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Saturday, July 27, 2013

What, another swank hotel? Yes, the Hotel Pierre on Fifth Avenue...

I have to admit I have never stayed at the Hotel Pierre, but I have been to a lot of functions there ( in one of their swank public rooms I heard Henry Kissinger reminisce about his whole life in an address to an audience of business executives...what a canny, sharp man. Also understand he hired lots of other people to do his legwork for him. And he changed our whole relationship with China almost single-handedly...

But this is about the Hotel Pierre, another landmark which is worth visiting somehow even of you are not staying there.

First, from Wikipedia:

The Pierre is a luxury hotel located at 2 East 61st Street at the intersection of Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, New York City, facing Central Park. The hotel opened in 1930, and was later acquired by Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces of India. Standing 160 meters tall, it is located within the Upper East Side Historic District as designated in 1981 by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission.



Charles Pierre Casalasco left his father's restaurant in Ajaccio, Corsica, where he had started as a busboy,[1] assumed Charles Pierre as his full professional name, and began work at the Hotel Anglais in Monte Carlo.[2]

The Rotunda
Pierre went on to study haute cuisine in Paris, and he later traveled to London where he met the American restaurateur, Louis Sherry, who offered Pierre a position. After Pierre arrived in New York as a 25-year-old immigrant, he made his first mark as first assistant at Sherry's Restaurant and became professionally acquainted with members of the Social Register, as well as newer millionaires like J. P. Morgan and the Vanderbilts. After nine years at Sherry's,[3] Pierre left, first for the Ritz-Carlton on Madison Avenue at Forty-sixth Street, then opening his own restaurant on Forty-fifth Street immediately west of Fifth Avenue, and finally at Pierre's on Park at 230 Park Avenue.
At the height of his success, dissatisfied with the increasing democratization of public manners, Pierre sold his restaurant and entered a joint venture with a group of Wall Street financiers, "among them Otto H. Kahn, Finley J. Shepherd (who had married Helen Gould), Edward F. Hutton, Walter P. Chrysler, and Robert Livingston Gerry, Sr. (the son of Elbridge Thomas Gerry, lawyer, philanthropist and grandson of Elbridge Gerry, the inventor of 'gerrymandering')".[4]
The 714-room Pierre Hotel that rose forty-two stories on the site of the Gerry mansion at the corner of Fifth Avenue and 61st Street allowed for unrestricted views of Central Park. It cost $15 million (approximately $210 million in 2012) to build and opened to grand fanfare in October 1930. The hotel was designed by the New York firm of Schultze and Weaver as a skyscraper that rises in a blond-brick shaft from a limestone-fronted Louis XVI base.[5] Its topmost floors render it an easily-recognizable landmark on the New York skyline; they are modeled after Mansart's Royal Chapel at Versailles, a system of Corinthian pilasters and arch-headed windows, with octagonal ends, under a tall, slanted, copper roof that is pierced with bronze-finished bull's-eye dormers. New York society turned out to attend the gala dinner that marked the opening of The Pierre; it was prepared by Auguste Escoffier, "the father of French chefs", who served as a guest chef at The Pierre in its early years.
As markets continued to collapse during the Great Depression, The Pierre went into bankruptcy in 1932. The oilman, J. Paul Getty, bought it for about $2.5 million in 1938 (approximately $40.8 million in 2012) and subsequently sold many cooperative apartments in the building.
The Pierre was the scene of the Pierre Hotel Robbery in 1972.
Today, the hotel contains 189 guest accommodations, including forty suites, and thirteen grand suites. Dining options in the hotel include the restaurant Sirio located off Fifth Avenue and the 2E Lounge off the Main Lobby of the hotel.


