Luxury is reasserting itself in New York and Boston. The new Ritz-Carlton New York, Battery Park provided a timely economic boost to Lower Manhattan and marked the return of the brand to the city after a four-year absence when it opened earlier this year. Its sister hotel, The Ritz-Carlton New York Central Park, formerly the St. Moritz hotel, re-opened with 277 rooms at the end of April.

And the original Ritz-Carlton also "returns" to Boston when it reopens this week to celebrate its 75th anniversary with a major restoration of the grande dame to its classic grandeur. The oldest Ritz-Carlton Hotel in continuous operation (before it closed for renovations) in the United States, it anchors Newbury Street in the heart of Back Bay. The Ritz-Carlton, Boston Common, a contemporary hotel, opened earlier this year just blocks from the original hotel.

Traditionalists will discover some of The Ritz-Carlton, Boston's most cherished features and personalities returning, including doorman Norman Pashoian, a welcoming fixture for 55 years, and Carlos Villalobos, who will continue at The Bar, serving his famed martini. The Dining Room, with its signature cobalt blue chandeliers and views, will be back, but the chef will be new: Tony Esnault, formerly at the acclaimed Dining Room of The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco. And, The Cafe, a popular "power dining" place since 1951, will continue that tradition after reopening. Unescorted women were not allowed to dine in The Cafe until the 1960s.