This city boasts some of the best hotels in the world - and, believe it or not, some great affordable choices, too.

Best New Years Eve Lookouts: youre not going to have much luck booking a room for the party if you dont have one by now. But watching the New Years ball drop is an event worthy of celebration any year. Hotels boasting great views of the action include the Crowne Plaza Manhattan, 1605 Broadway (tel. +1 212-977-4000); the Millennium Broadway, 145 W. 44th St. (tel. +1 212-768-4400); and New York Marriott Marquis, 1535 Broadway (tel. +1-212-398-1900). 
But none of these monoliths can beat the intimate Casablanca Hotel, 147 W. 43rd St. (tel. +1 212-869-1212), for vantage.


This charming Moroccan-themed hotel has a wonderful rooftop deck (for guests only, natch) that couldnt be better situated for the midnight excitement - its practically a private show.

Best Landmark Hotel: Hands down, the newly and exquisitely restored Algonquin, 59 W. 44th St. (tel.
+1 212-840-6800), is the winner.

Algonquin

The birthplace of The New Yorker and home to Dorothy Parkers legendary Round Table in the 20s, this venerable beauty has managed to recreate the glamour of the past without pricing itself out of the reach of regular folks. Even if you dont stay here, stop into the wonderful oak-paneled and velvet-seated lobby--one of the most comfortable and welcoming in the city - or afternoon tea or a post-theater cocktail.

Best for Classic New York Elegance: Theres lots of competition in this category, but the low-key Sherry-Netherland, 781 Fifth Ave. (tel.
+1 212-355-2800), steals the show. 

Sherry-Netherland


This gargoyled neo-Romanesque residence hotel is the epitome of understated service and elegance. The rooms and suites provide a chance to experience the glamour of uptown apartment living, and the location--at the southeast of Central Park, presiding grandly over Fifth Avenue at its most fabulous - couldnt be more spectacular. Quintessentially New York in every way.


Best Trendy Hotels:

Soho

The Soho Grand, 310 W. Broadway (tel. +1 212-965-3000), with its cool Downtown location and even cooler retro-modern design, competes for star power with Ian Schragers endlessly hip Royalton, 44 W. 44th St. (tel. 800/635-9013), which is primed to transcend yet another decade with its trendiness still intact.


Best Service if Money Is No Object:

Carlyle

For the ultimate pampering, youd be hard pressed to do better than the Carlyle, 35 E. 76th St. (tel. +1 212-744-1600), where the staff-to-guest ratio is a phenomenal two-to-one; you wont want for anything here. 

Carlyle

But these days, the Carlyle is getting a run for its money from Trump International Hotel Tower, 1 Central Park West (tel. 888/44-TRUMP). Your very own Trump Attaché will fulfill your every whim, keeping meticulous notes all the while for your next stay, when you wont even have to ask. Of course, such personal attention in Manhattan doesnt come cheap--but youll be in supreme comfort as you max out that platinum card!


Best Service for the Budget-Minded:

Broadway

The professional staff at the Broadway Inn, 264 W. 46th St. (tel. 800/826-6300), just may be the most helpful in the city. Theyre so committed to making their guests feel welcome and at home in New York that they give you a hotline number upon check-in so you can call when youre out and about if you need directions, advice on where to eat, or any other assistance. When you come home from your long day of sightseeing, theyll be happy to order in delivery from any of the nearby restaurants for you. And you thought New York wasnt friendly!


Best for Business Travelers:

The Millenium Hilton, 55 Church St. (tel. 800/835-2220), is the best hotel in the Financial District, with an ideal location (just across the street from the World Trade Center), first-rate amenities, and stellar views. In midtown, The Peninsula-New York, 700 Fifth Ave. (tel. 800/262-9467), is the ultimate address for power brokers; each room has a terrific L-shaped executive workstation with desk-level inputs, direct-line fax, and dual-line speakerphones, plus other high-tech amenities for ladder-climbing execs. If your expense account isnt that big, book in at the Doubletree Guest Suites, 1568 Broadway (tel. 800/222-TREE), where you can get a two-room suite with all the comforts of home and office for the same money youd pay for a standard hotel room; there are even some conference suites available if you want to hold an ensuite meeting.


Best for Families:  

The Doubletree Guest Suites, 1568 Broadway (tel. 800/222-TREE), isnt just for business travelers--its great for families, too. Theres an entire floor of childproof suites, complete with living room for spreading out and kitchenette for preparing light meals. And your young ones will love the Kids Club (for ages 3 to 12), which boasts a playroom, an arts-and-crafts center, and computer and video games.

Best for a Romantic Getaway: Even harried New Yorkers have been known to stow away for a love-in weekend at the Inn at Irving Place, 56 Irving Place (tel. 800/685-1447). Like a page stolen from a Gilded Age novel, the inn is historically evocative. Luxury is the rule, from an antique Victorian drawing room to graciously appointed guest rooms. Its Gramercy Park address and no-children-under-12 policy make for a peaceful, very adult setting.


