waldorf Astoria has some famous restaurants like Bull and Bear Steakhouse.
  • The hotel offers meeting and banquet space for everything from weddings to corporate events.
  • The Waldorf Astoria is decorated with Art Deco designs.

Famous Guests And Notable Events

In 1957, the hotel accommodated Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip during their first visit to America. The hotel has also welcomed most of the heads of state from around the world and all the kings and queens of Europe.

The Waldorf Astoria has hosted movie stars such as Cary Grant and sports icons like Chris Evert. Additionally, the Dalai Lama stayed at the hotel in 1976, the same year in which the hotel served as a venue for presidential candidates during the election year as well. 

The Plaza Hotel

an image of plaza building

The Plaza is a historic landmark hotel in New York City that was built in 1907. The first version of the hotel was constructed in upper Manhattan in 1883 but was later dismantled by the new owners due to its small size. The current hotel was designed by architect Henry J. Hardenbergh in a French chateau style using the finest building materials, and it took two years and $12.5 million to complete.

Features And Amenities Of The Hotel

  • The Plaza hotel has 282 guest rooms, including 102 luxurious suites.
  • It has a variety of guest rooms and suites, some with high ceilings, marble bathrooms, and city or courtyard views. 
  • There are several restaurants at the hotel, including The Palm Court and The Plaza Food Hall, which offer a variety of international cuisine.
  • The hotel has top-notch workout facilities as well as a spa with a wide range of services available at the spa.
  • The hotel Plaza New York also offers several event spaces and provides pet-friendly services 

Famous Guests and Notable Events

Some of history’s most famous figures have visited the Plaza, including George Jay Gould, Marlene Dietrich, and the Beatles. The Plaza has left a lasting impression on the pop culture, and it is mentioned in The Great Gatsby, Home Alone 2, and Elois. 

The St. Regis New York

 The St. Regis New York is another historic luxury hotel that was constructed in 1904 by John Jacob Astor IV at the southeast corner of Fifth Avenue. The hotel was designed by the firm Trowbridge & Livingston. The hotel quickly became a haven for New York’s elite and still remains a premier destination for luxury travelers today.

Features And Amenities Of The Hotel

  • The hotel has 171 luxurious guest rooms and 67 suites.
  • Astor Court Restaurant offers modern American cuisine in an elegant atmosphere.
  • The St. Regis Athletic Club is a fully equipped fitness center featuring state-of-the-art equipment.
  • Remède Spa offers a range of spa services and beauty treatments for ultimate relaxation and rejuvenation.
  • State-of-the-art event and meeting facilities for business or social gatherings.
  • In-room dining is available 24 hours a day for ultimate convenience.
  • Pet-friendly services.

Famous Guests and Notable Events

The St. Regis New York’s storied past includes legendary guests and unforgettable events. From royal banquets to literary soirees, the hotel has hosted some of the world’s most renonwned personalities. Notable guests include the Japanese Prince Fushimi Sadanaru and former U.S. President Leopold III and his wife Lilian.

Literary icons such as Michael Arlen, Lucius Beebe, John McClain, and Quentin Reynolds have graced the King Cole Room. Hollywood stars like Marilyn Monroe and Alfred Hitchcock also Visited the hotel in the 1960s.

The Carlyle

 The Carlyle hotel is located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. It is a legendary luxury hotel that has been a symbol of New York glamor for many years.  It was designed by Sylvan Bien and Harry M. Prince and named after the Carlyle family.

Features And Amenities Of The Hotel

  • Has 189 rooms, including 90 suites.
  • The Carlyle Restaurant serves contemporary American cuisine.
  • Bemelmans Bar, a legendary spot featuring murals by Ludwig Bemelmans
  • 24-hour fitness center 
  • Pet-friendly services
  • Offers personalized recommendations and services.

Famous Guests and Notable Events

The Carlyle hotel is popular for hosting many famous guests and notable events. Numerous celebrities, politicians, and business leaders visited the hotel over the years, including the likes of Princess Diana, President John F. Kennedy, and Mick Jagger.

Legendary artists like Bobby Short and Woody Allen have performed at the iconic Café Carlyle, which has made The Carlyle hotel famous for cabaret performances. Additionally, high-profile events such as the United Nations General Assembly and the Met Gala after-party have taken place at The Carlyle.

Comparison Of The Hotels

These hotels provide a diverse range of accommodations, from  standard rooms to executive suites. They also offer exceptional on-site amenities, including fitness centers, relaxing spas, and a variety of dining options. Despite these similarities, each hotel possesses its own unique features that make it different from the others.

The Algonquin boasts a rich literary history and offers a more intimate experience due to its smaller size. Meanwhile, the Waldorf Astoria and The Plaza, as symbols of the city’s grandeur, and offer larger and more extravagant accommodations. The St. Regis and The Carlyle are both elegant properties that seamlessly blend charm with modern conveniences. Whatever your preference, these hotels guarantee an unforgettable stay.

Comparison Of Amenities And Features

Even the most discerning travelers can find luxurious amenities and facilities in all of these hotels. However, each property offers unique amenities and features. The Waldorf Astoria and the Plaza hotel provide extensive event spaces, while the Algonquin offers a more intimate experience due to its smaller size. The St. Regis has a Michelin-starred restaurant, and The Carlyle is famous for its live jazz performances.


New York City’s culture is enriched by its historic hotels, which offer a window into the past and serve as major tourist attractions and employment hubs for New Yorkers. The hotels covered in this post are significant in the New York City hospitality industry because of their iconic and historic status, prime locations, influence on industry standards, economic contributions, and role in cultural events. 

Notably, the Algonquin hotel, Waldorf Astoria, and Plaza hotel have witnessed and hosted important historical events and welcomed many iconic guests. Preserving these hotels is vital to maintaining their charm and beauty while promoting cultural gatherings and art exhibits. Learning about the history and cultural significance of these iconic landmarks is an excellent way to appreciate their contribution to the city’s unique character.