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Would Eloise Even Recognize the Plaza Anymore?

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  Site Where: 768 Fifth Avenue [map], New York, ny, United States, 10019
February 27, 2009 at 12:30 PM | by | Comment (1)

Okay people, what is going on at The Plaza? Since the iconic Manhattan hotel closed, underwent a major reno and reopened with more condos and out-of-control room rates, there have been some reports of some, er, challenges.

We thought we were being too hard on the Plaza when it first re-opened; we weren't exactly shy about talking about how the room rates were too high and, to us, things weren't looking too good on the inside. The first reviews after the reopening called the place "embalmed rather than enlivened," then some new full-time tenants of the building were not pleased with the conditions of their multi-million-dollar condos; there were lawsuits, then the developers were biting back. Mess.

And then! At the beginning of the year, the legendary Palm Court Restaurant was shuttered, and now we're hearing today from from the New York Times that the exec chef at the Oak Room, Joël Antunès, is being replaced by Eric Hara (formerly of David Burke’s Townhouse and Fishtail). Even the doorman left yesterday.

So, someone, please shed some light here: what in the name of Eloise is going on over at the Plaza? Have you stayed here or eaten here? Are things in bad shape — or is this all a series of unfortunate, highly-publicized mishaps? Tell us.

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It's not ALL bad...

I stayed at the Plaza for three nights in January.  The room was beautiful, the bathroom was incredible, and the service was top-notch.  Getting the spend-two-nights-get-one-free deal in the off-season brought the rate down to $400 a night, and my AmEx Platinum program got me an upgraded room, free continental breakfast ($96 a day otherwise) and a $100 hotel credit that bought four cocktails.

The Palm Court was closed, and I didn't have a chance to get anything to eat in the Oak Room.  Drinks in the Oak Bar and the Rose Room were very nice, and the room service breakfast was excellent.  For $96 it should come with a masseuse, but unless she was particularly tiny and hiding under the table I didn't see her.

The Retail Collection... oh dear.  Walking through there made me feel like I was in a sleazy bar before the crowds came - no one was there but employees, who all gave me longing gazes hoping I would stop and buy something.  The only store where one could come out with something exciting for under $100 (besides the bakery/cafe) was Assouline, which is not downstairs with the rest of the shops, but is up a staircase it shares with the Rose Lounge.  When the Rose Lounge is closed, a sign stating this is placed on the stairs blocking access to Assouline too, so who knows if it's ever open?

I wish them luck.  

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