The Pierre came under the management of the Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts in 1981. In its 75th anniversary year in 2005, The Pierre became a Taj Hotel as Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces, a global chain of fine luxury hotels and resorts, succeeded as the new lessee and operator. Taj Hotels is part of India's Tata Group.[6]
In 1959, seventy-five apartments were sold to a cooperative of private residents, while The Pierre's owner at that time, J. Paul Getty, retained control of the hotel's services and guest rooms. Among the permanent residents at The Pierre have been Elizabeth Taylor, Viacom entertainment-company chairman Sumner Redstone, Mohamed al-Fayed, then the owner of Harrods, and the late designer Yves Saint-Laurent. Thirteen of the apartments have since become "grand suites".

The Pierre rises over Central Park
A triplex co-op that occupies the top three floors was placed on the market in 2003, with a pricetag of $70 million.[7] This 11,000-square-foot (1,000 m2) apartment features five bedrooms, four terraces, a paneled library, a wine cellar, a black Belgian-marble staircase and the hotel's former ballroom with 23-foot (7.0 m) high ceilings. It was originally purchased by the hedge-fund manager Martin Zweig, from publishing heiress Mary, Lady Fairfax, in 1999 for $21.5 million. With its $70 million price tag payable in full at purchase, the co-op was listed in 2006 in Forbes Magazine as the eighth-most expensive home in the world,[8] fourth-most expensive home in the United States,[9] and second-most expensive home in the Northeastern United States in 2006.[10]
The board of directors has turned-down two would-be buyers.[11] The penthouse returned to the market in March 2013 for an asking price of $125 million.[12]

In popular culture

The Pierre has frequently appeared as a setting in films and in television series.
  • The tango scene in the film Scent of a Woman was shot in the Pierre's Cotillion Ballroom.
  • The Pierre is mentioned in the play The Heidi Chronicles, and some of the action is set there.
  • Aerial shots of the Pierre penthouse exteriors were used as Anthony Hopkins character's New York residence in Meet Joe Black.[13]
  • The Pierre was referenced in the M*A*S*H episode called "The Party" in season 7, in which the relatives of the main characters get together at the hotel.
  • In The Sopranos episode "In Camelot," Fran Felstein tells Tony Soprano about President John F. Kennedy's invitation to rendezvous at The Pierre Hotel, and how a steel workers strike aborted those plans.
  • In an early episode of Mad Men season 1, while apartment shopping, Pete Campbell's wife Trudy remarks that the sink of the master bathroom is the same as in The Pierre. In season 2, Roger Sterling's wife Mona mentions that the two had their wedding reception at The Pierre. In the season 3 finale of the show, Sterling Cooper Advertising becomes Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce and relocates to room 435 of The Pierre.
  • In the 2009 film Grey Gardens, Edith Bouvier "Little Edie" Beale has her d├ębutante ball at the hotel, a true story.
  • In the Real Housewives of New York City, cast member Ramona Singer had her commitment ceremony at The Pierre.
  • The Pierre also appears several times in episodes of CSI:NY (Season 6, Episode 10: "Death House"; Season 7, Episode 2: "Unfriendly Chat").

And now to Yelp....I wonder what we will find...Yelp gives it four stars but I doubt everyone will agree with that...well , let's go see

The Pierre

4.0 star rating
22 reviews Rating Details
Category: Hotels  [Edit]
2 E 61st St
New York, NY 10065
Neighborhood: Upper East Side
(212) 838-8000
Nearest Transit Station:
5 Av/59 St (N, Q, R)
59 St (4, 5, 6, 6X)
Lexington Av/59 St (N, Q, R)
Price Range:
Accepts Credit Cards:

Review Highlights   What's this?

  • " take full advantage of both Central Park and shopping Fifth Ave." In 6 reviews
  • "This a beautiful and classic hotel in a wonderful section of the city." In 2 reviews
  • "Partaking in afternoon tea was well worth it, just to spend a couple..." In 1 review
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22 reviews in English

  • Review from

    • 99 friends
    • 23 reviews
    Hands down the best hotel I have stayed at. Stayed here the first time I went to New York and what an experience. Was there for 4 nights and the services was outstanding. The icing on the cake for my girl friend and I was when we were heading out to catch a cab for dinner, the door man waved up the brand new Jaguar hotel car to take us to the restaurant. Will be staying here again next time in New York!
  • Review from

    This is a review about the food served in the ballroom. I attended a charity event.

