Positioned unobtrusively by Central Park on the Upper East Side, the Plaza Athénée (now related in name only to its Parisian cousin) makes stellar service a priority, with a personal sit-down check-in off to the side of the lobby, and extravagant in-room dining service with an old-world feel: white tablecloths, candles, and flowers are part of the deal. Rooms have big bathrooms and refined, if nondescript, furnishings and linens. The hotel may seem stuffy to younger
visitors but to others it's a welcome dose of old-school luxury. Bar Seine is a fabulously dark and secretive hideaway, and surely the only bar in New York with a floor made of leather. Arabelle is a much-touted, if not particularly well-loved restaurant in need of a menu face-lift or celeb-chef infusion.