Rooms, $775-$1,050; suites, $1,150-$20,000
N, Q, R at Fifth Ave.-59th St.; F at 57th St.
American Express, Diners Club, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
A $400-million gut renovation completed in 2008 transformed the landmark Plaza Hotel into a true five-star again after years of neglect. Guest floors were gutted down to the beams (and original hallway chandeliers), and rooms were rebuilt in a Louis-XV style echoing the hotel’s original 1907 design, down to the double-P logo doorknobs. Headboards are upholstered leather, desks are made of rare rosewood and walnut with detailed marquetry, and floors are covered in soft, blue-and-gold wool carpeting. There are modern touches, too—a wall-mounted panel allows guests to control lighting schemes or summon the floor’s white-glove butler—and bathrooms are more opulent still, with earth-toned mosaic-tile floors, white marble vanities, and 24-karat-gold-plated Sherle Wagner faucets. The Park-facing-half of the building is now comprised of condos, leaving just 282 guest rooms; more than half of those are part of the Plaza's fractional-ownership program in which an occupant reserves the room for 120 days a year. The French Renaissance exterior and large public spaces have city-landmark status, so instead of a complete makeover, the ornate stained-glass laylight atop the Palm Court was carefully recreated to mimic the unsalvageable original, and the gold-leaf ceiling in the foyer near the lobby (itself adorned with giant Baccarat crystal chandeliers and abstract-art prints) has been intricately restored.Pros
Butlers on every floor, below-ground retail including a Caudalie Spa and Radu fitness center, plus rare ivory, mother-of-pearl inlays, and intricately-veined marble at every turn. And of course, included in your room rate is the chance to be part of old New York.
Don’t expect breathtaking views of Central Park. The part of the building that faces the park is taken up by multi-million-dollar condos.
Claim to Fame
The Plaza is not only an indelible part of New York history, but a frequent backdrop in popular culture, appearing the “Eloise” book series and in films like Funny Girl, The Way We Were, and of course, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York.
Since 1929, the Plaza’s neoclassical ballroom has hosted legendary events such as Truman Capote’s Black & White Ball. Guests can mingle and marvel at the 4,800-square-foot space’s original chandeliers, mirrors, and sconces, while Great Performances—known for using locally grown organic produce—provides the catering. The hotel now offers a “100 Mile Menu” option for couples who want their ingredients sourced from local purveyors. Cakes are provided by Sylvia Weinstock or Ron Ben-Israel. From $350 to $450 per person.