The Warwick Hotel

New York

10. WARWICK-Randolph Suite Living Area 1

In the 21st century luxury hotel wars, the Park Hyatt, Conrad and Armani hotels battle to impress with acres of marble, absurdly lavish spas, eight-figure art collections and, of course, all those swaggering celebrity chefs. But there’s a certain sort of glamour that cannot simply be conjured from a checkbook—it has to exist in the walls themselves.

For all the fascinating historic hotels in New York City, it’s perhaps The Warwick that can claim the most glittering history of all. It was built in 1926 by that great, troublingly eccentric Jazz Age tycoon William Randolph Hearst, whose intention was to make it something of a pied-a-terre (a rather opulent one, of course) for his beautiful actress mistress Marion Davies—and several dozen of his closest Hollywood pals. Unsurprisingly, a fabulous parade of Golden Age A-listers followed, from Cary Grantto Audrey Hepburnto Elizabeth Taylor and Natalie Wood… and far too many others to list.

These days, though the movie stars have moved on, one can’t help but feel a powerful sense of that glamorous history merely upon entering the lobby. The Art Deco splendor has been exquisitely preserved, and a quick peek into the Murals on 54 restaurant puts you face to face to with Dean Cornwell’s allegorical 1937 mural, commissioned by Hearst himself. (A fun aside: when the boss tried to stiff the artist on the bill, he secretly painted someone pissing on Queen Elizabeth!)

10. WARWICK-Follies Suite Bedroom

The Warwick today does not rest on the allure of a bygone era; it has tapped into its luminous past and given it a whole new spar- kle. Calling upon the talents of Interior Design International’s Stephanie Ellis-Carmody, the hotel has created new plush-but- sexy signature suites, all making stylistic references to its past whilst simultaneously exhibiting a striking sense of modernism. The Marion Suite is a paragon of Deco cool, a striking mix of black, white and green. The Jane Russell Suite offsets elegant blacks and golds with provocative zebra striped rugs, and the boldly colorful Modern Art Suite flaunts genuine Warhols.

But surely the guests are not checking in for the scene, although the Randolph’s Bar is a great place for a bit of classic cocktailing. It’s the most ineffable of amenities that is the most attractive: a chance to sleep in a hotel that was frequented by the most dazzling stars of the stage and screen, and to bask in that glorious, lingering glow.

Text by Ken Scrudato