N.Y.’s iconic Pierre Hotel maintains its grandeur and glory

For generations of the quieter, upper reaches of the rich and famous, The Pierre Hotel on Manhattan’s Upper East Side was the place to lay down their gilded heads, the grande dame of New York hotels, and one of the best run establishments in the world. It was here, in fact, that your ENTREE Editor as a young man first spent the night in a New York hotel and was agog with the splendor of this haunt of the crème de la crème.

This Beaux Arts landmark sits proudly on Fifth Avenue across the street from Central Park and a mile from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Within a short walk are Madison Avenue’s chicest boutiques and smartest restaurants. Now run by the top-notch Taj Group of India in a way that would suit even the most discerning maharajah, the hotel still shimmers with magical beauty and delivers outstanding blue-blooded hospitality.

When it opened in 1930, The Pierre had as its goal to create the ambiance of a private club or residence instead of the average hotel atmosphere. Two weeks later, a gala dinner given by hotel founder, Charles Pierre Casalasco himself, marked the official grand opening. New Yorkers were impressed, and the top tier of society turned out to taste a bill of fare prepared by 85-year-old August Escoffier. This “father of French cuisine” led culinary operations at The Pierre in its early years. The Pierre fast became the toast of New York, with a 1930s guide describing the hotel as “a monument of beauty and one of the most majestic structures in all New York. The Pierre caters to only those of refined tastes who can afford the best in the way of hotel luxury.”

We are happy to say the same white glove standards are being upheld today. You can expect sophisticated decor, celebrated cuisine and unforgettable events at The Pierre because they are dedicated to setting the highest levels for timeless elegance and unrivaled hospitality in New York City.

We recently made The Pierre our New York headquarters and reveled in princely splendor. The Pierre has always felt more residential than most hotels and that is because it is home to some of New York’s most distinguished families who own their own lavish apartments in the landmark building. Security is tight, one reminder being the elevator operators, still real people (and gracious ones, too) not machines> No assembly-line sterility here.

The first thing one notices at The Pierre is that it is quiet, almost club-like. While the atmosphere is grand with very high ceilings, polished marble and fine antiques, the hotel sparkles with the latest state-of-the-art improvements and management is keen to keep it current. Our accommodations evoked a spacious residential feel with elegant grace and beautiful Manhattan views. Choose from 189 rooms to suites, 350 to enormous 1150 sq. ft. suites, all tastefully done in soothing soft palette colors. Completing our room was a deliriously soft king-size bed, a thoughtful chaise perfect for lounging, Bose Wave Studio radio featuring Bluetooth connectivity and alarm clock. An executive writing desk and chair was located next to the bed. An armchair with side table, newly upgraded 50″ 4K TV featuring mirroring, content streaming and access to hotel services, and console with minibar was located across the bed. The marble bathroom featured a pedestal sink, glass enclosed shower, bathtub, plush bathrobes and towels and luxurious Etro amenities. Heaven.

Inside The Pierre we ate happily at Perrine, a French-American eatery offering raw-bar items and seasonal fare, as well as new takes on classic dishes inspired by the hotels’ storied past. Perrine demonstrates how hotel dining can rise on its own steam and conviviality. Perrine does not have a celebrity no-show chef but is very much all of its own style and very close to what classic New York glamour should be about. Our lusty, richly spiced beef short ribs with a sweet parsnip puree and roasted romanesco sauce was out of this world as was the crunchy char-grilled octopus. And the wine list—exquisite. Service was right on the mark.

We also enjoyed a snack at The Pierre’s most iconic room–The Rotunda—where afternoon and supper dining against the stunning backdrop of hand-painted murals, a fresco-covered ceiling and grand staircase set the mood. Maine Lobster Tartine and Welsh Rarebit were done to perfection and we could not keep our eyes of the splendid vintage hand-painted murals by artist Edward Melcarth. We also indulged in Traditional Afternoon Tea at Two E Bar & Lounge and savored Two E’s Tiffin service as well
featuring a selection of small bites and homemade sweets with Indian and Taj flair. We are told entertaining weekly shows featuring the brightest stars of Broadway cabaret and jazz are held here from time to time but we did not partake.

The Norclaire Spa at The Pierre Hotel in the celebrated Dominique Salon has a devoted clientele seeking serene a surrounding for personalized pampering for all beauty needs. Treatments include classic facials, special collagen and seaweed masks, eye, chin and neck care, glycolic exfoliation and microdermabrasion, reflexology, exclusive mani/pedis and even oxygen therapy.

While we were guests at The Pierre, a lavish wedding was taking place in The Grand Ballroom, one of the most sought-after venues in Manhattan. This majestic room has played host to high society weddings, illustrious galas, haute couture fashion shows, and prestigious corporate conferences for many many years and for good reason: its theatrical setting is magical and stunning food, drink and service prevail here.

Staying at The Pierre gives one a sense that all is right with the world. Home was never so good. Charm and reserve reign here. The sharp staff convey the feeling you are an honored guest in a special private residence. This old gal has lost none of her nostalgic appeal and old fashioned comfort yet delivers an exceptional modern experience, solidly elegant, yet totally 21st century with a very kind staff. What more could anyone want in a hotel?

The Pierre, A Taj Hotel is the only AAA Five Diamond and Forbes Five-Star rated property on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. A complimentary buffed hotel Jaguar purrs outside the front door to whisk guests (subject to availability) around town and an award-winning Les Clefs d’Or Concierge team are eager and super competent to meet all requests. Complimentary parking for Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles (like The Pierre and Taj Hotels, Jaguar Land Rover is part of the Tata Group family of companies). Visit http://www.thepierreny.com to learn more about this unique oasis of grace, charm and comfort.

News flash: PIERRE STORIES—The Pierre launches new pop-up gallery and social media campaign celebrating 89-year history:
All the glamour, celebrations, romance and exceptional five-star service of The Pierre are be showcased in the new Pierre Stories gallery — an exhibition of hotel memorabilia that captures the legacy and heritage of one of New York’s most enduring landmark hotels. “As we look forward to The Pierre’s 90th anniversary next year, we are proud and excited to celebrate the hotel’s storied past,” said General Manager Francois-Olivier Luiggi. “Pierre Stories is a personally curated collection that traces each decade of our history and gives both guests and visitors a chance to rediscover what has made The Pierre such a beloved icon.” Thoughtfully curated with input from hotel staff led by Mr. Luiggi, the gallery includes original menus that date back to the one-and-only Escoffier; photos of celebrity events and weddings; china and glassware that evoke another time; vintage advertisements and hotel memorabilia. Visitors can also enjoy a video featuring scenes from movies filmed at The Pierre including Scent of a Woman, Joe Vs. The Volcano, Trainwreck and Oceans 8. Guests are invited to share their own memories using the hashtag #PierreStories.

In addition, the hotel is launching an exciting campaign this fall. Beginning in January and through September 2020, guests will be encouraged to send in personal memorabilia from their stays. All participants who share mementos will be automatically entered to win one of several grand prizes including a two-night stay in the hotel’s 39 th floor Tata Presidential Suite and VIP tickets to the acclaimed Broadway “At The Pierre” cabaret series. Guests are invited to share their own hotel memories on social media using the hashtag #PierreStories. Located in the 61st Street lobby of the hotel, the Pierre Stories gallery is open to the public from 9 a.m.-9 p.m. daily.

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