As with so many significant central-city hotels, The Peninsula New York had challenges filling its restaurant. A new name, Clement, for company CEO Clement Kwok, helped, as did a stunning re-design by Yabu Pushelberg, who have broken the entire space into separate and distinct rooms, with some fascinating dividers (see one, above). Clement is now one of Manhattan’s two top Power Breakfast venues, packed, every table and every seat, with decision-makers. Later in the day, says the gal, The Peninsula once again is magnet for those who know – at tea time, in the hotel’s Gotham Lounge.
Served on exquisite Wedgwood china, the meal of the moment is the $65 ‘American Ballet Theater Whipped Cream Afternoon Tea’, stressing the hotel’s partnership with that ballet company. Part of the partnership includes tickets to Whipped Cream, a delightful whimsy in which a young boy eats too much in a Viennese pastry shop, falls into a stupor and dreams of his triumphant rescue by Princess Praline, Princess Tea Flower, Prince Coffee and the rest of her court. From what I can gather it is a 100-minute fairy tale aimed at all ages.
The 235-room Peninsula New York this year celebrates its 30th birthday – it opened in 1988 as The Gotham, switching names ten years later when it was bought by Hongkong & Shanghai Hotels Ltd (at least a dozen of the 420-total workforce have been here since the 1988 start, says GM Jonathan Crook, who keeps everyone active with opportunities for Central Park workouts with him, on Wednesdays, and with a personal trainer on Thursdays). The celebrations are varied. This very Wednesday, June 27th, 2018, is the official society launch of a temporary exhibition, from circa 1881, of works by 1980s big names, of the likes of Jean-Michel Basquiat, Francesco Clemente, Keith Haring and Andy Warhol.
Yes, here are ten versions of Mao and ten types of ‘Campbell soups’, all 20 paintings by Warhol – there is only one Basquiat, fortunately behind a glass screen. This clever hotel also has, through July 15th, 2018, one amazing Rolls-Royce Phantom VIII extended wheelbase. It is Peninsula green, of course, and, sit inside as I did and you have a ceiling over you that is pierced with hundreds of tiny stars. Having walked up Fifth Avenue to catch up with just a few of the innovations at this unforgettable hotel, I was driven back down the Avenue in style, in that Rolls. This is kind of feel good, and even better, that The Peninsula New York instils.