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"Eloise is one of the more delightfully fiendish literary heroines of our time." -- Edward I. Koch (former NYC mayor!!!)
Eloise At The Plaza
The Plaza, home of Eloise is located in New York City at Fifth Avenue at Central Park South. Designed by
famed architect Henry Janeway Hardenbergh, "the greatest hotel in the world" opened October 1, 1907.
Built on the site of a 15-year-old predecessor of the same name, no expense was spared on the 19-story,
French Renaissance "château." Marble lobbies, solid mahogany doors, 1,650 crystal chandeliers, Swiss
organdy curtains, privately manufactured Irish linens, and gold-encrusted china were just a few of its
features. And now, as a member of America's Family of Grand Hotels, The Fairmont Hotels, this National
and City Historic Landmark structure is once again as it was
always meant to be ...the premier hotel of New York. Listed
in the National Register of Historic Places.
In 1998, The Plaza was also designated as a literary landmark
(a program that encourages communities to place identifying
plaques on properties that are connected with famous
authors either as residences or described in their work.) by
the Friends of the library, USA. FOLUSA Literary Landmarks are now governed by the Association of Library
Trustees, Advocates, Friends and Foundations (ALTAFF).
Two years after the first Eloise book's publication, a painting by Knight was hung in the lobby of the hotel. "We've
had generations of mothers bringing daughters or grandmothers bringing granddaughters to the hotel to see the
portrait or go to the Palm Court to have tea," Curt Gathje, the Plaza's manager of the office of the president and
unofficial house historian said.
The portrait disappeared after a fraternity party. As the story goes, when Princess Grace toured the hotel with her children, she was dismayed to find the
portrait gone. After that, Knight painted a new oil painting that now hangs opposite the hotel's Palm Court, where Eloise lunches on rainy days. A postcard
version of the portrait was sold in the hotel. A publicity photo of Evelyn Rudie, who played Eloise in the 1958
For a few years, the hotel had an Eloise Room that was used as a sitting room for visitors on weekdays and an ice cream parlor named after the character. "I
think there is a little bit of Eloise in everybody," Gathje said. "I think it goes beyond a 6-year old girl. It's about being rowdy in a public place, or acting up in
a public place and being allowed to do it -- but in a very genteel way."
In recent years, The Plaza has undergone many changes. In 2005, Eloise’s home, The Plaza Hotel closes for a face-lift. El-Ad Properties, who purchased The
Plaza Hotel in 2004 closes the Plaza’s doors on April 30. In May of that year, Content Liquidators holds a “tag sale” of everything from ice buckets to marble
fireplaces. Plans are underway to convert the Plaza to condominiums and a smaller hotel. The Plaza remains closed for several years of renovations.
Christie’s of New York auctioned the “very choice” contents of The Plaza Hotel on March 15, 2006. These items
were held back from the “tag sale” and range from monogrammed slippers to a Steinway baby grand piano. Among
the 350 lots being offered from the hotel are candlesticks, mirrors, brass doorknobs and various bed linen. Christies
reported that auction sales far exceeded a pre-sale estimate of $750,000, with proceeds totaling $1,760,760.
On March 1, 2008, The Plaza Hotel reopened, following a $400 million renovation. Eloise’s portrait is returned to
its original spot outside the Palm Court restaurant. The new Eloise shop opened the following year in the newly
remodeled Plaza Hotel. It is 2100 square feet, much larger than any previous Eloise shops.
Two years later, in July, 2010, the Eloise Suite opens in room 1832 at The Plaza Hotel, designed by Betsy Johnson.
In the past, there have been Eloise Suites, however, this is the first time one was available for bookings. Rates
start at $995 per night.
For Further Details
The Plaza Hotel - 1957
At the Plaza
Published by St. Martin's Press, by Curt Gathje - 2000
Eloise is Back at the Plaza, M’Dear
New York Times
May 14, 2008