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New York is absolutely magical at Christmas time, with trees galore, elaborate displays in department store windows, and skaters twirling atop ice rinks. Hotels partake in the whimsy, too, dazzling guests by decking out their lobbies and entrances with lights, ornaments, presents -- the works. Check out Travel Channel and Oyster.com's top picks for New York hotel holiday decorations.
A Midtown East icon, the 1,300-room Waldorf-Astoria comes with some of New York's best (or at least most expensive) spa services, fitness facilities, restaurants and bars. The dress code and antique décor aren't for everyone, but the cinematic history and unrivaled elegance make the $250-plus price tag well worth it.
The century-old, 282-room Plaza is a New York landmark. A $400 million overhaul in 2008 gave the huge rooms gold-plated bathroom fixtures, but it also converted most rooms overlooking Central Park into privately owned residences. Still, the beautifully restored Oak Room, exceptional spa and 24-hour butler service make it worth the splurge. Eloise at Christmastime -- a children's book set at the hotel -- follows the adventures of a precocious Plaza resident during the holidays.
Deliberately business-like, the 368-room Four Seasons in Midtown East has all the luxury essentials: stylish lobby, beck-and-call service, a fine spa and fitness center and some of the city's largest rooms. Plus, guests can use spa facilities and enjoy beautiful Christmas decorations for free.
The Gramercy Park Hotel currently sets the bar for New York cool -- hence the celebrities in the lounge and the paparazzi on the sidewalk. It offers ultra-luxe but small rooms done up in high Boho-chic style (even during the holidays), a gorgeous gym, and a young, attentive staff.
This large, luxurious Art Deco icon, located on the southern edge of Central Park, evokes the opulence of bygone times. With a recent redesign that put modern technological amenities in the rooms, the Essex House is moving comfortably into the future.
The extraordinary service at the grand, century-old St. Regis is rivaled only by the Plaza. The famed Bloody Mary at the King Cole Bar and a dinner at Alain Ducasse's Adour will surely warm you up this holiday season.
This Ritz features 259 rooms (including 47 suites) in a 33-story limestone building on Central Park South, the southern border of the park. It was bought by Ritz-Carlton in 2000 and reopened in 2002, the same year their other NYC hotel, in Battery Park, opened. The 2 are similar in many ways. Both boast rooms with panoramic views. Each features a popular bar, an excellent gym and a name-brand spa.
One of New York's most visually stunning hotels, the New York Palace has a gilded, grandiose style that is a little gaudy but still fabulous enough to blow away the boutiques. With 899 rooms, this is an excellent, modern (and less uptight) alternative to its Midtown East neighbor, the famed Waldorf-Astoria. Huge rooms (renovated in 2008), a luxe spa and a fantastic gym make the Palace a steal for less than $300.
An elegant, historic hotel across the street from Central Park, the Pierre offers a taste of grand old New York to those staying in any of its 189 small but freshly renovated guest rooms. The large staff is white-glove formal and caters to both hotel guests and building residents with a high degree of professionalism.