Antonia Peck enjoys an opulent stay in one of the city’s grandest hotels.
You could stay in trendier parts of New York and a hotel more suited to women in their mid-twenties, but it was my friend’s first time in New York and I wanted her to experience the city at its most elegant. The hotel experience needed to be a treat and not a trend-led hotel that however ‘cool’ could have been anywhere in the world. So we decided to stay near Park Avenue (for her love of shopping) and near Central Park (for a bit of inner-city calm). With this in mind, why not stay in a hotel like The Pierre, with an eighty-year pedigree, in a building originally owned by a Getty?
The doormen at the Pierre wore fur hats with double-breasted coats and opened our taxi door, greeting us warmly as they took our bags into the opulent lobby despite the increasingly heavy snowfall. We checked in and had a quick peek at the cocktail bar before proceeding up to our suite in the art-deco lift (with lift-attendant in white gloves). It was past midnight but the hotel staff welcomed us with cheerful smiles and old-fashioned charm.
Our room was at the back of the hotel and on the eleventh floor; the view was non-descript but unimportant (other rooms have spectacular views of Central Park). The soft cream furnishings, high ceilings, seal grey sofas and red-orange trimmed cushions created a warm and considered atmosphere.
However, our first night at the hotel was all about the beds (having just arrived from JFK airport). These single beds were kitted out with the softest linens imaginable. According to my friend, it was like being ‘kissed by clouds.’ Like a great massage, the sheets at the Pierre melted the muscles and calmed the mind. As the snow continued to fall (19 inches of the stuff by morning) we nested in these beds and stretched out our toes with glee.
Our first breakfast at The Pierre saw us seated at a lovely table in the hotel’s brasserie style restaurant – Le Caprice (part of Richard Caring’s group). A lot has been made of Le Caprice being a London restaurant in New York but it felt perfectly at home in its Upper East Side location. Original prints of Jean Shrimpton in New York, captured by David Bailey, lined the walls in a nod to the ‘NYLON’ connection and the restaurant was filled with important-looking executive diners conducting meetings or showing off their latest accessories. Anna Wintour, Ivanka Trump and Jennifer Lopez have all dined here.
After breakfast, we explored the hotel – looking in amazement at their impressive conference, ballroom and state-of-the-art gym (complete with grand paintings and Persian-inspired interiors). The massage room lay beyond for post-workout treatments and bottles of water, bowls of fruit and a ballet bar were all available for guests to use at leisure.
Before venturing out into the snow for our first official day in New York, we decided to do three very girlie things to welcome ourselves into the hotel. The first was to turn on our room’s Bose-wave iPod system and listen to Alicia Keys’ Empire State of Mind, whilst dancing around our suite in fluffy white Pierre slippers. The second was to crack open some seriously expensive Dylan’s Candy Bar gummy bears (it was 11am in the morning – so a little early for Champagne!). We ended our impromptu slumber party with an episode of Gossip Girl on our flat screen TV until we were finally ready to take on snowy New York – fur coats at the ready!
About The Pierre
The Pierre, on Fifth Avenue overlooking New York’s Central Park, first opened in 1930. The iconic hotel with 189 guestrooms, including 49 suites, was acquired by Taj Hotels Resorts & Palaces as the luxury chain’s U.S. flagship in 2005. The Pierre, a member of Leading Hotels of the World, reopened on June 1st 2009, following a $100 million renovation programme.
Rates begin at $895.