The year before The Pierre opened in 1930, this headline appeared in The New York Times:
Pierre Hotel to rise on Gerry Home site, $15-million building of 41 stories to replace mansion at Fifth Avenue and 61st Street. Building to have club atmosphere.
Seventy-seven years later, The Pierre is one of New York City’s grand dames. And walking through its revolving doors, it still has that club atmosphere. When was the last time you went up to your room accompanied by a uniformed elevator operator?
That’s The Pierre!
The Pierre has undergone numerous face lifts over the years. In 1959, it became a cooperative, with permanent residents assuming ownership and whose apartments are scattered throughout the 200-room hotel. It was a Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts property from 1981-2005, when Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces assumed management of The Pierre.
The most impressive rooms are the 11 Grand Suites, including The Presidential Suite and The Park Suite, which boast unobstructed views of Central Park. The Charles Pierre Suite (named after original owner Charles Pierre Casalasco) has a 900-square-foot terrace, perfect for outdoor entertaining. Since the Grand Suites were formerly private residences, they features original paintings and sculptures, silk tapestries and polished marble tile floors. All suites have large living rooms, pantries and private bars.
The Pierre offers such services as in-suite shopping provided by Barneys New York and a theater desk in the lobby. The multilingual staff speaks 35 languages and offer such 24-hours services as concierge service, room service, valet parking, laundering service and business service. Moulton Brown amenities may be found in the bathrooms and Marcolini chocolates are the hotel’s sweets of choice. And don’t be surprised when the doorman greets you by your name.
The Cafe Pierre evokes nostalgia for Old New York. It’s chic and sophisticated and serves contemporary French cuisine in a room bathed in regal decor. In years past, it was a retreat for Jimmy Stewart, Spencer Tracy, Frank Sinatra and Joe Di Maggio. But it’s the Rotunda that is the signature room of The Pierre. Its famous trompe l’oeil murals by American artist Edward Melcarth are the perfect backdrop for breakfast, afternoon tea or cocktails. Look closely and you’ll see such figures as Neptune and Venus along with a woman resembling Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, accompanied by her young children and a man in a Nehru jacket.
Classic English tea is served every day in the Rotunda, and the Full Tea includes Harney and Son’s teas, assorted tea sandwiches, freshly baked scones with Devonshire cream, homemade preserves and a selection of tea cakes and savorites. They are all presented on delicate three-tier silver trays and fine china.
The Grand Ballroom in the Georgian-style building was one of the shooting locales for Scent of a Woman. Remember that famous tango scene?
I poked my head in and looked for Al Pacino, but to no avail.
I’ll be back.
The Pierre’s rates range from $610 for a Superior Room to $3,800 for the Presidential Suite. Special weekend packages and seasonal rates are available. The Pierre is a member of The Leading Hotels of the World.
All photos of The Pierre and New York City by Sue Frause.