It's said Grace Kelly danced down the halls clad only in her skivvies. Candice Bergen, Joan Crawford, Liza Minelli and Ali McGraw also called The Barbizon home.
Chaperoned, with no men allowed above the first floor, this was "New York's Most Exclusive Hotel Residence for Young Women". When I was a kid, I figured I'd live at the Barbizon when I made it big in New York. I never did either.
A lifetime later, I arrive at the "born-again" Barbizon. Newly renovated to the tune of $40 million, the Barbizon is now a great place for both boys and girls. The brick and carved honey-sandstone building is a beaut. A large old tapestry, a faux skylight and striped silk settee adorn the modestly sized art deco lobby.
The jewel in the new Barbizon's crown, however, is my 18th floor suite and its cloistered terrace. Strolling through the arches that top Corinthian pillars, I survey Manhattan below. These vast views are protected by a judicious 1926 purchase of surrounding air rights. Perfect for contemplating, dining or cocktailing al fresco.
If you need to give a small (or even not so small) party while you are in New York, this would be a great venue. The terrace wraps around two sides of the suite. Chaises, wrought iron tables, chairs, potted trees and flowers complete the setting. At night, boxed spots illuminate the carved sandstone, rendering a soft light and not obscuring the view.
If weather moves your party inside, well, lets hope you didn't get carried away with your invite list. The accommodations, however, will suit.
The living room with large windows and French doors has a lovely feeling of space and light. The eclectic décor is a delightful mix of traditional and modern pieces with Chinese accents.
Close off your bedroom and bath with the sliding pocket doors. Guests have their own vanity room--they don't have to mess up yours. Entertain with the Sony TV\VCR Marantz sound system.
You entertain---I'm going to soak in the huge Jacuzzi tub, listen to Mozart and use up all the doodads the amenities fairy left. I love this bathroom.
When I'm done, I'll grab my warmed bath sheet and shuffle off in my Barbizon slippers and robe. Perhaps, I will call for a massage on the terrace.
All this sounding too languorous for you? Then get thee to the health club! The Barbizon leases its 40,000 sq. ft health facility to none other than The Equinox AND its complimentary for Barbizon guests.
Swim under the palms in the original mosaic tile swimming pool (yep, the very one that Ali and Grace played in.) Workout on torture equipment of the highest order. Take classes, saunas, spa treatments or parley with a personal trainer.
Now I suppose you're hungry. Got that covered too. We are, after all, in New York and The Barbizon is surrounded by restaurants.
If you don't want to move, order up some crispy fried calamari from the 24-hour room service or, if its still the AM, drop into the Breakfast Room.
Now, get moving---you're in a great location (East 63rd Street at Lexington). Go to the theater, its a $4 cab ride to Times Square. Its a 5-minute walk to Central Park, and a mile to museum mile.
And for the topper, you're just 2 blocks from Bloomingdale's. What more could you want?
Work??? You say you came to New York to work? Too bad. Well, plug your computer into that data port gizmo, check your e-mail and get going. Didn't lug your computer to NYC? Give the Barbizon some notice and they'll supply a laptop and/or a fax. Now take the portable phone from your room and go slave away on the terrace. Beats the office, n'est-ce pas?
A sweet suite deal indeed.
By Kate Crawford March, 1999
LINKS WITH ATTITUDE
The Barbizon - Here's the Barbizon's web site.
New York Theater great articles, reviews and listings.
Central Park A fun site for Central Park. Covers all the museums and then some.
Restaurant Reviews Restaurant reviews along with location information.
New York A New York site for the hip, slick and cool.
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