We pull up to the 61st street entrance after a long, multi-delayed trip from Florida. Getting out of the car, we spy Central Park across the street. Circling above for three hours awaiting our turn to land becomes a distant memory. The bellman, Gregory, welcomes us with a huge, sincere smile as he handles the luggage. We immediately feel at home. The lobby is stunning. Marble floors that are both sophisticated yet warm. Check-in is faster than instant coffee. Rooms are ready. And what rooms! The furniture, draperies and appointments are stunning and warm. Vibrant, classic yet bold. Colorful but not overwhelming. Opulent but not ostentatious. In essence, the rooms are an anachronism: it's where you'd want to live if you won the lottery. Our sons had a suite with two twins and two full baths. We had a suite fit for a raja: king bed, one and a half baths, a full separate living room with TWO long couches. The Metropolitan suite was given to us as an upgrade. Perhaps it was from Jasmine, the in-house reservationist who kindly amended our last minute changes without a blink. More likely it was from Sanela M., in charge of guest relations. Aside from being quietly efficient and unflappable, she has set a tone for the hotel that permeates on all levels. The staff persona and hotel ambiance are reflections of management. I have never been in a better, more friendly, more beautiful hotel. That starts with management. Kudos to them! We were brought to our rooms by a lovely woman who truly looks like she she is a runway model. Is everyone who works at The Pierre as polished as everyone we met? Sure the baths are huge, the rooms are stunning (and huge), the fitness room is just the right size with just the right amount of equipment and open from 5 a.m. to 11 pm, the hotel bar is romantic with a great late night menu. But it is the staff, the staff, the staff that sets The Pierre apart from any other hotel I have ever stayed. The elevators actually have PEOPLE in them to take you up and down. In this era of downsizing and don't-look-at-me-I'm-texting-my nanny, The Pierre gets it oh-so-right. You walk in the elevator, a smiling face remembers you. She remembers when our boys were little and "now look at them!" No one is texting in the elevator. They are conversing and interacting. It is so refreshing and a metaphorical paradigm for how to live your life! I may be just a customer but The Pierre Hotel staff is a family that makes you feel like you are at home. Perhaps I am redundant but it is a theme throughout the hotel. The operators wake you up with a happy voice, not a pre-recorded message. Morning coffee pots ordered for 7:30 arrive exactly at 7:30. I mean exactly at 7:30. Moreover, security is top notch. The 5th Avenue entrance is locked at night. Just the 61st street Entrance is open. The staff is universally above reproach. I feel so safe at The Pierre and so does my family.
There are so many other hotels to consider in Manhattan. The Waldorf lobby looks and feels like Grand Central Station. The NY Hilton looks and feels like Penn Station. The Plaza is worn out and has a weird, cold vibe. The St. Regis has beautiful rooms but the lobby is cluttered and claustrophobic and the check-in location with the staff behind a cage looks like you're about to cash in your chips in Vegas. The Peninsula has lovely rooms but they are all drab brown and the entrance has a flight of stairs steeper than climbing Masada. Moreover, the elevator is usually filled with besotted wannabees on their way up to the overcrowded rooftop yuppie bar. So much for the competition.
Bottom line: if you want a stunning first class, world class hotel that is in the perfect location in Manhattan staffed by the most professional, warm people on the planet you will stay at The Pierre. It is worth every penny. I can only assume this is the step right before going to Heaven.