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"This book preview contains selected pages from Great, Grand & Famous Hotels. If you wish to purchase the book or find out more, please go to
Hotels : Sample NY
144 The Ultimate Beaux Arts Hotel Th e plaza Ahotel called the Plaza opened on Fifth Avenue at 59th Street in 1900. With increasing competition in the precinct, it was quickly replaced in 1907 by a bigger and better version. To quote one commentator of the day: "If there is another building anywhere that more fully achieves elegance, I don't know where it is." CHAPTER 8 After the building was purchased by Elad properties in 2002, the renowned ground-floor public rooms were under threat of demolition. After years of battle in the press and courts, Elad turned the bulk of the hotel's best rooms into private apartments. However, the Oak Room, where Al Pacino takes Chris O'Donnell to dine in Scent of a Woman and the Grand Ballroom, where Truman Capote held his famous December 1966 Black & White Ball are to be preserved. In the revamp, almost the entire contents of the hotel were sold including more than 5,000 dinner plates, 100,000 pieces of cutlery and 3,000 lamps. Even doors were for sale (for a mere US$250). 100 YEARS OF OWNERSHIP The Plaza was the dream of financier Bernhard Beinecke, hotelier Fred Sterry and Harry S Black, President of the Fuller Construction Company. In 1905, they purchased a 15-year-old hotel of the same name on the site at Central Park South and demolished it. Over the next 100 years The Plaza rose to become one of the most elegant Beaux Arts hotels in the world. The Plaza was sold in 1943 to Conrad Hilton who did not build hotels but rather acquired them at cut price, post-Depression prices. The Plaza (which was not in the best state at the time) was bought for US$7.4 million. Hilton retained control of the hotel until 1953 when he sold it to Park Fifty-Ninth Street Corporation, headed by Boston industrialist AM Sonnabend, for US$15 million. Five years later, the hotel was sold to lawyer and realty investor Lawrence A Wein for US$21 million. In 1974 Western International Hotels (Westin) acquired the Plaza for US$25 million. Donald Trump bought the Plaza for US$407.5 million in 1988 and sold it for US$325 million in 1995 to a partnership between Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Millennium & Copthorne Hotels. The partnership sold it in 2004 to Manhattan developer Elad Properties for US$675 million. Extensive renovations were begun in 2005 costing US$400 million. The revamped Plaza has 282 suites and 182 private residences, designed by Versace. The fixtures and fittings include 24-carat- gold plated sinks and accessories. The Plaza at the movies The Plaza featured notably in the original Eloise which aired live on Playhouse 90 in 1956, starring Evelyn Rudie who portrayed Eloise, the child who lived 'on the top oor,' with cameos by Conrad Hilton and Kay Thompson (the creator). The children's book portrayed a precocious six-year-old Eloise, who lived in the Plaza Hotel with her long- su ering nanny, her dog Weenie, and her turtle Skipperdee. The hotel was used as a central location in the 1959 Alfred Hitchcock classic thriller North by Northwest. Scenes were shot in the Fifty-ninth Street lobby, Oak Bar, and guest corridor. Since then The Plaza has been the lm set for many movies including: Barefoot in the Park (1967), Plaza Suite (1971), The Way We Were (1973), The Great Gatsby (1974), Arthur (1981), Crocodile Dundee (1986), Scent of a Woman (1992), Home Alone 2 (1992) in which Donald Trump played a cameo role, and Sleepless in Seattle (1993), to name a few.