From the moment you walk into the soaring, marble lobby, designed by I M Pei, you know you are in a grand hotel. It is modern grand, for it was only completed in 1991. Since then, however, it has towered over Manhattan’s hospitality landscape and is one of the places to be seen in New York. The concierges are walking encyclopedias, the location on 57th and Park is central uptown, and the 364 rooms are bright, with silk-lined walls and furniture of English sycamore. From rooms above the 40th floor, there are superb views of Central Park. L’Atelier du Joël Robuchon is also worth a visit.