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Getting ready for the trek to New York City for the holidays? Whether it’s a few days of shopping, or taking in a few shows and just enjoying the spirit of the season at Radio City Music Hall and Rockefeller Center, a comfortable, smartly situated, stylish hotel makes the trip complete. The Alex, which opened last year, fills the bill perfectly. Just a few blocks from Grand Central Station in mid-town Manhattan, it’s a perfect location for shopping and museum trips. Acclaimed designer David Rockwell created a bold, cutting-edge look for the 33-story luxury tower. From the dramatic lobby to the high-style guest rooms, the Zen aesthetic here is influenced by three natural elements: earth, land and sky. Rooms and suites feature custom-designed furnishings and clever built-ins. In-room technology includes T1 Internet access, Sharp flat-screen AQUOS liquid crystal televisions (including one in the bathroom, at perfect eye level from the shower), stereo and DVD players. Mini-kitchens are equipped with a built-in Sub-Zero refrigerator (stocked with Veuve Clicquot and Aqua Vit, natch), Miele dishwasher and Gaggenau range. Linens, towels and bathrobes have been created exclusively for The Alex by Frette, and all body and bath amenities are signature Frederic Fekkai products. Downstairs, the hotel’s signature restaurant is the hot Riingo, a creation of celebrity chef Marcus Samuel-sson, of Aquavit fame. Of course, there are also a state-of-the art business center and fitness center staffed by a personal trainer. An added perk— the hotel is pet friendly! And don’t be surprised if you receive a hometown welcome: both the general manager and the director of sales are former Baltimoreans. Room rates from $450. 205 E. 45th St., 212-867-5100, http://www.the alexhotel.com

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