One of the first – and still one of the best – design hotels in New York, this swanky, Philippe Starck-designed property from the Morgans Hotel Group (also owners of Miami’s Delano and New York’s Hudson and Morgans hotels) sets the standard for the lobby schmoozing and boundary-pushing décor. The brainchild of Ian Schrager and the late Steve Rubell (the team behind Studio 54), the Royalton was built to encourage cool crowds to commingle, the Philippe Starck-designed lobby teases the eye with a seemingly endless blue carpet – the length of the entire block – and low lighting sets a sexy tone. The curved velvet banquettes of its restaurant 44 have long drawn tastemakers and chi-chi types, while the tiny Round Bar is the picture of cool with its rounded, tufted leather walls with built-in banquettes. There is also the Library Table – a 20-foot marble table in the lobby stocked with a slick collection of books. It’s not all about the socialising, though. the 169 oversized rooms and suites have custom Starck-designed furniture, banquette seating along the width of the rooms, 300-thread-count Egyptian sheets, and slate bathrooms with stainless steel fixtures – plus, some rooms have fireplaces and five-foot-round two-person tubs.