The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park: Upscale Elegance At Its Finest

Located on the corner of Central Park South and Sixth Avenue, New York's Ritz Carlton Central Park has the look and feel of a hotel that's been there for a very long time. In fact, it's only been there since 2002, but from 1930 to 1999 it was home to the famed Hotel St. Moritz. It's got good bones, as they say, and today the 33 story, 259 room, brown sandstone-clad edifice is home to one of the most elegant, upscale, and, well, ritzy hotels I've ever had the pleasure of staying in.

The hotel's lobby has a cream and gold color scheme accented with plenty of rich wood furnishings and original paintings. The décor continues over to the large, high-ceilinged lobby bar, The Star Lounge, which looks like it was transported from the Gilded Age and is an ideal setting for high tea (which happens to be served there every afternoon).

We stayed in a high-floor Deluxe Park View Room, which had one of the best views of Central Park you can imagine and was incredibly luxurious. Soft carpeting, rich draperies, upholstered walls, his and hers closets (as well as a large coat closet), 400-thread count linens, a choice of seven pillow types, rose petal turndown upon request, a pants press, wainscoting, complimentary overnight shoe shine, morning newspaper delivery, a telescope for taking in the view, a large marble bathroom, a separate shower and tub, high-end toiletries... the list goes on.

We could have easily spent several days (or several years) never leaving this room and have been happy. The room service menu was certainly big enough to accommodate an extended stay. But If you want to dine on-premises and would prefer not to take your meal inside your luxurious room, there's also a restaurant called Auden Bistro & Bar, which serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily, as well as Sunday brunch.

We were granted access to the Club Lounge, which is one of the hotel's loveliest amenities. Located on the second floor and open from 7 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. daily, it's a subdued and comfortable space with complimentary breakfast, light lunch, afternoon tea, and dessert as well as wine, beer, and cocktails available throughout the day. The selection of small plates for the taking changes throughout the day, and there's always a dedicated concierge on staff. We could have easily wiled away an entire afternoon there, sipping wine and watching the horse-drawn carriages queued on 59th Street, but it's also an ideal place to visit before heading out to dinner or a show (especially on Saturday evenings, when there's a full caviar setup from 5 to 7), or just to stop by to grab a coffee to go or enjoy a glass of Champagne and a selection of local cheeses. All of the hotel's rooms come with the option to upgrade to Club Level access, and if you really want to experience all the hotel has to offer, I highly recommend it. Also located on the second floor are the hotel's gym and the La Prairie Spa, which has six treatment rooms as well as men's and women's steam rooms.

There's no shortage of upscale hotels in New York, but the Ritz-Carlton Central Park is about as upscale and refined as it comes. Not only is its location nothing short of ideal (both from a convenience and vista standpoint); the personalized service, the high level of its culinary offerings, its classically high-end furnishings and fixtures, and its air of subdued elegance easily make it one of the finest places to rest your head in the city. It's the Ritz, after all!

The hotel stay that is the subject of this review was provided at no cost to the writer.