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A New York Landmark - The Carlyle
March 1, 2006By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard
From James McBride, General Manager, The Carlyle

The Carlyle Hotel

The Carlyle Hotel in New York City has a long (by US standards) and varied history - dating back to 1930 where it was considered the "home away from home" for discerning luxury travelers in Manhattan.

Mr. McBride showed us where deep within the hotel's website they offer up 10 Fast (and ultra interesting) Facts. Then at the bottom we've added even more facts that you might be interested in about the Carlyle.

Check them out ...

Fast Facts

- Presidents Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Carter and Reagan have called The Carlyle their “unofficial” New York home.

- Each guest room has a direct telephone line to Sotheby’s, for those who don’t feel like venturing out or wish to place their bids in privacy.

- During the Kennedy administration, owner Robert Dowling always kept the “Kennedy duplex” empty just in case the President decided to come to New York.

- Composer Richard Rodgers was The Carlyle’s first tenant back in 1930.

- The Carlyle is a showcase of great art. Bemelmans bar contains the only surviving public murals of artist/author Ludwig Bemelmans, the creator of the famed Madeline children’s book series. Additional works by Audubon, Kips, Redoute and Vertes adorn the hotel’s walls creating a veritable gallery environment.

- Diane Ginsberg Jaffe, the daughter of the hotel’s founder, named The Carlyle after British writer Thomas Carlyle.

- The two Jan Weenix murals in the lobby were originally owned by William Randolph Hearst.

- The Carlyle is a virtual catalog of design history, home to the work of some of the world’s most legendary decorators including: Dorothy Draper, Mark Hampton, and Renzo Mongiardino.

- The Carlyle is alive with music; 23 suites have Steinway or Baldwin baby-grand pianos tuned twice a week.

- The Carlyle has been the hotel of choice for Hollywood’s elite since Ingrid Bergman checked in after completing Intermezzo.

Some additional Fun Facts we found ...

- The hotel designed by the architectural firm of Bien & Prince, was completed in 1930. A newspaper account of the time described the design as a "diversified setback style," which provides private terraces for some guest rooms and suites.

- The hotel's first decorator was Dorothy Draper, a mid-20th-century feminist who decorated in the "Empire manner."

- One of the country's foremost decorators, the late Mark Hampton, updated many of the guest rooms with a contemporary interpretation of the understated elegance achieved by Dorothy Draper 70 years ago.

- In 2002, interior designer Thierry Despont restored Bemelmans Bar and the lobby.

- Each room is characteristically unique with such color schemes as Chinese red, burnt orange and celadon. The walls are decorated with Audubon prints, architectural renderings by Piranesi or the English country scenes by Kips.

- The hotel was created by Moses Ginsburg, a Russian emigrant whose wealth was in real estate, the hotel was intended to secure Ginsberg’s position in society.

- Two elegant banquet rooms, decorated by Mark Hampton, are the venues for private parties and functions.

- There have only been five ownerships in its history - currently Philip F. Maritz, President of Maritz-Wolff & Company

- During the hotel's 13-month construction, Wall Street crashed. Knowing he would lose millions, Ginsberg forged on. When the banks foreclosed in 1930, the Carlyle was off to a less than auspicious start, but of course survived.

- Bellman Michael O'Connell, who joined the Carlyle in 1949 fresh out of college and is still on the staff, remembers John Kennedy bidding him farewell the night before the President’s assassination in Dallas in 1963.

- In 1940s, the wealthy tycoon Robert Dowling purchased the Carlyle and, like Ginsberg, saw an opportunity to set the highest standards of innkeeping and establish his own place in New York society. Run like a private club, social references were required to obtain a room or an apartment in the 1950s.

- In 1967, the Carlyle was purchased by real estate entrepreneur Peter Sharp. A native New Yorker whose family owned and operated the Ritz Tower, the Delmonico and the Stanhope (all residential hotels). When Peter Sharp died in 1992, the hotel was run by a board of directors until an appropriate owner could be found.

- Each guest room features an armchair designed by Mark Hampton which is named after his daughter Alexa.

- The Gallery, also known as 'The Living Room', is a favorite among East Side residents, foreign diplomats, politicians and celebrities, it was there that Jacqueline Kennedy and Audrey Hepburn, arriving together by chance, introduced themselves and sat down for a chat.

- The afternoon tea is enhanced by real Devonshire cream flown in from England.

- The 2005 Oscar Goody Bag for celebs included a voucher for the Carlyle.

- In February 2006, the Carlyle announced the opening of the Royal Suite after a redesign.

- In 2006, All Madelines are invited to go to the Manager at Bemelmans Bar and say "Bonjour. My name is Madeline" and they will receive a three-tiered tea, served among the renowned Madeline murals, on fabulous Madeline-inspired linen and china. (more details)

We're sure to be missing even more fun, fast facts about The Carlyle, so visit New York and the hotel to learn even more and then let us know.

The Carlyle, Official Site

The Carlyle, Five Star Alliance


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