If you want a little quiet, hotels along the Upper East Side or Upper West Side will shield you from much of the hustle and bustle of the downtown streets while still putting you close to the action.
500 East 62nd Street (between 1st and York avenues)
Lexington Avenue-East 59th Street station (N, R or W train) or East 59th Street station (4, 5, or 6 train)
Until 1998, this was a modern twenty-one-story office building. The brilliant conversion left plenty of glass to allow spectacular panoramic views of the East River and New York skyline. A modern facility, the Bentley offers 197 spacious, well-designed, and comfortable rooms and suites. Amenities include a complimentary twenty-four-hour cappuccino bar, concierge, and on-site parking for a modest $25 a day. The location is easily accessible to LaGuardia Airport, just off the FDR Drive, and it's a short way from the United Nations and Central Park.
Away from other hotels, the Bentley provides an opportunity to be part of the residential Upper East Side of Manhattan, with numerous restaurants and plenty of shopping. If you don't want to stay in the middle of it all or you've been to the heart of the city before, this is a nice change of locale.
45 West 81st Street (between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue)
West 81st Street-Museum of Natural History station (B or C train)
The Upper West Side, a trendy neighborhood with plenty of shopping and old New York charm, is also home to the Excelsior, a landmark hotel rich with atmosphere yet complete with modern amenities.
Overlooking the American Museum of Natural History and Rose Center for Earth and Space (a spectacular view at night), the Excelsior has one- and two-bedroom suites decorated in a French motif, with some of the recently refurbished 116 rooms and eighty suites sporting balconies and in-room PCs. The hotel features wireless Internet access, a concierge, a fitness room, entertainment lounge, library, and continental breakfast buffet on the second floor.
This is a hotel for those who want a small European hideaway in Manhattan. The location just north of all the action allows guests to enjoy quiet nights, afternoon strolls, or Central Park picnics.
201 West 79th Street (between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue)
West 79th Street station (1 train)
A treasured landmark, the recently restored Lucerne was originally built in 1904. It is nestled among the shops and cafés on the Upper West Side and is a short walk from Central Park, the American Museum of Natural History, and Lincoln Center. Since you're away from the bustle of midtown, and the hotel is relatively small, service is more personalized.
Its 250 large rooms and suites feature marble and granite bathrooms, wireless Internet, Nintendo, and other standard amenities; the hotel offers valet parking, a concierge and tour desk, fitness center, and twenty-four-hour room service. It is a smoke-free hotel.
The adjacent restaurant is the Nice Matin, which offers a relaxed French menu softened by Italian influences. In other words, its menus for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and Sunday brunch are huge and contain everything to satisfy any taste, even sandwiches for the kids.
242 West 76th Street (at West End Avenue)
West 79th Street station (1 train)
This Upper West Side hotel is particularly geared to families. Each room has a kitchenette with a microwave and coffeemaker. The one-bedroom suites have a separate living room with a sofa bed for the kids with their own TVs and VCRs. The hotel also provides Playstations, a library of children's books, and a selection of family movies. No wonder it's a favorite for visiting parents. It's also close to Zabar's, Central Park, and the American Museum of Natural History/Rose Center for Earth and Space. There are fifty cozy and bright rooms. There is no restaurant on the premises, but the fabulous eateries of the Upper West Side are within a few minutes walk.