Angela Beitz travels back in time to a sophisticated Manhattan haunt where the upper echelons of society, both past and present, rendezvous…
Unique is a word that is used far too often these days but it’s simply the only way to describe The Carlyle, A Rosewood Hotel, as it’s truly one of a kind. Upon entering the hotel, you are immediately transported to a different time. A classic, old New York feeling washes over you and it’s hard to not be completely charmed. Timeless and iconic, it’s actually hard to believe that a hotel as special as this still exists today.
The Carlyle has been a timeless Manhattan mainstay since it was built in 1930. Designed by Bien & Prince and named after British essayist Thomas Carlyle, the hotel has served an impressive list of guests and visitors since it was opened. Every American president since Harry S. Truman has visited the hotel and President John F. Kennedy
maintained a suite on the 34th floor for a decade.
It’s even rumoured that Marilyn Monroe was snuck through the service entrance on the 77th Street to visit the then President after her famous rendition of “Happy Birthday” at Madison Square Garden. If The Carlyle walls could talk they’d certainly have some stories to tell. Everyone from royalty to Hollywood’s elite chooses the prestigious property when visiting New York and Woody Allen even plays clarinet each week in the Café Carlyle with the Eddy Davis New Orleans jazz band. You can’t get much more New York than that.
The 193 room hotel is set in an art deco style, keeping the theme of when it was built and the views of Central Park are simply breathtaking. There are also residences at this grand property and the lucky people that live here are also privy to all the services
that the hotel provides. We are taken up to our suite on the 11th floor by a smartly dressed elevator operator and enter our room which is classic, elegant and refined.
The room feels more like an Upper East Side apartment than your standard hotel room.
They’ve managed to maintain the old-world feeling of the hotel while still having every modern luxury available including huge plasma TV screens, iPod docking stations and excellent wifi. It’s the hotel’s amenities that really set it apart though: Kiehl’s beauty products, monogrammed bed linen for special guests and in some suites even boast grand pianos. A staff of 400 are ready to cater to your every need, 24 hours a day.
The property is brilliantly positioned, just off Madison Avenue, a block from Central Park and just a ten-minute walk to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. We spent a brilliant morning strolling Madison Avenue for some five-star shopping and then continued all the way down to 57th Street to visit the world-famous Barneys New York and Bergdorf Goodman. Bloomingdale’s and Henri Bendel are also not far from here so you certainly won’t be short of fabulous places to shop.
The jewel in the crown of The Carlyle would have to be its famous Bemelmans Bar. If the name sounds familiar, Ludwig Bemelmans wrote and illustrated the children’s book Madeline about a mischievous Parisian girl who lives in a vine-covered house in Paris. The Bemelmans Bar is decorated with murals depicting Madeline in Central Park, painted by the author. These are his only artworks on display to the public and instead of accepting payment for his work, he received 18 months of accommodation at the
prestigious hotel for him and his family.
“If The Carlyle walls could talk they’d certainly have some stories to tell. Everyone from royalty to Hollywood’s elite chooses the prestigious property”
The bar is busy pretty much every night and you’ll rub shoulders with everyone from socialites, business types, celebrities and documentary filmmakers. Bar tenders in tails will whip you up a fantastic mixed drink so be sure to try and snag a seat at the bar or
one of the intimate tables while listening to the live jazz band.
It’s really the amazing staff and old world touches that make this hotel so special. Staying at The Carlyle is a truly special experience and a worthwhile splurge that will stay in your memory for years to come.