The hotels and resorts built by America’s turn-of-the-20th-century tycoons became the new gathering places of the affluent class. Several of the properties—including the Astor cousins’ Waldorf=Astoria and the Royal Hawaiian on Waikiki Beach—have retained their allure into the 21st century and remain among the country’s finest places to congregate.
The Breakers, Palm Beach, Fla.: With its stunning barrel-vaulted lobby ceiling, Flagler Club concierge level, L’Escalier restaurant, two pools, two golf courses, and beachfront location, this wonderfully preserved 560-unit resort continues to impress (from $260).
The Ritz-Carlton, Huntington Hotel & Spa, Pasadena, Calif.: Sparkling public spaces and verdant gardens are highlights of this 23-acre property in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains. Visitors reside in one of 336 guest rooms, 20 suites and cottages, and 36 Club-level rooms, the latter of which come with five daily food presentations including afternoon tea, evening caviar service, and late-night cordials (from $375).
The Royal Hawaiian, Waikiki Beach: The most luxurious accommodations at this 528-room beachfront haven are the Royal and King Kamehameha suites, but all of the Pink Palace’s 35 suites offer enhanced amenities such as Champagne delivery upon arrival. The newly renovated Tower Wing rooms feature panoramic views (from $395).
St. Regis, New York: This 258-room, 74-suite, Beaux Arts beauty offers 24-hour butler service and includes the refined but clubby King Cole Bar & Lounge. Guest room renovations, which are scheduled to be completed this fall, and a new Reméde spa promise to add luster to this classic (from $695).
The Waldorf=Astoria, New York: Double the size of the original Waldorf=Astoria, this 1931 Art Deco palace still stands among the finest accommodations in New York, largely because of the Waldorf Towers, a hotel within the hotel that contains 210 upgraded rooms and suites. The Bull & Bear is the most beautiful (and quite possibly the best) steak house in New York (from $299).