Last weekend, I had the incredible honor of being invited to stay at one of New York City's finest and most iconic hotels since the 1930s. Situated at the southeastern tip of Central Park, The Pierre boasts an unrivaled address and has housed some of the most illustrious events and celebrities such as Elizabeth Taylor and Yves Saint Laurent. It is abundantly clear that The Pierre is a NYC institution. It is the flagship hotel of Mumbai-based luxury hotel brand, Taj Hotels --- there are only 3 properties in the USA, with most of the properties being in Asia. Taj Hotels oozes warm Indian hospitality with refinement and innovation. My stay at the Pierre was seamless, from check in to check out.
I flew in Friday afternoon via Norwegian Air (best low-cost international carrier, by the way) from Paris not knowing I was about to land into an impromptu and nasty storm. I endured the worse turbulence I had ever experienced and was just glad to be back on the ground. Apparently 2,000+ flights had been cancelled and I was lucky to have made it. I hopped into a cab en route to the city from Newark and was comforted by my Haitian driver who proceeded to speak French to me for almost the duration of the ride. This was particularly pleasant because I was missing my husband and all things France so it was like I never left Paris. An hour and a half of relentless traffic and $110 later (cab ride prices from Newark are insane!), I was thrilled to finally arrive at the glorious Pierre Hotel.
The doormen and valet are critical to the hotel as they begin and influence how the rest of stay is going to fare. If there are any issues during this stage, it becomes progressively more difficult to improve upon the experience. I am happy to say even before I got out of the cab, a most dutiful doorman ran out to in the frigid rainstorm and swiftly retrieved my luggage from the trunk. With hospitality running through my blood, I offered to help, but he insisted I rush inside to warm up.
I can usually tell a lot about a hotel by its lobby. The lobby was interesting. Olive green sofas and and black + white marble flooring. It was a quiet space and surrounded by neon green and orange art deco paintings. There are two entrances: one sits on Fifth avenue, right across from Central Park. The main entrance is on E 61st street. The interior is Neo-Georgian - gilded moldings, stone pilasters, and all the classic details. As you reach reception, you're greeted with the most beautiful amaryllis and cherry blossoms. I am a huge fan of floral lobbies because they are wonderful feng shui. Cherry blossoms are known as the best cure for romance and marriage. No wonder The Pierre oozes romanticism. The intoxicating smell floated throughout the hotel. A young gentleman named Rahmzi cheerfully checked me in, delivering news that I had been upgraded to their Park View Room on the 35th floor. Believe me, after a rough 8 hour flight, I was ready to sink into my lavish room.
PS - don't forget to catch a glimpse of the celestial rotunda, covered by trompe l'oeil paintings.
The Pierre prides itself on its white glove, old school formality. Have you ever stayed in a hotel with elevator attendants? This was a first for me and experiencing this felt like I was stepping back into time, experiencing the lost luxuries of life. I met some of the bubbliest people. They all got a kick out of spending their whole day operating an elevator, while greeting and getting to know people from all over the world. I smell a book here :)
35 floors later...
Though not a suite, the room was spacious, averaging 320 square feet. It was night time so I was greatly anticipating the next morning to see the sweeping views of Central Park. I was greeted by some fresh glass bottles of Evian and Perrier and a fruit basket. The fruit, unfortunately, was looking rather tired, but I did enjoy the grapes. Overall the room was cozy, elegant and old world refined. Since the hotel has been around for a while, I should add that I believe they've maintained the rooms incredibly well.
The bed looked like a dream. I was battling 6 hours time difference (not bad) but I resisted the temptation to plop myself in the bed. The mattress was pillow-topped (just the way I like it) but if you prefer a firmer bed, that could be arranged. Turn down service was already done - comforter turned down, slippers and bottled water out. I hadn't noticed the gorgeous silk pillow covers tucked away. I appreciated the touches of Indian style in the room.
You'll find a Turkish marble bathroom equipped with Etro bath amenities - divine- and fluffy white towels and robe. Check out the fragrance Rajasthan (amber, Turkish rose, pink pepper, to name a few of the notes). I loved it so much, I brought it home with me and I'm planning to order more from their site. The bath was small but I liked the giant rain shower head and the crystal bathroom glasses.
Before I was ready to turn in for the night, I realized I had forgotten my toothpaste. Housekeeping immediately brought me a travel sized dental kit, equipped with a toothbrush, toothpaste, floss and mouthwash, all delivered in a Pierre white pouch. Nifty!
I slept like a baby that evening. :)
Catch the rest of my room tour below!
The next morning I woke up to sweeping views of Central Park. I literally watched the sunrise in awe. Profoundly grateful to call this my life.
