The Carlyle, where I quite seriously plan to retire, is the very definition of Old New York to me. The 21 Club (the original one) and similar spaces in Manhattan have the strange but wonderful ability to make me feel about as protected from the world as anything could. As a Grande Dame should be, the hotel is a beacon of civility and conviviality right in the middle of the biggest city in America.
Below is the stunningly simple and elegant reception space for check in and other guest service needs.
Among the several beautiful spaces within the Carlyle, and I love them all, my favourite is called the Gallery, a unique space that defies logic of what anyone could imagine for a wonderful place to dine. In what is essentially a long transition hallway that is quite wide – a place to do something bold, and create a special dining area . As the guests at table enjoy dining and conversation, the passerby is on the catwalk – see and be seen as they alight into Bemelmans Bar.
Left a detail image, and below Bemelmans Bar, famous for the hand drawn murals done by Ludwig Bemelmans creator of the children’s book, “Madelaine” published in 1939. He provided the murals as an exchange for having his family live at the Carlyle for a time, and in another seemingly unworkable twist, the combination of cocktails and cartoons works to sublime execution in a hushed cocoon of a space in Manhattan.
Back within the gallery which draws you to the entrance of Bemelmans Bar, the tables are set and the diners are the audience. The magic of the space is this; the very delicate balance of allowing those dining to feel intimate while at the same time voyeuristic. Below you glean a sense of the Adriatic origins of the decor, and the unique spacing and traffic flow that allow this special room to work ;