Dome Mention It

10/27/2008

Quite possibly the most beautiful room in new York City, Café Pierre (or the Rotunda) at The Pierre hotel is a perfectly executed exercise in lavishness. The trompe l’oeil murals created by American artist Edward Melcarth play backdrop to the most fabulous afternoon tea this side of the Thames. Have some Earl Gray with a lover under the dome and discuss the 253-room hotel’s luscious history (including tales of founder Charles Pierre and original financiers Otto H. Kahn, Edward F. Hutton, and Walter P. Chrysler,) its infamous bankruptcy in 1932, and eventual purchase by oilman J. Paul Getty for $2.5 million in 1938.

If the top of the building looks familiar its because it was modeled by archtects Schultze and Weaver (The Breakers Palm Springs, The Waldorf-Astoria, The Sherry-Netherland) after Mansart’s Royal Chapel at Versailles. Permanent residents in the few apartments have included Elizabeth Taylor, Viacom entertainment company chairman Sumner Redstone, Harrods owner Mohamed al-Fayed, and the late designer Yves Saint-Laurent.

In 2005 The Pierre was acquired by Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces, an India-based global chain of fine luxury hotels and resorts, yet it still retains its forever charm. I spent the night of my birthday there right after the purchase so I can attest to it.

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