    The food wasn't anything special, but I understand that it's not easy to cook gourmet dishes for 600 hundred plus people.

    The place is absolutely gorgeous, though.
  • Review from

    1/23/2013 1 check-in here
    I don't know much about the Pierre, but it looks like it was built around the same time as the Park Plaza, but it is much smaller.  Great neighborhood and convenient to everything at the southern end of Central Park.

    The hotel's service is cheerful and attentive.  The rooms have been remodeled but still look old-fashioned and are decorated tastefully and plush without being ostentatious.  The bathroom was large, full of marble, and the shower was a stand-up with a fantastic shower head!  There was a separate bathtub too.

    The function area was beautiful, we attended a banquet.  The food was typical banquet food, nothing to write home about but not bad either.
  • Review from

    4/5/2012 4 photos
    I just can't justify the $800/room price. Yes it is right near central park and yes they have people who work the elevator for you all day long, but gosh, 800 dollars for a room? It is just not worth it at all.

    The rooms are great, I admit, but they're not 800 dollars great. They're more like 300 dollars great. (Check out the pics.) The bed, temperature control, blinds and curtains, TV and minbar, bathrooms, all were pretty awesome, but again, for one night at 800 dollars, they could have been a LOT better. Do the rooms have doorbells? Yes. Does that warrant $800/room? NOPE.

    They do give you a nice safe, a nice closet, great bathroom and robes/slippers (although somewhat small if you're a big guy) and some of the rooms have a great view. The beds are pretty comfortable and the pillows were pretty nice too. The big TV (although only 720p) was nice too.

    Apart from the price, here are the things I actually did not like:

    1. The bed sheets felt like paper. Just incredibly starched dry and rough. I couldn't believe it. Every time I grabbed a sheet it just felt like paper and it was uncomfortable.

    2. The desk chair had no arm rests. I just don't understand how they expect you to use the chair all day and do work there when you don't even have arm rests on the chair, especially since most people will be using laptops and there isn't enough room on the desk to put your arms and use your laptop and sit in the chair comfortably. Kind of ridiculous.

    3. Another 10 bucks for internet? Seriously? 800 dollars for a room, and 10 more for internet? Wait, seriously? 10 bucks more for internet? When there are free hotspots that show up in the area? Again, 800 dollars for a room, and 10 more for internet?? Silliness I tell you, just plain silliness.

    4. They gave me a keycard to the wrong room and I walked in on a lady coming out of the bathroom. Never had that happen to me before. Hope it never does again.

    5. Some of the floors even though they are non-smoking floors, still smell a bit like smoke. Room smell was fine though.

    If it seems like I can't get over the price well that's because I really can't. I have stayed in nicer rooms for much less. This hotel is for people who don't want to stay near Times Square, have an endless supply of money, who want to pay top dollar for the entire old-world charm of the "I went to NY and stayed near central park right by 5th Ave," experience. Other than that, they are an ordinary hotel just like any other.

    Prices are just not justified in any way shape or form. While I really did enjoy my stay here, it is just so far out of my price range that I doubt I will ever step foot in this place again. A while back I stayed at the Renaissance Hotel or Inn in Times Square and that was less than half the cost of this place and still is. Same amenities there and great rooms too.
  • Review from

    Went to this hotel entered on the 5th Ave door, soonest I walked inside the hotel building, I got a little confused because is set up like a long hall way

    I looked around where is the front desk?
    I saw a little desk and a staff standing there, he saw me and asked: May I help you?
    I said yes, I have a appointment with your sale team.
    He was very helpful, and very friendly, however I still couldn't stop thinking, that is kind of weird for a 5 stars hotel for this concierge looking front desk.
    After he called and let the sale team knows that I'm there, he told me to go wait in the hotel lobby.
    I walked a little bit farther down, and I saw it on my left hand side, the lobby!!

