5. Palm Court | Plaza Hotel
At the corner of Central Park South sits a French Chateau. At least, that’s what the original developers of New York City’s Plaza Hotel — Bernhard Beinecke, Fred Sterry, and Harry S. Black — intended when they spent $12 million building a 19-story “skyscraper” hotel near Manhattan’s Grand Army Plaza. The Plaza Hotel, the only hotel in the city to be named a National Historic Landmark, opened in 1907. For decades, it was the meeting place of Manhattan’s wealthiest socialites, and papers hailed it as the greatest hotel in the world at the time. It was certainly the most luxurious, boasting its breathtaking glass-ceilinged Palm Court, its 1,650 crystal chandeliers, and its gold-encrusted china, the largest order from L. Straus & Sons in history.
The Palm Court, New York City’s “iconic destination for Afternoon Tea,” features a grand bar, tea by Palais des Thés, and a menu of American fare. Renowned architect, Thierry Despont, renovated the space in 2013, covering it with potted plants, ceiling-high palm trees, and custom furnishings. The hotel itself was designated a New York City landmark in 1969; by 1986, it was recognized as a National Historic Landmark due to its stunning architecture.