The best view in Paris, the saying goes, is from the Tour Montparnasse, that black glass stele-like tower scarring the city’s skyline. It’s not because the views are so great from so high up, however; rather it’s because those views do not have said tower. One imagines it’s the same when standing inside one of the multimillion-dollar apartments in New York City’s supertalls. It’s a precious, but more affordable, view that we recently had when we stayed at the Park Lane Hotel in New York. Recently restored and reopened, the tower is the latest selection for Room Key, our series on exciting new hotels. There, safe in the confines of your room, the controversial supertalls are nowhere to be seen, and instead you get picture-perfect views of one of the world’s most famous parks.

If you tire of seeing the Eiffel Tower sparkle, of cruising in the American Southwest, or sweeping views of Central Park, you’re especially jaded. Views of the park are, of course, what always made the Park Lane famous, ever since it opened in 1971. It was the tallest building on Central Park South when it debuted, and remains so today. The tower’s mid-century facade somehow simultaneously sticks out and hides on its glamorous block as it’s surrounded by the gaudy remnants of old-world New York hotels.

But inside, the refresh is one of the more delightful and pleasantly restrained of any we’ve come across recently. The lobby leans in to the glitz and glam that its original developer Harry Helmsley bestowed upon it with its original chandeliers preserved, slick travertine staircases, and arched doorways cut into the walls. Gone, though, are the velvet brocade walls and gilt period French provincial furniture. (Helmsley actually saw the building and its views of Central Park as a way to impress a real estate agent named Leona, the future Mrs. Helmsley, aka the Queen of Mean.)

The rooms are the real pleasure, though, and very much in line with something the hotel has made very clear–they want this to be a comfortable hotel, not a stuffy and exclusive one. They set the tone for a place where a tech millionaire coming back from a jog in the park will feel just as comfortable as somebody dressed to the nines racing out to dinner. They’re done in pale colors–cream, beige, and light gray. The only things allowed to compete with the views (nearly half the hotel’s 610 rooms face the park) are a rose-colored velvet couch and scenes of the city stenciled on the walls cheekily “framed” by empty screens. The rooms, which start at $450 a night, are spacious, and also feature a bathroom decked out in black and white horizontal tiles and Le Labo products.

Rounding out the hotel’s overhaul are the rooftop lounge Darling, the coffee shop by day turned swanky lobby bar by night Rose Lane, and then up one of those staircases you can find Harry’s New York Bar.



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