The Plaza Hotel: A Look at New York’s Luxury Legacy

A symbol of New York grandeur for over 100 years, no hotel in the city can quite live up to the remarkable history of the Plaza Hotel. Cloaked in tradition and all the opulence associated with the New York City lifestyle, the most famous hotel in the world remains a beloved icon that continues to set the standard for modern luxury.

Plaza Hotel History: The Early Years

The Plaza Hotel opened its door to a flurry of anticipation and acclaim on October 1, 1907, but the dream for this elitist hotel began long before.

Situated in the heart of upscale Manhattan with a remarkable view of Central Park, the hotel was a clear emblem of power and wealth from the start. The 19-story structure took two years to complete at an unprecedented price of $12 million (more than $320 million by current standards). 

Original construction reflected the intricacies and features of a French chateau, designed by Henry Janeway Hardenbergh, who also created iconic hotels in Boston and Washington D.C. Gold-encrusted dishes and over 1,650 crystal chandeliers set the tone for an experience no other luxury hotel could match. The starting price for a single room started at $2.50 per night.

The Emblem of New York Culture

Word spread quickly about the fineries and lavishness of the Plaza Hotel, attracting the world’s most elite and curious travelers alike. The hotel has hosted kings, movie stars, musical performers, and presidents, as well as social affairs for some of the most celebrated and wealthy New York figures. Multiple movies have used the hotel as a backdrop. Ballrooms have served as important political meeting places.

It was once said, “Nothing unimportant ever happens at The Plaza.”

Ownership of the Plaza Hotel has changed multiple times, with each new owner leaving a lasting impact on its legacy. The hotel has been owned by the Hilton family, Sonesta International Hotels, Westin Hotels, Donald Trump, and more.

The hotel still offers the same allure and intrigue as it did when it opened over 111 years ago, inviting prominent figures and wandering minds into its graces to shares its slice of New York history with generations to come.

The Plaza Hotel Today

After having gone a massive $450 million, 3-year renovation, the Plaza Hotel continues its long-standing legacy as the most iconic hotel in the world. Now owned by Katara Hospitality and managed by Fairmont Hotels, lux-loving guests can expect modern comforts and conveniences intertwined with the grandeur and sophistication that made the hotel so famous in the first place. Guests can indulge in things such as world-class spa services, fine dining, Champagne Afternoon Tea, Tea with Eloise, 5th avenue shopping, and the hotel’s very own food hall.

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.

Today, the hotel has become a tribute to New York society and represents not just its own legacy, but also the legacies of all who have entered its doors.