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The Plaza "Feels Embalmed Rather Than Enlivened"
Architect critic James S. Russell has pretty much panned the restoration from the lobby to the rooms. Actually, he's admired the restoration effort, calling it impeccable, particularly the return of the Palm Court laylight which was originally a part of the hotel but taken out by Conrad Hilton in 1944.
However, he seems thoroughly displeased with the interiors.
I hoped architect and designer Gal Nauer would bring a sexy new glamour to an added lobby and the gutted and rebuilt rooms. Regrettably, she mixes a stiff formality with Walt Disney whimsy....
Reproduction formality rules the guest rooms, where delicate, gold-trimmed side tables and curlicued headboards look stranded against stark white walls. The grand baths with carved marble pedestal sinks and 24-carat gold faucets come with an amateurishly drawn flower stem by Nauer worked into the tile.
Yikes. Yet we all knew that when they closed the Plaza three years ago, the place would never be the same again. The challenge, Russell says, is for the hotel to create its own distinct personality. But the new interiors and the $1,000 room rates aren't helping.
What we found interesting is that the new owners, Elad Properties, are going forth with their Plaza replication in Las Vegas on the site of the old New Frontier, which will have "six towers crowned by Plaza-like mansard roofs and themed with 'Eloise.'''
This begs us to ask the question: They had to go to Vegas to replicate the Plaza when they could have just done it here?
[Photo: Ryan Charles]