The New York Palace is once again living up to its name. The finishing touches are being completed on the historic Midtown hotel’s one-year, $140-million renovation set to be completed in September. The makeover has been from top to bottom, including all 899 rooms.
Located across from St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the New York Palace encompasses a 55-story modern tower as well as the Villard Mansion, a landmarked stone building built in 1884. You enter through the mansion’s striking courtyard, which was designed with motifs from 15th-century Italian cathedrals. Already complete is the work on the 176 rooms in the Towers, the luxury hotel-within-a-hotel occupying the Palace’s top 14 floors. The rooms received a “technological and sustainability facelift,” with a variety of eco-friendly and high-tech additions, including LED lighting and iPod docking stations. The suites got elaborate upgrades as well. The Metropolitan suite was reimagined as a “living art gallery in the sky” and includes an art installation of fluttering butterflies amid iconic black-and-white photos of New York.
In addition to the rooms, the Palace also has new dining options, including two that are helmed by celebrity chef Michel Richard: the French restaurant Villard Michel Richard and a pastry shop and cafe, Pomme Palais, whose name is a riff on the “Big Apple.”
The New York Palace itself has a fascinating history and landed on the gossip pages – often – in the 1980s. This was during its reign as the Helmsley Palace Hotel, when it was managed by “Queen of Mean” Leona Helmsley. In a trendy twist, the hotel has gained plenty of Gossip Girl fans, since the hotel featured prominently on the show.