The Plaza Hotel is a beautiful 19-story luxury hotel located on the most exclusive street in New York City, Central Park South. The hotel was designed by Henry Janeway Hardenberg and opened to the public on October 1, 1907, originally costing $12.5 million to build. When it opened, a room at the Plaza Hotel was only $2.50. Today, the same room costs $3,750. The Plaza was accorded landmark status by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission in 1988 and is, with the Waldorf-Astoria, the only New York City hotel to be designated as a National Historic Landmark.
The Plaza’s Famous Appearances
The most filmed building in New York City, the hotel is often used as a setting in books, TV shows and movies. Although it had appeared briefly in earlier films, The Plaza made its major movie debut in the 1959 film North by Northwest. Then-owner Donald Trump appears in 1992’sHome Alone 2: Lost in New York, directing the main character Kevin to the hotel’s grand lobby. And don’t forget the hotel’s appearance in season seven of Friendswhen the whole gang decides to go to The Plaza to have champagne and celebrate Monica and Chandler’s engagement!
Bride Wars starring Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway was shot in the Grand ballroom, the Terrace room, and in corridors, as the brides fought over who would have the more glamorous dream wedding at The Plaza.
Literary-wise, The Plaza was the venue for Becky Bloomwood’s faux wedding in Shopaholic Ties The Knot by Sophie Kinsella. In the 1950s, the Plaza was a setting for Kay Thompson’s series of Eloise books and later used in its film Eloise at the Plaza and Eloise at Christmastime. Another film version of the Eloise books, starring Jordana Beatty and Uma Thurman, is currently filming and will feature various shots of the hotel. F. Scott Fitzgerald also set a scene of The Great Gatsby in the famed Plaza.
The Beatles even stayed at the Plaza during their first visit to the US in fall of 1964!
The Plaza Hotel is also a typical hotspot on our famous Sex and the City Tour! The Plaza is featured throughout the popular TV series Sex and the City, serving as a backdrop for Mr. Big’s engagement party (to another woman!). Also, the scene where Carrie reads wedding poem at the wedding of Miranda’s decorator (while Big takes a phone call!) was filmed inside The Plaza.
The Oak Room
The Oak Room bar at the Plaza Hotel, built in 1907, was originally opened as a bar for men only. It was closed during Prohibition and was reopened as a restaurant in 1934. The Oak Bar was a literary hang out in the 1930’s and was a favorite watering hole for writers like Dorothy Parker and F. Scott Fitzgerald (who based his book The Beautiful and Damned on his exploits at The Plaza Hotel and Oak Room) and his wife, Zelda.
More recently, it has served as a backdrop for many TV shows and movies, including Arthur, North by Northwest, and Scent of a Woman.
The Oak Bar is where a millionaire senior citizen picked up Samantha on Sex and the Cityas she shipped a cosmopolitan alone; though the relationship started to, ahem, sag a bit. This ritzy bar is also where all of the characters on Gossip Girl gathered in the Season 2 finale in the hopes of finding out the identity of their tormenting blogger. See The Plaza and more Gossip Girl spots on our Gossip Girl Sites Tour!
Tea at the Palm Court
Afternoon Tea at The Plaza is a timeless tradition that blends an innovative menu with a formal tea service. Surrounded by the European splendor of the Palm Court courtyard, the afternoon tea caters to the different tastes of its sophisticated clientele.
Eloise enjoyed afternoon tea in Eloise at the Plaza. The Palm Court is what started it all in the movie Bride Wars: after attending lunch at the Palm Court and witnessing a wedding, Emma (Kate Hudson) and Liv (Anne Hathaway) make a pact to marry at the Plaza when their day arrives.
Grand Army Plaza
The hotel’s main entrance faces the southern portion of Grand Army Plaza— commemorating the Union Army in the Civil War. Grand Army Plaza is in two sections, bisected by Central Park South. The section in front of the Plaza Hotel is centered by the Pulitzer Fountain, funded by the will of the newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer. The north side of Grand Army Plaza, a cutout from Central Park, has the glorious Augustus Saint-Gaudens part-gilded bronze equestrian statue of General Sherman. Grand Army Plaza provided the original main entrance to the carriage drivers of Central Park.
You may recognize the Pulitzer Fountain from The Fisher King, where Jeff Bridges is looking for anyone named “Jiminy” and Serendipity, when Jonathan (John Cusack) gets handed his obituary instead of a wedding speech by his best friend, Dean (Jeremy Piven).
The Friends fountain from the series’ opening credits was actually a smaller knock-off of the Pulitzer Fountain, recreated on the Warner Brothers’ Back Lot in Burbank, California. The fountain is featured on the NYC TV & Movie Tour.
In the hit show Gossip Girl, Blair (Leighton Meester) and Serena (Blake Lively) have their own modeling shoot after stealing some dresses from Eleanor Waldorf; they ask a stranger to take their picture as they make the Pulitzer Fountain their catwalk.
Grand Army Plaza has been featured in films like Enchanted and Splash, where an ice rink was set up in the Plaza just for the movie and stars Tom Hanks and Darryl Hannah went for a spin.
So whether you can afford the $3,750 nightly price tag or not, The Plaza Hotel is a must-see stop on your tour of New York City and an important piece in the film history of the Big Apple.
* In an effort to stay current, we are constantly updating our tours with new locations and cannot guarantee the presence of locations mentioned on our site. If you have a particular interest in locations from a specific TV show or movie, please let your tour guide know and we will do our best to accommodate your request.