Luxury Explorer Review

5-Star Hotel Review

The Pierre

USA

Testament to understated 1930s elegance on the fringe of Central Park

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The Pierre

Location

Fifth Avenue, Central Park, Madison Avenue

Travel Information

John F. Kennedy International Airport - 40 mins

Top Tips

Discover some of the best dining, shopping and sightseeing experiences in New York right on the Pierre's Madison Avenue doorstep

5-Star X-Factors

Experience regal service with the Taj Royal Attaché when staying in one of the Pierre's premier suites

Central perk

If there is one city that never ceases to dazzle and raise the tempo then it has to be New York. Moreover, we hadn't seen it for several years and were extremely impressed by its 'street-clean' makeover. This is a classy city, oozing style, and is an extremely tough act for any other metropolis to follow. Most of us have seen New York on film several times and peeled back layers and layers in literature, so the imagination becomes a rag bag of exciting preconceptions.

In reality these are usually matched, if not enhanced. With or without children, the Big Apple pulsates with more than enough energy to please everyone. This trip was always going to be about gormandising as well as sight seeing, and the most exceptional restaurants welcome children with genuine affection.

Central Park is placed in the middle of Manhattan and is an oasis of lush lawns, forests, gardens, small lakes, and is, for the New Yorker, an escape from the insane pace that surrounds it. It is, for most, a great leveller and, even for the visitor, it feels like the perfect antidote to the frenetic pace.

We were extremely fortunate, therefore, to be located in splendid style at The Pierre, overlooking joggers, musicians, skaters, horses and even wildlife such as swans, geese and ducks.

Grand-luxe style

Boston was incredible but it felt like we had left a serene, handsome and sane 'village' by comparison. The Pierre, a Taj hotel, overlooks Central Park on Fifth Avenue at 61st street and is, thankfully, conjoined with Barneys. It has been a New York landmark since 1930, with its neoclassic spire and distinctive copper roof and has been traditionally restored in grand-luxe style.

It is relaxed here though, which is in part due to the fun-loving and gracious staff. The architecture, as with much of Manhattan, has an original stamp about it and the interiors are a pleasant combination of grand designs: classical Italian marble and gilded crown mouldings, distinctive classic deco features and some priceless Persian carpets.

A truly impressive room is the rotunda, the hotel's signature room/heart, where people meet, greet, eat, sip tea and enjoy excellent cocktails, surrounded by floor-to-ceiling murals, painstakingly painted by American artist Edward Melcarth. There is both humour and talent in the trompe l'oeil and you could be forgiven for momentarily thinking you were in a grand Italian dwelling in Florence until, on closer inspection, you notice some uncanny similarities in the mythological characters to society figures from the 1960s. Next door, the Two E Bar/Lounge keeps the foot tapping with the tinkling of jazz from the grand piano throughout the afternoon and evening.

Suite heavens

Located on the 26th to 38th floors, you have the height and the space with a side view of the park and fabulous views over 61st Street. It is ideal for families. We combined the two, creating an expansive two-bedroom suite with two bathrooms and a large comfortable living room. Attention to comfort is paramount here, and the beds and linen were of the highest quality with a comprehensive list of in-room amenities allowing for all types of discerning clientele, in order to meet fastidious requirements.

Maurice Dancer was voted, with good reason, the most outstanding concierge manager in New York. We are a peripatetic family but have never come across such on-the-button treatment. Three phones on the go (one in each hand and one on an ear) and three requests are sorted. Heeleys shoes delivered for a fitting in the early evening, a helicopter ride to show the children the Statue Of Liberty and a table at Manhattan's favourite eatery, Gramercy Tavern. This amiable, adorable gentleman was never flustered and always delivered.

Dining out

The Pierre's regal silver Phantom nipped us around the other side of Central Park to Columbus Circle. Per Se, regarded as New York's finest, and the city sibling of Thomas Keller's much lauded French Laundry in the Napa Valley, is located on the fourth floor in the Time Warner building with views straight across the park and to The Pierre.

With blue skies hugging the impressive horizon, the meal and the view were quite priceless; though working your way through the chef's tasting menu can take most of the afternoon, so allow time for this pricey occasion. Truffle 'signs off' most dishes including white polenta in jus de poule, popped Sterling white sturgeon caviar on oyster glazed cauliflower 'panna cotta' and several extraordinary surf and turf delights, such as lobster in brown butter-vanilla emulsion, rabbit in savoy cabbage with chanterelle and trumpet mushrooms.

To complete the state of sublimity you need to tackle the sweet courses or puddings: guava sorbet dusted in liquorice, a confit of garnet yam with poached apples and candied walnuts, and, to top it all, spiced crumble with Per Se coffee ice cream. Sensational! If you have the time and the budget then this is palate paradise even though you feel decidedly pinguid by the end of it. The Pierre was a roll back through the park, though I chose a chariot as Barneys closes at 7pm!

Of course, there are are so many exceptional restaurants in this city. Gramercy Tavern is one of Manhattan's favourite chic brasserie-style haunts with a menu for critical palates and a wine list to name-drop. The atmosphere is expensive/casual with two rooms: one more tavern style than its elegant counterpart, but both electrically charged. People come here to have a festive time with great food and outstanding service.

The Premier Suites at The Pierre are perfect to surrender to the night and indulge your New York flights of fancy.

Sophie Marchant
Sophie Marchant


Luxury Explorer
Luxury Explorer

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