Sunday, August 28, 2011

Barefoot in the Park

For some, the Plaza Hotel conjures film images of Hubbell and Katie's chance meeting (The Way We Were, 1973), Roger Thornhill's bar of choice (North by Northwest, 1959), young Kevin McAllister's New York adventure (Home Alone 2, 1992), the chosen venue of brides Anne Hathaway and Kate Hudson (Bride Wars, 2009or perhaps my particular favorite, the honeymoon site for newlyweds Corrie and Paul Bratter (Barefoot in the Park, 1967). And for children (and adults old enough to remember), the famed location plays  home to author Kay Thompson's beloved Eloise, a six year old who lived in the hotel's penthouse.

Redford and Fonda in Barefoot in the Park

"The Only David X. Cohen in the book" - star crossed lovers in The Way We Were

Cary Grant at the Oak Bar in North by Northwest -
exterior and interior are real and the bar was shot on the soundstage

Anne Hathaway and Kate Hudson duke it out in Bride Wars
Macauley Culkin in Home Alone 2

Walter Mathau and Jean Stapleton in 1970's Plaza Suite 
Opened in 1907, the hotel has been the home to dignitaries, celebrities, well-heeled travelers and host to many a wedding (Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones) and the social event of the century, Truman Capote's Black and White Ball in 1966. It was even the occasional playground of F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald in the twenties. Imagine if those walls could talk.

Truman Capote at the Black and White Ball

Candice Bergen sans bunny mask
I was fortunate to be a guest at the iconic landmark this past month and with the exception of the Oak Bar (now under renovation), I had not visited the Plaza since the sale and renovation. The hotel (now owned by Fairmont Hotels) underwent a major renovation in 2007 and while the rooms with the park view are primarily for those who purchase a residence, the hotel is still majestic and you cannot beat the Central Park South/Fifth Avenue location. (The apartment residences start at $2.5 million). The Palm Court is still open for formal tea and pastries under the 1800 square foot stain glass while a portrait of Eloise watches from the hallway. I particularly enjoyed the Assouline book boutique on the lobby's second floor as well and the one-of-a-kind Royal Plaza Suite comes equipped with a library from the store's selections in the event money is no object.

A portrait of Eloise resides in the hallway

The Eloise Suite
The Palm Court

Beaux Arts Design of the guestroom
Gilt and white mosaic tiled bathroom. Leaf pattern is said to be inspired by Central Park

It's safe to say the Plaza Hotel is perhaps one of the most popular hotel locations for Hollywood as noted by its resume -- The Great Gatsby, Cotton Club, Arthur, King Of New York, Funny Girl, Love at First Bite, Almost Famous, and Crocodile Dundee just to name a few. Gossip Girls and Friends featured the location on the small screen and fans of Sex and the City no doubt recognize the homage paid to The Way We Were (Mr. Big's engagement party) or Samantha picking up a "senior citizen" in the Oak Bar.

And thanks to the wonderful staff at the Plaza -- I enjoyed being a grown up Eloise for a couple of nights.

For more about the Plaza Hotel and its illustrious history, see the website here.

Hotel lobby and bar
Royal Plaza Suite boasts a state of the art Viking kitchen, dining room for twelve and a grand piano 

Royal Terrace Suite

Photo Credits: Columbia, Universal, 20th Century Fox, Plaza Hotel


  1. The Rich get Richer...

  2. LOL and yes they do!!! That never seems to change does it?!