New York City's Knickerbocker Hotel was opened in 1906 by John Jacob Astor, but that's just the beginning of its storied history. The martini is said to have been invented here, and its subterranean bar once had an underground doorway, so patrons could enter directly from the subway. Plus, its re-opening in 2014 gave Times Square something it didn't have — a true 5-star hotel.
After being used as offices and private residences from 1920 to 2013, a complete renovation transformed it into a plush property with coolly minimalist rooms, and a dramatic rooftop bar called St. Cloud, which lets guests sit within arm’s reach of the copper detailing on the mansard roof.
It also gives them a prime view of the Times Square ball drop on New Year’s Eve. Private "sky boxes," which occupy the roof’s corners, fetch dramatic premiums — $3,100 per person, with a minimum party size of six — on December 31, when the hotel throws its annual bash.