The Pierre: New York’s Elegant Grand Dame Hotel

The Pierre Hotel is a super luxury hotel in Manhattan New York.

OK, so you’re visiting New York City and you want it ALL. You want the 5th Avenue address. You want the 24 hour gym. You want marble bathrooms, luxury dining, views, service and convenience. So you find your way to the The Pierre.

Opened in 1930 and the home, ever since, of movie stars and millionaires (they have usually lived in the 75  permanent apartments), The Pierre has been bought and sold many times and is now controlled by Taj Hotels Palaces Resorts Safaris.

Exotic Room Service Options

This may explain why the room service menu has an entire section devoted to gourmet level Indian cuisine: fancy lamb kebabs with yogurt filling?

Or spiced shrimp with fenugreek, red chilies and tamarind chutney? Maine lobster with royal cumin, curry leaves and coconut? Griddle-baked Indian breads?

Never mind, if you want to be boring you can still order a club sandwich up to the room or the usual Franco/American continental fare which is expertly prepared and delicious.

The Pierre Hotel has luxurious bathrooms.
Honey, have you seen my slippers?

And the rest? Well, this is a five star hotel in all respects and, gladly, there were no disappointments as we’ve seen occasionally in other five star properties, e.g., a gym with limited operating hours.

An enthusiastic gym goer, I appreciated being able to work out when I felt like it in my own time (I keep rather bizarre hours). The accoutrements of cool, damp refrigerated wash cloths, bottled water and fresh fruit only added to the pleasure.

It’s worth noting the the founder of the Pierre, Charles Pierre, has a back story that reads like something out of a Horatio Alger tale.

A Brief History of The Pierre

Pierre Casalasco left his father’s restaurant in AjaccioCorsica, where he had started as a busboy, assumed Charles Pierre as his full professional name, and began work at the Hotel Anglais in Monte Carlo.

After going on to study haute cuisine in Paris, Pierre went to London where he met the American restaurateur, Louis Sherry, who offered him a job. 

Pierre arrived in New York as a 25-year-old immigrant and became “first assistant” at Sherry’s Restaurant and got know the leading  Social Register crowd of the day. 

He met newly minted millionaires like J. P. Morgan and the Vanderbilts. However, after nine years at Sherry’s, Pierre left for the Ritz-Carlton on Madison Avenue and, eventually, opened his own restaurants.

Pierre must have been a smooth talker because he got the big boys of Wall Street during the roaring 20s’ to finance his next venture.

A typical basic bedroom at the PIerre Hotel in New York CIty.
A typical basic bedroom at The Pierre.

His (at the time) 714-room hotel rose 41 stories on the site of the Gerry mansion at the corner of Fifth Avenue and 61st Street and cost $15 million (approximately $220 million in 2016) to build and opened with great fanfare in October 1930.

New York society turned out to attend the gala dinner that marked the opening of The Pierre; it was prepared by Auguste Escoffier, “the father of French chefs”, who also served as a guest chef at The Pierre in its early years.

Sadly, Pierre, lost his hotel during the great depression in 1932 when it went bankrupt and was bought by J. Paul Getty for a pittance.

Ahhh, but that was a long, long, time ago and now it’s wonderful that we can experience this classic, luxurious property under the expert guidance of Taj Hotels Resorts Palaces Safaris.  ML

Clemmie Erikson was a guest of Taj.