The Peninsula New York Review: Neoclassicism In The Thick Of Fifth Avenue
— Updated on 14 August 2023

The Peninsula New York Review: Neoclassicism In The Thick Of Fifth Avenue

— Updated on 14 August 2023
Chris Singh
Chris Singh

I recently spent a few nights at one of the city’s most recognised luxury properties and hope this review of The Peninsula New York helps you decide whether or not this architectural grande dame is worth having on your radar.

A lavishly detailed Beaux-Arts building on the corner of Fifth Avenue & 55th was built back in 1905 as The Gotham Hotel. At that time a great symbol of wealth in New York City, the Hiss & Weekes-designed hotel actually only lasted three years before it closed due to bankruptcy and was dormant for decades, after which it had a brief stint at Hotel Maxim’s de Paris. That one vanished just as fast. Despite the prestige, de Paris lasted for just a year before Hong Kong’s Peninsula Hotel group took over in 1988.

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From its first two iterations, it seemed the impressive building couldn’t quite stick the landing in New York City. I assume the location back then just didn’t hold the same allure as it does now, but regardless of what happened in the past, The Peninsula New York’s glowing reputation in the city is undeniable.

There are many reasons for this. The building is not just the most attractive thing about staying here. While the rooms could use a refurbishment, the Peninsula’s rich art collection, popular cocktail bars and stunning fitness centre justify its position amongst the top of the crop for luxury hotels in New York City.

Read below for our full review of The Peninsula New York.

The Peninsula New York





  • Excellent location for Fifth Avenue
  • Massive fitness centre and swimming pool
  • One of New York’s best rooftop bars
  • Stunning art collection in lobby bar


  • Guest suites lack personality

The Peninsula New York Review


(Photo by Chris Singh)

It’s hard for a new luxury hotel to stake a claim on a good Manhattan location, which is why these long-standing properties are still so dominant in the city. Peninsula New York has an enviable position in the thick of Fifth Avenue’s shopping sprawl on 55th, which means it’s also just a short walk to the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and Central Park.

This particular section of Fifth Avenue is one of the more strategic positions for anyone looking to explore both Manhattan and Brooklyn. You’ve got several well-connected subway stations nearby, a tonne of Manhattan’s best lunch spots and, as above, you’re a short walk from Central Park.

For casual burger cravings, there’s Five Guys just minutes from your doorstep. And for those a bit more discerning, you’re an easy walk from The Polo Club. I don’t have near enough disposable income to even try to grease my way into the exclusive bar, which sits directly opposite the neighbouring St. Regis New York. Yet I have no doubt The Peninsula’s very helpful concierge crew could have got me a booking at the last minute.

Design & Features

(Photo by The Peninsula)

The building itself, an emblem of old New York, is one of Fifth Avenue’s most visually satisfying landmarks. There’s something irresistible about that neoclassical style juxtaposed with all the stuffy boutiques of the world-renowned shopping strip.

Inside is very much what you’d expect. The gilded two-level foyer is framed by grand chandeliers and impressive floral displays, centred by an old-timey staircase that winds up the reception area and mirrors the ornate building. I veer to my right before the reception and end up in the beautiful Gotham Lounge. It’s empty so I don’t get to see how it operates at full tilt but the space is very attractive with its palette of sapphire, chocolate brown and molten chrome.

Masterworks by Keith Haring are on permanent display here, but I’ve read The Peninsula has such a deep connection to the art world that Gotham Lounge is quite busy year-round with rotating art exhibitions and residences.

While Gotham Lounge is a nice balance between opulence and intimacy, the rooftop bar is another story. This high-energy space, known as Salon de Ning, is a glowing Shanghai-themed favourite for well-heeled locals and gets major traction with the hotel’s wealthy guests. But more on that below.

Art is paramount at The Peninsula. Aside from the Haring works in Gotham Lounge, I spot several original works by Andy Warhol, Francesco Clemente and Jean-Michel Basquiat around the public spaces. This helps elevate the historic hotel, it’s just a shame some of that personality isn’t found in the otherwise supremely comfortable and generously sized guest suites.