Two E Bar Lounge - a play on words on The Pierre's location, 2 E 61st street - is an intimate, sexy, art deco lounge and bar, serving their well sought after afternoon high tea and vibrant cocktails in the evening, accompanied by jazz music. The night I arrived, The Pierre treated me to some cocktails so I made a night of it and invited my friend Lauren (our literary agent's lovely Filipina wife and now dear friend) over for a proper catch up, laughing over champagne and munchies. Shout out to Julian for keeping an eye on us.
24 hour Fitness Center + Business Center
Room Service - The Pierre now has their own very app to order room service on your smartphone. Swift delivery, too!
I had the fluffiest chocolate chip pancakes along with the most refreshing raspberry + banana smoothie. The eggs benedict was good, but not the best I've had. The Hollandaise sauce was very good, making it better. The applewood bacon and pork sausage were scrumptious!
Pets under 15 lbs free
Complimentary house car (Jaguar)
Free wifi throughout
Clef D'Or concierge - the symbol of service excellence
The most colorful and exotic crudité platter delivered to me by surprise by the incredible and deeply talented Executive Chef, Ashfer Biju. The fusion of Indian and Japanese cuisine seriously had me salivating. Hummus, smoked salmon, capers, cucumbers, celery, carrots, chocolates oh my! Paired with an energizing mango smoothie, I felt ready to take on the day!
I laugh thinking about all the food I consumed during my stay. The hotel thought Gregory was joining me on this trip, hence all the generous food. They obviously didn't know they had a foodie in residence and had no problem eating for the both of us! I wish I could have eaten everything; I absolutely hate wasting food.
Should I Stay Or Should I Go?
I think everyone should experience the magic of The Pierre at least once if you want to take a walk down memory lane in the world of iconic NYC hotels. The moment you walk in, you are transported to high society, old school NYC glamour and elegance. Outstanding hospitality takes center stage here. It fills my heart to know that these experiences are accessible to a millennial like me. The staff and quality of service here is unparalleled. I deeply respect that The Pierre hasn't changed to accommodate the ever-changing travel industry. This, ladies and gents, is a class act hotel. I would like to return soon to experience their iconic afternoon tea with a glass of one of my favorite champagnes, Taittinger, and to attend the jazz and broadway shows at Two E!
Special Kudos to the unsung heroes of the hospitality industry...
Hector - Thank you for the lovely room service set up and hotel banter. The most interesting part of my room service experience was when I tried to tip him, he refused. Hector explained that the gratuity was already added on the bill and that he did not feel comfortable taking my tip, knowing I was already being charged for it. As a seasoned traveler and frequenter of luxury hotels (I mean, I do read the small print in everything), I was already well aware of that fact and genuinely wanted to tip Hector because of his superb service. Alas, he still did not accept the tip and pointed out that so many hotels do NOT verbalize this to their guests. Basically, what people end up doing is mindlessly sign their room service tab, tipping TWICE. Hector has worked at The Pierre for 38 years and loves every minute of it.
Khady - The effervescent elevator attendant. Always ready with a smile and known for her sparkly, gem studded glasses. Thank you for remembering my room floor! That can't be easy with all the guests! Khady has worked at The Pierre for 24 years.
Philip + Slavic - Thank you for carrying in my luggage and for the authentic conversations.
Jay Poblador - The cordial Director of Restaurants at Perrine. He delivers the Filipino hospitality loud and proud :) Thanks for introducing me to the delicious Don Papa rum last August. when I had the pleasure to dine at Perrine. For those who don't know Don Papa, get your hands on it ASAP. It is a delicious premium aged rum from the Philippines, sourced from the lush hills of Mt Kanlaon, where the finest sugarcane is produced. I am salivating just writing this!
Ashfer Biju - He is the face of The Pierre's unbeatable hospitality. His passion for colorful food and life is contagious.
Last but not least, big gratitude to Melissa Braverman, The Pierre's exceptional Marketing Executive. She is the queen of CRM. Thank you for making this terrific experience possible for me and for looking after me since August, when I first reached out to you and you kindly invited me to dine at Perrine. I have completely fallen in love with the Taj hotel brand. It's been a super love affair. And thanks to you, I have found friends for life at The Pierre and another home away from home in the Big Apple.
Ready to enjoy a sumptuous stay on your next NYC getaway?
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The Pierre Hotel
2 E 61st St, New York, NY 10065
Are you a huge Jazz + Broadway fan? The Pierre is now holding regular Broadway and Jazz nights in Two E!
In addition to weekly jazz Thursday/Friday/Saturday nights with their artist in residence Antonio Ciacca, The Pierre have launched a monthly Icons of Jazz series, featuring special guest performers.
How Perfectly Pierre!