From the moment you enter the gilded gates of these connected mansions, originally built in the 1880s by railroad baron Henry Villard, you know you're somewhere special; there's a reason this is called the Palace. An 18-month renovation completed in late 2013 modernized this landmark property. Chic, inviting rooms are decorated in soft grays and blues. The expansive lobby with sweeping staircases and arched colonnades remains, as do rooms in the towers, a section of the hotel occupying floors 41 to 54 with particularly luxe rooms and suites (there's separate check-in, more attentive service, and a dedicated concierge). Many of the guest rooms, as well as the 7,000-square-foot health club, have terrific views of St. Patrick's Cathedral.