Arrival/Check-In: “Welcome to The Plaza.” It’s a greeting I savor no matter how many times I hear it. There’s something heartwarming about pulling up to the curb in front of the iconic New York City hotel and knowing you’re checking in for the evening. Although a $450 million renovation and restoration (2005–2008) resulted in a new lobby configuration that is, perhaps, a bit less dramatic than its original layout, the upside is the Champagne Bar, a welcoming bistro-like setting where guests and visitors alike congregate to sip Champagne and specialty drinks, warm up with a cappuccino, snack on light bites or indulge in dessert. Passing through on the way to the front desk, it’s difficult to resist the urge to linger awhile.
Guest Quarters: As I stepped into my two-room suite, done in tones of cream, beige and gold, I was immediately embraced by the Louis XV-inspired décor. The sitting room featured two armchairs and a sofa (convertible to a queen-sized bed) centered on an oval coffee table. A spacious desk positioned in front of double windows provided a comfortable place to work with a view of the cityscape below. An expansive wall-mounted flat-screen television presided over the room. There was a powder room near the entrance. A marble bar top was set with silver service including an ice bucket and tray, and a butler’s pantry was equipped with a microwave oven, a wet bar and an under-counter refrigerator.
Two doorways flanking the wall holding the television opened to a delightful king-sized bedroom with a cubby hole-like seating area, adorable and inviting with a comfortable reading chair and ottoman. Side tables flanked the bed, which stood opposite a long bureau and another wall-mounted television. A dressing room opened on one side to a large closet and on the other side to a magnificent bathroom with a deep soaking tub and, the pièce de résistance, 24-karat gold-plated fixtures gracing white marble vanities. The bath was stocked with Caudalíe amenities, the same brand featured in the on-site spa.
Services/Amenities: Finding the on-site fitness center can be tricky, but it’s worth the effort. Equipment includes several ellipticals and treadmills; recumbent, upright and e-Spin bikes; and free weights and Cybex machines. The on-site Caudalíe Vinothérapie Spa is an oasis of relaxation. In addition to the Champagne Bar, dining options include The Palm Court, known for its Afternoon Tea. Be sure to make time for a visit to The Rose Club, a short flight of stairs up from the lobby; it’s the perfect spot for people-watching while sipping a cocktail or joining in conversation around the bar. While the legendary Oak Bar was not open during my visit, I understand plans are in place to re-open the hotel’s signature watering hole. While they didn’t make the GT Checklist, a few amenities, including an in-room coffeemaker, are offered upon request. Complimentary in-room WiFi is offered to Fairmont President’s Club members (membership is free), and guests receive one complimentary bottle of water upon check-in.
The Experience: Welcome to The Plaza. Need I say more?
[item check=yes]Less than 10 minutes for check-in[/item]
[item check=yes]Separate tub and shower[/item]
[item check=yes]Large vanity[/item]
[item check=yes]High-quality towels[/item]
[item check=yes]Powerful, unattached hair dryer[/item]
[item check=yes]High-quality bed linens[/item]
[item check=yes]Large, flat-screen television[/item]
[item check=yes]Large desk with convenient outlets[/item]
[item check=yes]Large, complimentary laptop safe[/item]
[item]Complimentary in-room WiFi[/item]
[item]Complimentary bottled water[/item]
[item check=yes]Stocked minibar[/item]
[item check=yes]Ample lighting[/item]
[item check=yes]Iron and ironing board[/item]
[item check=yes]On-site restaurant[/item]
[item check=yes]24-hour room service[/item]
[item check=yes]24-hour state-of-the-art fitness center[/item]
[item check=yes]Turn-down service[/item]
The Plaza Hotel New York
Fifth Avenue at Central Park South
New York, NY 10019
tel 212 759 3000
Step right up to the greatest show on Earth as FXExpress Publications, Global Traveler, trazeetravel.com and whereverfamily.com celebrate their 2020 award winners! Join the big top on Dec. 14 as we virtually award the winners of the 17th annual GT Tested Reader Survey awards, including the Airline and Hotel of the Year; the 17th annual Wines on the Wing Airline Wine Survey; the eighth annual Leisure Lifestyle Awards; the sixth annual The Trazees; and the third annual Wherever Awards.
I had just taken off my sandals, stepping onto the white-sand beach for a late-morning walk to a secluded spot I heard about from a front desk clerk, when I glanced down and saw the time on my phone. It had just turned 11 a.m., which meant it was only 7 am back home, the perfect time to call and say good morning to by husband before he left for work. Not quite ready to head back to my room, I decided I’d test the WiFi signal and made the call as I continued walking toward the shoreline.
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