Best Moderately Priced Hotel: The Hotel Metro, 45 W. 35th St. (tel. 800/356-3870), is a midtown gem that gives you a surprisingly good deal, including a marble bath. I also love the Wyndham, 42 W. 58th St. (tel. 800/257-1111), a family-owned charmer with simply enormous rooms on a great block and only steps away from Fifth Avenue shopping and Central Park. And on the Upper West Side is the Lucerne, 201 W. 79th St. (tel. 800/492-8122), a sophisticated hotel thats big on comforts and service but not on price.


Best Budget Hotel: If you dont mind sharing a bath, the charming Larchmont Hotel, in the heart of Greenwich Village at 27 W. 11th St. (tel. 212/989-9333), is the best budget deal in town. If you want your very own facilities, you cant lose with the Cosmopolitan Hotel-Tribeca, 95 W. Broadway (tel. 888/895-9400), with small but comfy IKEAish rooms and petite but immaculate private bathrooms.


Best Alternative Accommodations: If youre a youth-minded traveler looking for an artsy environment, the wild Gershwin Hotel, 7 E. 27th St. (tel. 212/545-8000), is the place for you. Billy Name is the house photog--what more do I need to say? If youre a grown-up looking for something special, book into Country Inn the City, on W. 77th Street (tel. 212/580-4183), one of the most impeccably done guest houses Ive ever seen--and superbly located in prime Upper West Side territory.


Best Health Club: Le Parker Méridien, 118 W. 57th St. (tel. 800/543-4300), is home to Club La Racquette, a comprehensive fitness center with a rooftop pool and racquetball, squash, and handball courts. But its hard to beat The Peninsula-New York, 700 Fifth Ave. (tel. 800/759-3000), which boasts a trilevel 35,000-square-foot fitness center with a gorgeous pool and complete spa services. If these luxury hotels are out of your price range, consider the Crowne Plaza Manhattan, 1605 Broadway (tel. 800/243-NYNY), a somewhat more affordable hotel that boasts it own branch of the New York Sports Club, complete with Olympic-size pool and steam rooms.


Best Amenity for A-Types: The Lowell, 28 E. 63rd St. (tel. 800/221-4444), boasts a suite with a private gym that, not surprisingly, Madonna has called home from time to time.
Best Weekend Packages: For a great Theater District deal, see whats on offer from the Millennium Broadway, 145 W. 44th St. (tel. 800/622-5569); be sure to check www.millenniumbroadway.com for Web page-only deals. At the unaffilliated downtown Millenium Hilton, 55Church St. (tel. 800/835-2220), vacationers can make phenomenal deals on luxury rooms abandoned for the weekend by Wall Street business travelers.


Best Suite Deals: Youd be hard-pressed to find a better deal than the Hotel Beacon, 2130 Broadway (tel. 800/572-4969). Located on the Upper West Side, one of the citys most desirable residential neighborhoods, the Beacon has spacious suites that boast all the comforts, including microwaves in the kitchenettes and well-furnished living rooms with pull-out sofas. Most New York families dont live in two-bedroom apartments as big as the ones youll find here--and they even have a second bath. With suites running just $205 to $450, this place fills up fast, so book early. If youd rather be in Midtown, try The Kimberly, 145 E. 50th St. (tel. 800/683-0400), where the prices of these cozy suites can climb high in the busiest seasons, but the off-season deals are remarkable.


Best for Disabled Travelers: Disabled travelers no longer have to spend a fortune to stay in a hotel that can accommodate them. The affordable Gorham, 136 W. 55th St. (tel. 800/735-0710), features rooms equipped for the wheelchair bound, smoke detectors for the hearing impaired, braille and audible floor indicators in elevators, and braille electronic key cards. And at press time, the Milburn, 242 W. 76th St. (tel. 800/833-9622), was adding five new lobby-level wheelchair-accessible rooms to their selection of comfortable, budget-minded accommodations.
Best for Your Pooch: If you really want to pamper your pup, head to the Hartz Mountain-owned Soho Grand Hotel, 310 W. Broadway (tel. 800/965-3000), where theres a pet-friendly room-service menu available 24 hours a day, and the guest services desk will be happy to arrange anything from grooming and nail care to dog walking and custom clothing. Et tu, Bowser!


Best In-Room Tchotchke: They get some stiff competition from W New York (where you get a windowbox of fresh green lawn to tend), but the Soho Grand, 310 West Broadway (tel. 800/637-7200), comes out the clear winner in this category. Each guestroom features a pretty goldfish in a bowl to keep you company for the duration of your stay. You also get a take-out carrier for Goldie, so your temporary pet can help you paint the town red.