The coolest thing I've ever done in my life – and this is saying something, because I once interviewed Hayley Mills – was to return to New York on a business trip in 1984 and stay at the Helmsley Palace Hotel (now the New York Palace). It was awesome, because two months earlier I had moved from a squalid, tiny, walk-up apartment on West Fourteenth Street in New York, and the Palace, which is located uptown in the former Villard mansion, was gorgeous, opulent, free (because my company paid for it) and my room was bigger than my apartment. It was my first ultra-extravagant hotel experience, and I've never looked back.
Ever since then, I've been in love with New York hotels. I try to
stay at different ones on every visit, and run into that familiar problem of so many hotels, so little time and money. To soak up some atmosphere of old writers, I've stayed at the Stanhope on the upper east side and the Algonquin at midtown, which still has a Dorothy Parker suite decorated with the savage Ms. Parker's hand-written letters. When small was cool and boutique hotels were just coming into vogue, I stayed at Morgans on lower Madison Avenue. The Plaza was an awesome experience (before they closed it to cut it up into condos), and at the St. Regis I enjoyed the services of a German butler named Barbara in a plush suite. On my last visit to NYC, I re-visited two favorites, the Loews Regency on Park Avenue and the Waldorf-Astoria, both charming, bustling, exciting hotels.
All of which make me want to return to New York, NOW, and check into a gorgeous hotel for a week. Do you have any favorite hotel stories that you can share with our readers?