The Plaza in New York City has been considered one of the finest hotels in the world since it opened in 1907. In the intervening 111 years, it has been the choice of dignitaries, movie stars and royalty for lodging when visiting America’s most populous city. The quality of service and amenities, along with its extraordinary architectural beauty and stellar location, continue to attract guests who want a pampered and uncommon stay.
Where many of America's most famous people have stayed
The very first person to sign the guest register at The Plaza on October 1, 1907, had the last name of Vanderbilt, associated with immense wealth for generations. Members of royalty, United States Presidents, movie stars, best-selling authors, rock stars and well-known athletes have all walked through the lobby of this hotel. Some have even lived there for months at a time.
The Plaza has been featured in numerous movies, including Funny Girl, Sleepless in Seattle, The Way We Were, The Great Gatsby and most recently, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York.
Highly-publicized events have been held there, such as the wedding of then-President Richard Nixon’s daughter Julie to former President Eisenhower’s grandson David. Surely it was as close as the United States gets to a royal wedding.
The Plaza was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1986, specifically because of its stunning and lavish architecture. The gold-plated decorations, intricate ceilings, chandeliers, marble tilework and ornate staircases indicate that no expense was spared when the building was first planned and built. It is described as a French Renaissance style and boasts 20 stories. Originally it contained 805 guest rooms, but after extensive renovations in 2008, there are now 282 guest rooms and 152 condominiums.
Tall ceilings and heavy crown moldings are features of each guest room.
Exceptional amenities in each room
Butlers wearing white gloves are assigned to each guest room, offering nightly turndown service, shoeshines, unpacking or packing of luggage and almost anything a guest might request. In fact, a butler will bring a bucket of ice to your room when requested, because there are no self-service ice machines on each floor.
Rooms are cleaned twice daily by members of the housekeeping staff. A copy of the latest New York Times newspaper will hang in a bag outside the door every morning, and there are comfortable chairs for relaxing while watching the flat-screen television.
Closets are wood-paneled with plenty of drawers and storage. An in-room safe is provided for storage of valuables, and a fully-stocked snack shelf and refrigerator are provided with the prices listed.
Bed linens are of the highest quality and a pair of plush slippers await each guest.
Stunning bathrooms with gold-plated fixtures
The bathroom is spacious with a soaking tub, a separate shower, a separate commode closet and a sink, all with gold-plated fixtures by Sherle Wagner. The toiletries are spa quality, and the water in the shower can be controlled to the exact preference of each guest.
The bath towels, which are made of 100% Aegean Turkish cotton, are exceptionally long and plush. Then, guests can wrap themselves in thick, monogrammed bathrobes.
The floors and walls are made of gilded mosaic tiles with a swirling, floral pattern.
A surprising feature
Apple debuted iPads in 2010, and shortly afterward, The Plaza was the first hotel in the United States to incorporate them into their guest rooms. Using an iPad, guests are able to control the lighting and temperature in the room. They can also request services from the butler or the concierge, and they can access loads of information about the hotel and the surrounding attractions.
In-room dining 24 hours a day
One of the special luxuries of a stay at The Plaza is the availability of 24-hour meal and beverage service. The menu choices are extensive, and in a city like New York, often referred to as “the city that never sleeps,” it is a special convenience to be able to order food at any hour.
What could be better than an ice cream sundae right before bedtime, without ever leaving the comfort of your amazing room?
In the underground mall at the hotel, the Todd English Food Hall, along with The Plaza Food Hall, offer dozens of choices with many different cuisine styles for breakfast, lunch or dinner. This is open to the general public, in addition The Plaza guests.
The Palm Court is the hotel’s most lavish and well-known dining room. It serves breakfast and late-night drinks but is probably best-known for serving a formal Afternoon Tea to guests with coveted reservations each afternoon.
The stunning, stained-glass dome in the center is breathtaking, along with the towering palm trees and numerous potted plants.
The Plaza is at the entrance to Central Park, which is perfect for strolling or jogging. Three blocks away is Columbus Circle with a busy subway stop and the Time Warner Center for upscale shopping. A few steps from the front entrance is the immense Bergdorf-Goodman store which leads the parade of fashion leaders along 5th Avenue. The flagship stores of retailers such as Tiffany’s, Cartier’s, Saks 5th Avenue, Louis Vuitton and dozens more can be found on that well-known street.
A short walk away is Rockefeller Center and Times Square.
Unsurpassed luxury worthy of a splurge
The Plaza is definitely at the top end of anyone’s travel budget and would be considered by all but the world’s most wealthy to be a tremendous splurge. Yet, when you consider all of its amenities and unique advantages, it is worth considering for a luxury trip to the Big Apple.
If you have a special occasion coming up, or if a stay at The Plaza has been on your Bucket List for a long time, maybe it’s time to make your reservations and enjoy the stay of your life. Don’t be surprised if you spot a member of the rich and famous set while you’re there, but don’t worry. The staff will treat you as if you were a member yourself.