When we peered out the window from the 36th floor, the long rectangular green of New York’s Central Park looked like a magic flying carpet ready to transport us anywhere. I asked my husband, Victor, “Where would you like to go?” We looked around our suite in the elegantly sumptuous Pierre Hotel – New York City, with Manhattan’s 5th Avenue at our feet, and decided we were quite content where we were.
Our feathered nest was of the highest quality down, in a hotel that breathed legacy guests (Jackie Kennedy, John Paul Getty), as well as Taj Hotel luxury. Already we understood why it was a Five Diamond Hotel (AAA 2012) and ranked as one of the top 100 hotels in the world.
The Pierre, A Taj Hotel in New York City (photo courtesy of Lisa TE Sonne)
Suddenly, the wedding we had eagerly flown across the country to attend seemed like a duty, a sacrifice of time from our cultured cocoon. But of course it wasn’t. We gathered with other guests from five continents at the Marina at 23rd Street to take a ferry across the East River to the Waterfront Restaurant in Long Island City.
The nuptials unfolded like a romantic movie. The young couple said their “I do’s” with the skyline of Manhattan behind them, and smiling and teary friends before them.
The wedding couple at The Waterfront. (photo courtesy of Lisa TE Sonne)
Champagne, appetizers, and live music by pianist Lincoln Mayorga were a sunset interlude. After hours of delicious imbibing, dancing, and laughing, Victor and I were romantically primed to take the ferryboat under the stars, back to our fairytale niche in the Pierre.
It’s hard to imagine the bed being more comfortable. A little note from room service offered to supply alternative pillows of different contents (down, buckwheat, foam, feather) or shapes (body length, neck support). It wasn’t necessary. We were quite content in our high-thread repose.
There was also a lovely card showing the days highs and lows of temperature and the highs and lows of the last trading day on Wall Street. We had had no personal “lows,” so I focused on the card’s quote, “Dreams are only thoughts you didn’t have time to think about during the day.”
And now is the part of the story where we revert to the love scenes from movies of old—and turn off the light after a giddy kiss.
The City That Never Sleeps
A delicious room service breakfast at The Pierre, A Taj Hotel in New York City. (photo courtesy of Lisa TE Sonne)
The next morning, Victor woke feeling so good he didn’t want to leave that cushy rectangular dreamland. The comfort of the bed almost became an obsession. Room service seemed in order, and it came with fresh calla lilies and a little silver dome over the butter. Our view trumped most restaurants, and I always enjoy breakfast in a bathrobe.
But then there was still the bed. We had to know more. It turns out there were layers and layers of top materials to take away our tiredness – from titanium (“twice as strong as steel”) inner springs, to Posturepedic’s Euro Pillow top and two layers of “Hypersoft” (a new term to me) Quilt top.
Victor was ready to order a Pierre bed for home. The logic being that if we are going to spend one third of our life sleeping, why not be, dare we say, hyper comfortable? I was all for this luxury. We can’t take the whole hotel home, but maybe the bed.
When I asked the Pierre’s PR director, Nora Walsh, for details about the sheets and covers, she informed me, “The beds are dressed in Frette linens with silk decorative pillows and throw covers that are handmade and imported from Bangalore, India.” Thank you, Taj! I had enjoyed Taj comforts in the Himalayan Royal Kingdom of Bhutan, but this was my first U.S. immersion in the family of Taj Hotels, Resorts and Palaces.
Many hotels are outsourcing laundry now to save costs, but the Pierre determined that their standards of quality required more. Walsh shared, “Our in-house laundry takes the time to carefully iron and inspect each sheet and pillowcase to ensure that they are immaculately clean and perfectly pressed.”
When I told Victor, we both had a good laugh. That was not going to happen in our home. We’re not even sure where our iron is, but he still kept fantasizing about bringing home “the bed”—ironic, perhaps, since we were in “the city that never sleeps.”
The Next Night…
After joining the wakeful masses and enjoying a glorious day of the creative cacophony of Manhattan, we were actually eager to get back to our pampering pad. We had lived in Manhattan before and knew there were always more great museums and shows and people watching
The doorman made it clear he remembered us, as we twirled through the rotating door. The lobby’s refined ambience and lovely opulence greeted us as we walked past both 20th century paintings and a 10th century statue of Ganesh, with an elephant trunk. I had to take pause. Ganesh is a Hindu god that among other things is renowned for removing obstacles, and this hotel-lobby sculpture had survived over a 1,000 years.
Back at the bank of elevators, with a human operator standing by each one, Khady Gueyesall also remembered us from a previous conversation. When I asked her the most memorable thing that had happened in her elevator, Khady recalled a couple she had taken up to their room. Going back down to get something, the guy asked her to be nice to his beloved. He was hoping that his sweetheart would agree to marry him while they were at the Pierre.
Elevator operator, Khady, at The Pierre. (photo courtesy of Lisa TE Sonne)
Khady offered to help him, but exacted an unusual fee: he would have to propose to his potential fiancé in Khady’s elevator. She apparently played cupid well, and was quick to fall to one knee to demonstrate the results for us.
Back in our room, I happily indulged in a bath, followed by a Rain Shower immersion. I wanted a longer pause before we headed from sanctuary to city, so we floated down to the Two E Bar/Lounge , just off the lobby and close to the hotel’s renowned Rotunda with its trompe l’oeil murals.
The drink menu had intriguing offerings created by Sachin Hasan. We were told he was the Hotel’s “cocktail innovator,” so we passed on our usual celebration beverage of choice- champagne. We clinked glasses with a Timeless Grace (rye whiskey, glayva lillet blanc, dried cherry, and orange zest) and a GinGin (gin, ginger liquor, mint, cucumber juice, and lime juice).
We also sated senses with The Pierre Salad (lobster, Hearts of Palm, artichoke with truffle vinaigrette) and Masala Scallops (on parsnip puree, with a coriander sauce vierge and curry leaf pesto). Both were pleasing to our eyes, noses and stomachs.
Snuggling in the corner, we recalled meeting in Manhattan fifteen summers before. On one of our first dates, we strolled through the Park in the evening after listening to Frank McCourt read from his recently published Angela’s Ashes. I remembered being enchanted by fireflies then—so unexpected to me in the midst of one of the densest urban centers in the world. Growing up in California, I enjoyed fireworks from Disneyland, but fireflies don’t live in the west.
Tempting fantasy, Victor and I went out the Pierre’s revolving door and crossed the street in search of fireflies. Holding hands, we walked past the horse drawn carriages, into the Park.
We didn’t have long to wait. First, one light flashed, then another, then another. Instead of falling stars to wish on, flashing lights rose from the ground, already fulfilling our wishes.
We left the Park’s magic carpet and headed straight back up to that wonderful bed.
We had come to New York to attend a wedding. The honeymoon was ours.
Thank you and good night, dear Pierre.
—Lisa TE Sonne for Luxury Travel Mavens
Which New York City Luxury Hotels Do You Love?
We’d like to hear your thoughts about your go-to hotels in the Big Apple. Please comment below.