In writing about the hotel’s features, I also want to give a nod to the surprisingly large and comprehensive fitness centre. The gym feels like the newest part of the building, large enough that it feels more than just another “hotel gym” in New York. And it connects to a heated indoor swimming pool, which is quite rare in New York. You won’t find many hotels in the city with any kind of pool. The best part is that both the gym and pool area are framed by stunning views of Manhattan. There’s even a terrace you can use and a space for group fitness classes.

I didn’t have enough time to go for a treatment at the Peninsula Spa or check out the hairdresser, both of which are no doubt incredibly pricey.


The Peninsula New York Review
(Photo by Chris Singh)

While I’ve seen photos of newer rooms across the hotel, my King Executive Suite looks very dated. I walk in via a large lounge room and feel like I could be anywhere in the world. There’s no personality or sense of place until you peer out the window and see the neighbouring high rises.

That being said, while the room lacks personality, the comfort and living space can’t be faulted. Neither can the large marble bathroom, which reflects the old-world opulence this hotel is known for.

While I’m sure there’s a refurbishment being planned somewhere down the line, I must say that the king bed is one of the most comfortable I’ve slept on at any hotel in New York City.

Food & Drink

Salon de Ning, New York
(Photo by The Peninsula)

Clement Restaurant & Bar has a good reputation in the city, but most locals heading to The Peninsula will do so for Salon de Ning. Although the theme, as above, is very much cemented in Shangai, the food is a mix of Chinese-inspired fare and Modern American.

I go straight for the New England lobster roll up here and have no regrets whatsoever, even if it doesn’t exactly give me the full picture of what Salon de Ning offers.


(Photo by The Peninsula)

Proper and attentive. The Peninsula is renowned for excellent, personable service and, like everywhere else in New York, it can pay to be a bit chatty with the people taking care of your stay.

I was to spend a few nights at the nearby Langham New York after my stay at The Peninsula, something I mentioned to reception upon checking out. At least two staff told me separately to say hi to their former colleague who had moved to The Langham recently. I did so and it scored me a room upgrade. Again, it pays to be chatty in New York.

Like most luxury hotels in New York, The Peninsula also has a car available for guests to use within a limited radius of Manhattan. Here, there’s not only a private chauffeur service but also a self-drive Mini Cooper S Clubman that guests can reserve for up to three hours per day. In Europe, they give you bikes. In New York, they give you cars.

Verdict & Value

The Peninsula New York Review
(Photo by The Peninsula)

If I was to try and book a few nights at The Peninsula New York for June 2024, I’d expect the lead-in rate to be around US$695 (AU$1,057). While those are the kind of eye-popping price tags you should expect for a luxury hotel in New York City nowadays, it’s hard to justify that kind of cost even if The Peninsula New York is an excellent hotel.

Yet I feel the heritage hotel does plenty of offer value. You’ve not only got direct access to one of New York’s best hotel gyms and swimming pools but a brilliant rooftop bar and importantly, a generous sense of space.

While the rooms may be in need of a refresh, they are quite large. Not the biggest I stayed at during my time in New York City, but generous enough that I’d expect to be paying a premium.

The Peninsula New York – Details

Address: 700 5th Ave, New York, NY 10019, United States
Contact: +1 212-956-2888

Rates at The Peninsula New York start from around AU$1,057 per night.

The author, Chris Singh, stayed as a guest of The Peninsula New York.

If you enjoyed this review of The Peninsula, check out our other New York content below:

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is the Peninsula New York?

The Peninsula New York is located on Fifth Avenue & 55th, just a few short minutes from The Polo Club, Central Park and MoMa.

How much is a night at the Peninsula New York?

One night at The Peninsula New York will cost you around US$695.

What did The Peninsula New York used to be?

The Peninsula New York was originally built in 1905 at Gotham Hotel.

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Chris Singh
Chris is a freelance Travel, Food, and Technology writer. He has had work published by The AU Review, Junkee Media and Australian Traveller Media and holds tertiary qualifications in Psychology and Sociology.


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