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The secrets of The Plaza Hotel New YorkThursday 23 July 2015
The Plaza Hotel in New York City is jointly owned by Sahara Group and Kingdom Holdings, a Saudia Arabia based corporation. It has been managed by Fairmont Hotels & Resorts since 1999 and is one of the most coveted NY hotels.
“Nothing unimportant ever happens at The Plaza.” One of America’s most celebrated hotels, The Plaza opened its doors on October 1, 1907, amid a flurry of impressive reports describing it as the greatest hotel in the world. Located at Fifth Avenue and Central Park South, this luxury hotel was constructed in the most fashionable residential section of New York City.
The Plaza was the dream of financier Bernhard Beinecke, hotelier Fred Sterry, and Harry S. Black, President of the Fuller Construction Company. They purchased a 15-year-old hotel of the same name on the site. The three men set out to replace it with what is surely one of the most elegant hotels in the world. Construction of the 19-story building (a skyscraper back then) took two years at a cost of $12 million – an unprecedented sum in those days.
Henry Janeway Hardenbergh, who also designed the Dakota apartments, the Willard Hotel in Washington, D.C. and The Fairmont Copley Plaza Boston, set about his task to provide all the pomp, glory, and opulence of a French chateau. No cost was spared. The largest single order in history for gold-encrusted china was placed with L. Straus & Sons, and no less than 1,650 crystal chandeliers were purchased.
Originally, The Plaza served as a residence for wealthy New Yorkers. Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt were the first to sign the register. For guests who chose to rent on a nightly basis at the time, this New York City luxury hotel’s single rooms started at $2.50 per night. Kings, presidents, ambassadors, stars of stage, screen and sports, as well as business executives and travellers from all parts of the world have gathered and stayed at The Plaza. The Plaza was so well known that Ernest Hemingway once advised F. Scott Fitzgerald to give his liver to Princeton and his heart to The Plaza.
Although The Plaza appeared fleetingly in earlier films, this Manhattan luxury hotel’s true movie debut was in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1959 classic North by Northwest – the first time a crew, director and cast assembled on site to make a picture. Before then, movies were shot almost entirely on Hollywood soundstages and rarely on location. The Plaza has provided the location for other motion pictures such as Plaza Suite, The Way We Were, The Great Gatsby, Barefoot in the Park, Funny Girl, Cotton Club, Crocodile Dundee I and II and Home Alone II: Lost In New-York.
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Designated a New York City Landmark in 1969, The Plaza is listed on the Register of Historic Places and the only New York City hotel to be designated as a National Historic Landmark.
The secrets of The Paza NY don’t finish here! Catherine Martin tells you everything about the initial approach in conceptualizing the Fitzgerald Suite for The Great Gatsby movie!
“In this suite, the lines between reality and fantasy are blurred. It is an environment that evokes the history of the Fitzgerald’s at The Plaza. It will be a dramatic deco space that recalls the dynamism of the Jazz Age and the 1920s, hopefully making you feel as if you are a guest in a hotel described in one of Fitzgerald’s novels. F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald were both regular patrons of The Plaza. The association was so well-known, it is said that Ernest Hemingway once advised F. Scott to give his liver to Princeton and his heart to The Plaza. Planned inclusions in the suite include photos of the author and his wife, his complete works, documentaries and movies that have been made about either him or his work, and beautiful coffee-table books that evoke languorous summers on Long Island’s Gold Coast and the fabulous New York of the Roaring Twenties. We will also include artifacts from our upcoming film as accessories to add a level of authenticity and texture to the room. For example, we will feature Tom Buchanan’s sporting trophies in some of the vitrines that are being built into the walls.
Check The Plaza at The Great Gatsby movie!