New York’s most iconic club, The Carlyle, a Rosewood Hotel, maintains its top-ranking status thanks to an Aussie. Managing Director Marlene Poynder hails from Perth.
Actually, it’s been the Big Apple’s celeb hang-out since it opened in 1930 (built by Polish immigrant Moses Ginsberg, the 35-floor building, on Upper East Side at Madison and 76th, was named by his daughter Diana, a Cornell student who was fascinated by the writings of Scottish philosopher Thomas Carlyle, an influencer on all Victorian art forms). Allegedly among the first guests was 28-year-old Richard Rodgers, of Rodgers & Hammerstein fame.
The Carlyle has 190 hotel rooms and suites plus, on all floors, owned residences lived in by the very famous, and very rich, who may, or may not, be recognised in the shared elevators. There’s no people-watching in the main lobby, presided over by a capable team standing in front of a wall of old-fashioned key lockers. No loitering here.
Suite 3101, designed by Tony Chi, does seem like a private apartment. Patterned carpets and tiled floors, and soft greens echo the colours of Central Park, two blocks west. The full working kitchen, and vases of off-white flowers, are at-home feeling. Lots of real art books complement a trompe l’oeil of taupe books on the white wall above the deep soaking tub.
Locals really frequent The Carlyle. Hair cut? Yves Durif has his scissors sharpened (he does the ever-chic MD). Valmont therapists are on hand, for bodies and faces – and to buy supplies take home, there’s a Valmont boutique down at 76th Street, near Yves Delorme, for sumptuous sheets souvenirs.
Bemelmans, a ground-floor bar, is home-from-home for local achievers. Nightly, they call in at the end of a working day. The low-ceiling space is a high-volume buzz of Gen-Zs, pairs of girls, groups of guys, and seasoned red-jacketted servers nipping around with yet more vodka martinis. First-timers might not even see the wall murals by Ludwig Bemelmans, author-illustrator of the Madeline series. At 9.30 pm, voice volume down, a live trio appears. There’s real music, too, in Café Carlyle – current star is Montreux Jazz Festival pianist Peter Cincotti.
Join this unofficial Big Apple club. Manhattan flair that exceeds reputation. Do reserve everywhere, including Dowling’s restaurant. Robert W. Dowling, a philanthropist who never progressed to university but had a Manhattan college, which operated until 2016, named in his honour (at some point he was the first officially-recorded to swim around Manhattan). Dowling’s dinner best-sellers include tuna tartare, and a New York striploin, with sauce au poivre for tradition’s sake – they love doing tableside flourish service here.
At breakfast, there’s no doubt. Lox’n’bagels, Upper East Side by name, Carlyle by style. Just-baked bagels, served in horizontal halves. Cover with chef’s cream cheese blended with dill and lemon, Faroes salmon home-smoked with applewood, pickled shallots, and tomatoes.
Mary Gostelow publishes the daily girlahead.com, a weekly newswire Mary Gostelow’s Inner Circle, and a unique weekly 15-minute industry Mary Gostelow Girlahead Podcast, all part of Almont Global.