The Pierre, a Taj group luxury hotel, is located on New York’s fifth avenue facing Central Park. The 160m-tall hotel was opened in October 1930 with 700 rooms. The hotel went through a $100m renovation recently and was reopened on 1 June 2009.
The renovation saw new guest rooms and bath interiors, reconfiguration of the first floor public areas to include a new restaurant and a lobby lounge, and a new reception area. Phase I of the renovation was done in January 2007, when Alexandra Champalimaud & Associates restored the Grand Ballroom, the Cotillion Room and Garden Foyer. The banquet hall and the meeting rooms remained open during the second phase.
The list of The Pierre’s distinguished guests includes former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, former French President Francois Mitterrand, Japanese Emperor Hirohito and former Russian President Boris Yeltsin. The hotel was an abode for the wedding ceremonies of celebrities Mary Tyler Moore and Barbara Walters. A few other guests and celebrities include Bill Gates and Michael Douglas.
The Pierre is Georgian in design with a structure of granite and cream-coloured brick, capped with a copper tower, inspired by French chateaus.
The restaurants and bathrooms are fitted with select gatherings to feature simplicity and refinement.
Georgian architecture was in vogue in England between 1720 and 1840. The architecture was so named after the rulers of the country during that period – George I to George IV.
The hotel has 189 guest rooms, including 49 suites, which went through the recent renovation. Guest room variants include Superior, Classic, Deluxe, Cityview, Parkview and Signature rooms.
The 49 suites comprise Executive, Deluxe, Cityview, Premier Suites and 11 Grand Suites. The Grand Suites have six connecting bedrooms, suitable for families, corporate travellers or for travellers with support personnel. The renovation design of the guest rooms was done by James Park Associates.
Le Caprice, the renowned restaurant of London, is entering the US by debuting at The Pierre. The restaurant is a part of the Richard Caring’s Group including other restaurants such as The Ivy, Annabel’s, and Daphne’s. The restaurant offers delicacies including Thai-baked sea bass and salmon fishcakes.
The Pierre has two spas. Dominique Salon is on the lower level while Rene Salon is on the fourth floor. Guests can enjoy massages at the spa as well as in their own suites. Both the spas remain open six days a week from 9am to 6pm. On the third floor, the hotel has a fitness centre, where the guests are offered a few complimentary services. The centre also includes a private massage therapy room.
The common guest room amenities offered by the hotel include a Turkish marble bathroom, a 40in flat screen television, a Bose wave studio with iPod docking station, high-speed internet access (wired and wireless), telephone and voicemail data ports, fitness centre and a complimentary newspaper.
During the renovation, an electronic casket was included to power laptops.
Meeting and conference
The Pierre’s event rooms are spread across an area of 18,000ft² encompassing six distinctive public rooms and two ballrooms suitable for business and social events. The event rooms include the Grand Ballroom (8,526ft²), Cotillion Room (4,050ft²), Regency Room (960ft²), Wedgwood Room (2,385ft²), Garden Foyer (2,756ft²) and Salon (560ft²).
The event rooms can accommodate about 800 guests. Telepresence service at the event rooms provides high-definition conferencing facilities with high-end audiovisual equipment. Other meeting and conference amenities include a 24h business centre, high-speed internet (wired and wireless), translation services, audiovisual equipment, catering for breakfast, lunch, dinner, meeting breaks and cocktail parties.
Charles Pierre Casalasco developed the 714-room Pierre Hotel at a cost of $15m. In the early years, August Escoffier, the ‘father of French cuisine’, served as a guest chef at the hotel attracting the cream of society to taste a Bill of Fare prepared by him.
The great depression forced Casalasco to file bankruptcy in 1932. In 1938, John Paul Getty bought the hotel for $2.5m. The Café Pierre was opened in 1940 becoming the new hot spot for the high class.
In 1964, it was taken over by the Pierre Service Corporation from the Getty Oil Company. The hotel guest rooms and public places were renovated and The Rotunda and Garden Foyer murals were created by Edward Melcarth.
Turst House Forte managed the hotel from 1974 to 1980. In 1981, the hotel was acquired by Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts with a $15m renovation scheduled.
In 2005, during its 75th anniversary, The Pierre joined the Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces, which has hotels across India, the UK, New York and the Middle East.
The Pierre has received various awards for its service for the last seven decades. In 2008, it received recognition as one of the top 100 hotels in the world by Institutional Investor Magazine.
In 2007, it won the AAA Diamond Award, given by the American Automobile Association’s Diamond Lodging Awards. In January 2007, at the 2006 Hotel Experience Awards, it won the ‘Best Overall Hotel Experience’ award. It was ranked 10th amongst the Top 25 hotels in New York in Travel + Leisure’s list of the World’s Best Hotels in 2006. In 2005, its rank was 35.