hat can be said about New York that hasn’t already been written. The city that never sleeps, the concrete jungle where dreams are made of, it’s a destination loaded with expectation and its reputation certainly proceeds it.
The Baccarat Hotel is a legendary bolthole with VIP credentials in spades. It’s the first dwelling and the global flagship for the legendary French crystal brand of the same name – the history of which spans over 250 years. The heritage label has been creating custom crockery for royalty, A-list stars and moguls since its inception by King Louis XV in 1764.
Bringing a taste of Parisian chic to the Big Apple, one of the first things to note about the hotel is (unsurprisingly) the ubiquity of crystal, from the ornate chandeliers to the fine soft furnishings. This is a hotel that sparkles – and you will never want to leave.
Where is it?
Blink and you’ll miss it, the hotel is nestled between a library and a Brazilian steak house and a far cry from the hustle and bustle of the city below. Opposite the MoMA and a stone’s throw from the iconic Saks Fifth Avenue, this is a midtown hotspot mere walking distance from some of the best shopping in the world.
The five-star hotel emerges from the darkness with a waft of floral woody notes that’s the olfactory sign that you’re in the right place. Once you enter the doors, you’re greeted by three stunning custom chandeliers ensconced in glass that give a clue to the luxury and drama to follow.
A lift ride up to the 2nd floor and you hit reception. The hotel is set on 12 floors in a split level tower on West 53rd Street and the legendary 5th Avenue.
A pied-à-terre almost 4,000 miles away from the French capital, the gilded design takes inspiration from the House of Baccarat’s home country with all the elegance and glamour that you’d expect from a brand of its pedigree.
The interior designers at the Paris-based Gilles & Boissier put glamour and opulence at the forefront of the agenda. There are 17 custom chandeliers dotted around the establishment that magically bounce light around the building – a feat further enhanced by the glitzy ceiling.
From the outside, you’ll immediately notice the fitting but modern prismatic glass façade and yet the interior has a more traditional, opulent Baroque design. This duality plays out seamlessly throughout the hotel.
The rooms are all wood and cornicing as a nod to the refined interiors of 18th Century France but with subtle modern sensibilities and tech. One such is the electric curtains that form a veil of privacy across the floor-to-ceiling windows of your boudoir, only to rejoin the rooftops of New York with just the press of a button. The finest attention to detail is paid from the hand-pleated silk wall coverings, to the parquet wooden flooring.
References to crystal are incorporated and recontextualised in unique and endearing ways through the sconce lighting, art and even the fabrics. In each room’s well-equipped private mini bars, the Baccarat signature red box is recreated in enamel and opens to reveal fine crystal stemware. There’s also a fireplace mimicking that of the furnace at the France-based manufacturing facilities. It’s four foot high, dual-sided and always burning. In the lobby, you’ll also find 2,000 of the brand’s most instantly recognisable Harcourt glasses creating a light show in an unconventional display.
While it has a boutique feel, there are 114 guest rooms and suites. Opt for the most basic and there’s nothing at all basic about it. The room types begin with the Classic King and culminates in the plush Baccarat suite.
In every one, you’ll find custom jacquard linen and hand-painted French sliding doors that separate the bed from the bathroom – so you can look out at the view while in the shower if you’re that way inclined. The oversized rain shower is a very welcomed addition after stepping off the plane to leave you refreshed and ready for New York exploration.
Pamper yourself with the Baccarat toiletries with addictive aromas inspired by Rouge 540 (a collaboration between the brand and the luxury perfume house Maison Francis Kurkdijan to honour the former’s 250th anniversary) that combines jasmine and ambergris. The luxury suites come with La Mer products.
Pay a visit to the underground spa that is complete with a fully kitted out gym that puts Equinox to shame. It’s open 24 hours, you’ll never have to wait to bag a machine and there’s personal trainers available. Once you’ve finished using the cutting edge equipment, hit the sauna or take a dip in the sunken ballroom black and white marble chess board pool that mimics the one of the bar above. You’ll feel like you’re in a relaxation haven while unwinding in your cosy robe and surrounded by the art of Francois Houtin depicting utopian gardens. No detail is spared to ensure you are fully Zen.
The hotel also plays host to the only Spa de La Mer (yes that La Mer) stateside. Treatments range from sensorial facials using groundbreaking massage techniques, to the most extravagant hand massage imaginable. Two therapists work in synchronisation to offer deep relaxation for your digits. It will set you back $755 (for 90 minutes, $495 for 60) for the pleasure but if you’ve got money to burn, go for it. After a long flight, you may be better served with the deep tissue or Swedish massages that begin at $220 for 60 minutes.
Food and drink
If you don’t get a chance to eat in the Grand Salon where two Michelin star chef Gabriel Kreuther sets the French-inspired foodie agenda, then you must at least go for a drink (or two) at The Bar.
You may have already spotted the hotspot on your Instagram feed as it’s a popular destination for the celebrity set and a post work haunt for New Yorkers looking to work their way through the extensive cocktail menu – all are served in the most elegant crystal stemware, natch. The menu also details the largest champagne list in the country with over 250 references to choose from, which is why locals and visitors alike flock to the 60-foot bar. Well, that and the picture-perfect decor. Taking its design cues from Versailles with references to historical American long bars, this is a romantic, opulent space to while away a New York minute with crimson velvet furniture, mood lighting and custom designed works of art hanging on the walls.
If you don’t fancy sipping on your bubbles surrounded by people, take your coupe to your room at the press of the button. The phone in each and every room is complete with the extensive champagne list on speed dial.
While New York is renowned for its brunch, if you have a penchant for something from the other side of the pond, you’ll be left satisfied by the afternoon tea. For a home away from home experience, indulge in the Prince of Wales menu. Baccarat has created crystal for royal households for generations and this plays reference to that with a typically English affair complete with three-tiered sweet treats of the high tea nature. Ne additions also include the vegan and gluten free as well as the Petit Prince tea.
A luxury romantic long weekend of debauchery in the Big Apple. Leave the kids at home.
Baccarat Hotel New York is located at 20 West 53rd Street. To reserve, guests may call 1-844-294-1764 or visit baccarathotels.com. Prices start from $895 per night.