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. Chic, inviting rooms are decorated in soft grays and blues. The expansive lobby features sweeping staircases and arched colonnades. Rooms in the towers, a section of the hotel occupying floors 41 to 54 with particularly luxe rooms and suites,have 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.