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LUXURY HOTELS: The Plaza, New York, USA
No Shaggy Dog Story - New York's Plaza really is The Tops.
New York's legendary Plaza has gone to the dogs. Not the building, its plush interior, nor hotel operations - just a rather um, unsettling dog policy - and therein lies a tale. Two in fact. One four-legged dog attached to each tail. They were on the terrace outside our de luxe room, and judging from their antics - perfectly dog-like you understand - they were keen to make our acquaintance. They wanted in. But really, weren't the flowers, the champagne and petit fours 'welcome' enough?
the plaza from central park
the plaza from central park
royal terrace suite
fifth avenue entrance
the palm court
the rose club
the royal plaza suite
Our very lovely guest room overlooked a smartly landscaped terrace, planted with box and various feature plants in large pots - a place for dogs to go potty? Well yes, apparently. What the dogs had done with their owner however, was a mystery. The terrace doors to the neighbouring room were wide open, but no-one answered my husband's carefully-tempered knock and perfectly-modulated call "Is anybody there?" "(We assumed raised voices at The Plaza were infra-dig). Dead - Silence. A clear case for hotel security.
No sooner on the phone, and a burly hotel security person appeared. I admitted him, gesturing toward the terrace. The dogs were poised for a 'break-in'. Ýour dogs"? the security man asked. "No. Your dogs", I replied firmly assuming they were hotel security dogs which had escaped their minders.
They were large dogs. One, who was wearing a sinister-looking stud collar could have been a Rottweiler-cross while the other looked akin to a feisty Aussie cattle dog, except that we were in New York. The security man called for reinforcements to round up the wayward canines, put them in the lock-up and/or reunite them with their minders. The NYPD? No. Pity.
While this was compelling drama we had a theatre date for "Anything Goes" which we weren't going to miss. Shaken, but not stirred, we descended to the lobby's Champagne Bar, but only a martini would do. Another? Best not. If we didn't get to "Anything Goes", it would be "Everything's Gone".
Following a fabulous night at the theatre, we strolled back to the hotel. A fabulous jazz band was playing in The Rose Club on the mezzanine level of the hotel. The night is just a pup. I said, "Couldn't we?". "No" my husband said. Oh well. Back in our room, I ran a bath and sank in to its capacious contours, enjoying twiddling with the gorgeous Sherle Wagner gold-plated taps, hand shower and what have you. Then I fluffed myself dry on the plump, over-size Mascioni bath towels then slid between the satin-smooth Mascioni sheets which, along with the pillow slips, were all bordered by three rows of hand-stitched gold cording.
But fall in to a deep slumber we did not. There was a fair amount of revelry going on next door. Was this a nightmare? Were we on the set of the film 'Home Alone" (shot at The Plaza) with Macaulay Culkin? Four phone calls to the Front Desk later, over a time-lapse of 2-3 hours, the noise ceased. The occupants of Room xxx were in The Plaza's words were, "escorted from the premises".
Next morning, another knock on the door - but this time it was gaspingly beautiful bouquet of dusky-plum coloured roses and a little note from the management to say "sorry".
We descended to the lobby for breakfast in the exquisitely-beautiful Palm Court - a place one must be seen to be seen for almost a century - especially for the legendary afternoon teas. (They are still one of the highlights of The Plaza).
For the better part of a century The Plaza has mirrored the social fabric of the city. Mr and Mrs Alfred Vanderbilt were the first to sign the register, then, over the years followed a procession of luminaries which included F.Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Marlene Dietrich, Marilyn Montore, Jackie Kennedy Onasiss and many more. The luxury hotel  has recently completed a $450M three-year restoration and the result is drop dead gorgeous, from the grand entrance at the crossroads of Central Park and fabulous Fifth Avenue - to its interiors. What's more, it is in comfortable walking distance of the Theatre District and Metropolitan Musuem of Art if you can drag yourself away from the shopping - and virtually backs on to Central Park.
But what happened to the dogs I hear you cry. I simply don't know. The hotel does permit guests to bring small lap dogs with them, but how the two 'mastiffs' were smuggled in remains a mystery. It all happened for real. I swear I am not barking mad.
Check in:  The  Plaza, Fifth Avenue at Central Park South, New York, New York 10019
Ultimate Luxury:  Swirling a la Fred and Ginger, with your partner around 2,100 square feet of floor space in The Royal Terrace Suite, to the score of Cole Porter's "Anything Goes" while the butler prepares an adorablediner a deux.
Most Indulgent Moment:  The petit fours at afternoon tea in The Palm Court.
Insider Secrets:  It's anyone's bet whether the doggy policy might be more strictly policed or not. Watch this space.
The Little Things:  Love the 24-karat gold plated Sherle Wagner  Plaza  bathroom faucets and accessories with handcrafted solid white marble vanities.
Junior Luxies:  Other than Macaulay Culkin's fictitious filmic romp through the hotel, there's not a lot. Bribe the baby sitters with anything they desire, or leave the kids at Home Alone???
Dress code:  New York City chic. Beautifully cut jackets, narrow pants, crisply-tailored white shirts by day, something sparkly in the evening - worn mostly on the fingers. Harry Winston is nearby - 718 Fifth Avenue at East 56th. And heels, heels, heels Skyscraper high.
Dent in the platinum:
Luxury Hotels Link: www.theplaza.com
Maggy Oehlbeck 11/5/12
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