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The hotel with history: Harry and Meghan's NYC bolthole comes with a thrilling past

·4-min read
New York, USA - January 25, 2013: The Carlyle is a  luxury hotel located at 35 East 76th Street on Madison Avenue, it is both rental rooms and suites hotel and privately owned residence. People in front of the entrance, the doorman is helping a guest, cars are passing on the street and it is snowing.
The Carlyle at Christmas. Who wouldn't want to check in? (Getty Images)

Prince Harry and Meghan touched down in Autumnal New York City on Wednesday - and there was only one place they wanted to stay. The couple checked straight into The Carlyle Hotel which overlooks Central Park.

An emblem of old-fashioned grandeur, named after Scottish essayist Thomas Carlyle, the 35-floor hotel puts the top hat in Manhattan, with its elegant, Deco style and seamlessly discreet service. Since its opening in 1930, the 190-room monolith, which also offers 60 private apartments, has played host to six US presidents, Hollywood royalty and actual royalty.

Photo by: NDZ/STAR MAX/IPx 2021 9/23/21 Prince Harry and Meghan, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex visit One World Observatory in New York City.
Prince Harry and Meghan chose The Carlyle for their New York stay this week (Press Association)

It became known as The White House of New York when JFK kept an apartment there for a decade, while other luminaries to stay within its venerable walls include Harry's mother Diana, who stayed here regularly, as did Prince Charles, Michael Jackson, Steve Jobs, Marilyn Monroe (who allegedly sneaked into Kennedy's 34th-floor apartment via a service entrance), Jack Nicholson, Mick Jagger, who stays in an apartment here when he's in New York, Naomi Campbell and many more.

NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 22:  . (L-R) Kevin Kline, Cobie Smulders, Kate Burton and Kristine Neilsen pose at a photo call for the revival of the classic play
The cast of Present Laughter on Broadway hold a photocall in the Royal Suite. (Photo by Bruce Glikas/Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic, Getty Images)

A 2018 documentary, Always At the Carlyle, explored its legendary status and enduring appeal.

"We don’t talk about out guests and that’s why people feel so comfortable staying here," says one manager, while famed bartender Tommy agrees, "what happens here stays here."

Watch: Watch Kendall Jenner get ready for the Met Gala

On Wednesday evening, Harry and Meghan were joined by Meghan's close friend, designer Misha Noonoo and her husband, oil tycoon Mikey Heiss. They stayed in the hotel's restaurant eating dinner and drinking martinis all evening. 

The following night, Harry was spotted in the hotel's Bemelmans Bar, enjoying a glass of wine. 

The Carlyle's air of luxurious privacy and discretion has long appealed to the A-list. Whether Meghan and Harry are staying in the Presidential Suite is not known, but previously, Prince William and Kate Middleton have stayed there on a trip to the city. The suite has a grand piano, floor-to-ceiling windows, a full kitchen and an office space.

The Carlyle, lighting up Manhattan. (Getty Images)
The Carlyle, lighting up Manhattan. (Getty Images)

The Sussexes, now they're no longer 'senior royals', may be staying in The Empire Suite, with its sweeping views over Central Park. This where the after-party for the prestigious Tony Awards is held every year. 

The suite has a private art collection curated by the nearby Metropolitan Museum of Art, two bedrooms, an office, four 'and a half' bathrooms, a dramatic staircase, and access to a private butler and town car. 

Ordinary rooms costs around $1200 a night - but the Presidential suite racks up a whopping $9000 per night. 

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 03:  A view of the lobby and concierge at The Carlyle Hotel on May 3, 2016 in New York City.  (Photo by Rob Kim/Getty Images)
The lobby of the Carlyle, and the concierge. (Photo by Rob Kim/Getty Images)

The hotel is Covid-safe, and requires proof of vaccination on booking, which will be music to the ears of Harry and Meghan. They are both passionate advocates for mass vaccination and will be speaking at the Global Citizen Live concert in Central Park on Saturday night, calling for G7 countries to fund a billion doses for developing countries.

New York City from Carlyle Hotel Room Window (Photo by mark peterson/Corbis via Getty Images)
New York City from a Carlyle Hotel Room Window (Photo by mark peterson/Corbis via Getty Images)

Afterwards, they can retire to their nearby hotel, where rubber-necking at stars is forbidden and A-listers mingle comfortably without ever being harassed by autograph seekers. Woody Allen has played in the hotel cafe's jazz band for years, while several stars, including Alicia Keys, used its central location to prepare for last week's glittering Met ball.

Rooms feature gleaming marble bathrooms with graphic black and white tiling, soothing mushroom-coloured walls, sleek Deco soft furnishings and crisp white bedlinen. Guests are treated to fluffy bathrobes, mirrors, flowers, and polished wood. There's even black truffle crisps in the mini bar.

President Kennedy, hat in hand, leans slightly forward as he glances at bystanders upon his arrival at the Carlyle Hotel here September 19th.  The Chief Executive is scheduled to address the 18th session of the United Nations General Assembly September 20th.  He is expected to discuss the partial nuclear test ban treaty and prospects for further reductions in East-West tensions.
President Kennedy arriving at the Carlyle before addressing the 18th session of the United Nations General Assembly. Marilyn Monroe not pictured. (Getty Images)

The public spaces are elegant too, with shining black marble floors, low lighting and dark wood conjuring an atmosphere of ease and timeless class.

 "There is nothing more emblematic of elegance, history, romance and scandal," said designer Vera Wang of the hotel - and it seems generations of royals agree.

Watch: Dianna Agron is an old soul who loves The Carlyle

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