New York: Where to Stay: Grand: The Pierre, New York
The Pierre, New York
When the Pierre, one of the Upper East Side’s most legendary grande dame properties, closed for renovations almost two years ago, loyal visitors and locals mourned its absence, but everyone agreed that the somewhat chintzy interiors were in dire need of being brought into the 21st century. Thanks to a $100 million infusion, spearheaded by Taj Hotels company that purchased the property in 2005, the recently unveiled and revamped Pierre has lost none of its grandeur, but rooms and common areas exude a more contemporary elegance.
The location of the restored 1930s Georgian-style building, overlooking Central Park, remains unbeatable, and the best rooms are those that overlook the green expanses (number 2201, for instance, is a cozy superior with gorgeous views). The interiors of the 189 guest rooms and 49 suites were reimagined in a subtle palette of aquas, soft browns and muted pinks, and the bathrooms traded in their distinctly 1980s look (ie black-and-white checked tiles) for marble throughout. The design may be classic understated but well-chosen details, like original art, sumptuous silk throws and upholstered headboards, hint at grandeur; no wonder, since James Park Associates, the firm behind the redesign, has collaborated with Taj on such projects as the the Lake Palace Hotel, Udaipur and the Exotica Resort & Spa in the Maldives. Of course, high-tech details were incorporated throughout the hotel: the rooms all come with WiFi, flatscreen televisions, Bose surround sound and iPod docking stations.
Brides-to-be who have always dreamed of dinner and dancing in the Grand Ballroom need not fear: the imposing space was merely meticulously restored and polished, as was the historic rotunda, with its trompe l’oeil ceiling and wall paintings. What is new is the addition of cozy, club-style Two E Bar (the candle-lit space is a fabulous spot for a pre-dinner cocktail), which was created by Alexandra Champalimaud, one of the city’s preeminent hotel design gurus (her projects have included spaces in the Carlyle, the Dorchester, London, and the St. Regis, Beijing). The only space die-hard fans of the old Pierre may miss is Café Pierre, which has been completely redone and will open as Le Caprice in October. It’s the ultra-hip London restaurant’s first foray into the U.S. and interiors were created by Swedish designer Martin Brudnizki, whose portfolio includes some of the British capital’s most renowned hot spots (Scott’s, J Sheekey Oyster Bar, the Club at the Ivy). Le Caprice will undoubtedly bring some youthful new energy to this classic property—welcome to the Pierre, part deux. Rooms from $895.— Simone Girner 09/21/2009