Best for art and fashion: Meatpacking District
These days the Meatpacking District is the domain of late-night clubs, wine bars and fashion designers, where the boutiques of Diane Von Furstenberg, Tory Burch, Alexander Wang and friends line the cobblestone streets. Just to the north, Chelsea has been at the heart of New York City’s art scene since the 1990s, with hundreds of galleries slotted into warehouses beneath the High Line.
Style and value: Gansevoort Meatpacking NYC. Rooms in the heart of the fashionable scene, with access to one of the most stylish rooftop pools and bars in the city.
Impeccable cool: The Standard, High Line. The super-hip André Balazs hotel with fabulous views from floor-to-ceiling windows and the High Line running under it.
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Best for daily New York life: Harlem
The most famous black community in America, Harlem has not been spared New York City’s rapid gentrification, but it remains a bastion of African-American culture, with a vibrant street life, fabulous West African and soul food restaurants, a dynamic local jazz scene and some of the prettiest streets in the city.
Best guesthouse: Mount Morris House. Elegant 19th-century brownstone, just across from Marcus Garvey Park, with shared kitchen and freshly baked cakes every day.
Apartment stay: San Fermín Apartments. Small apartments with kitchenettes, in a lovely building, that dates from 1910, in the Sugar Hill neighbourhood.
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Best for bar-hopping: Williamsburg (Brooklyn)
A once-gritty Brooklyn community, Williamsburg is now more famous for hipsters than gangsters, with Bedford Avenue at the heart of a rapidly expanding zone of coffee shops, boutiques and bars – everything from the taproom at the Brooklyn Brewery and venerable Pete’s Candy Store, to some of the city’s swankiest rooftop cocktail lounges and beer gardens.
Five-star views: The William Vale. Posh boutique with wacky architecture, a spectacular rooftop bar and spine-tingling panoramic views of Manhattan from its floor-to-ceiling windows.
Best pool scene: McCarren Hotel & Pool. Chic hotel featuring an outdoor pool with one of New York City’s liveliest party scenes in the summer.
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Best for old-fashioned luxury: Upper East Side
The Upper East Side has been home to dynasties such as the Rockefellers, Whitneys and Astors since the 1890s. A world aptly portrayed in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Sex and the City and Gossip Girl, it still boasts the plushest hotels, the most elegant cafés and the swankiest shops.
Elegant and tasteful: The Sherry-Netherland. Absolute luxury since 1927. The ornate lobby is modelled after the Vatican Library and room service comes from the in-house Harry Cipriani restaurant.
A step back in time: The Surrey. This plush Relais & Châteaux hotel has hosted guests such as Bette Davis and JFK since 1926, sports its own modern art (including a Kate Moss portrait by Chuck Close), and contains the Coco Chanel-inspired Bar Pleiades.
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