    So this hotel entrance is actually on 61st Street, not on the 5th Ave.
    Now I see the actual front desk and the actual concierge desk, now is more like it

    The hotel lobby is nice, and is very big, luxury hotel, however I think it needs a little bit more decorations, maybe some flowers or some plants, to light it up a little bit

    This is actually an historic building, just like many other buildings we have in Manhattan, meaning they're only so many things they allow to do outside the building, but after they closed the entire place down few years ago and renovated everything inside, reopened again in 2009, this is a very beautiful place, not only the room are nice, but they are huge, like the apartment you only saw in the movie, you know, the one that don't look like a 4x4 shoe box.
    If you live in Manhattan or if you stay at one of our New York hotel room before, you know what I'm talking about. lol

    I saw this beautiful 2-BR Suite Central Park View, and I gotta tell you, if I hit the lotto, I'm buying this suite. lol much, regular rate per night $20,000 plus tax
    No, I did not accidentally input an extra zero in it, but my friend told me if I wanted, she can give me a deal for 50% off, nice of her. lol

    This hotel is not for everybody, and not everyone can afford to stay here, however if you're looking for luxury hotel in Manhattan, this is the place for you, great location, great service.

    They also have a restaurant/bar lounge across from the front desk

    I'm giving this hotel a 4 stars instead of 5, because they do not have a swimming pool, and they do not have a roof-top lounge, which is a huge mistake not to put one in, because this is located across from the Central Park and over looking the 5th Ave and Plaza Hotel, but......this is not only a hotel, is also part residents, love to date someone daughter that lives there. lol

    Overall, great experience, for the travelers looking for a luxury 5 stars hotel, this you can put on your list
    For New Yorker, looking for a place to host your wedding, birthday parties, 1 or 2 nights romantic get away from your 4x4 shoe box apartment, this might be an idea for your lady or your man.

  • Review from

    • 71 friends
    • 132 reviews
    The at its finest?

    This definitely is an ornate and beautiful hotel, situated across from Central Park on the Upper East Side.

    The service is outstanding.  Everyone working here is friendly and helpful.  But is it really necessary to have elevator attendants at each elevator to press the floor buttons for you?  I mean, really, how could you expect me to press the elevator buttons for myself (just kidding)!  And I have to admit, it's fun driving around Manhattan in a Rolls Royce (one of the hotel perks if you stay here).

    I had afternoon tea in the Rotunda, which is a small and stunning circular room decorated with trompe l'oeil murals.  Around Christmas, there is a beautiful Christmas tree located in the center of the room.  Partaking in afternoon tea was well worth it, just to spend a couple of hours in this room.  However, I did not really care for the pastries/cookies that came with the tea.

    This hotel might be a little stuffy for some definitely has an old world luxury feel to it.  The clientele tends to be a little on the older side, but I never felt out of place.  If you prefer "hip and trendy" to "classic and luxurious" you might want to stay somewhere else.

    I would definitely stay here again.
  • Review from

    Hotel review for stay in Aug 06.

    I understand the Pierre may no longer be up to snuff but I'm a new yelper and just had to review this place as it was unbelievable.

    I was impressed the moment I walked in. I was totally undressed for the place in my Bahama shirt and while I was prepared to receive less than perfect service it did not happen. I was immediately put at ease with a fantastic welcome that included my name?! (how they do that - well, who really wants to hang out in NYC in Aug, maybe the place was empty).

    I'm on a plan that includes upgrades and wow did I get one. Top floor overlooking the park (again, Aug). The service was absolutely amazing. We had room service a couple times and also got a basket (the contents of this basket were 5 star - I'd go back just for it) for some opera in the park.

    I agree the rooms are a little small but the service I received made up for this 10 fold. I imagine that after the construction (through the end of 08) this place will be really amazing.