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Checking In: The Early Word on NYC's Revamped Plaza Hotel

John Deiner

We've been eager in the Travel section to hear about what marvels the newly revamped Plaza Hotel holds in New York City. But with rates that easily top $700 a night ($700!!) we haven't been able to check it out yet. Nor do we think we can anytime soon.

So we'll let Mike Di Paola of Bloomberg News give us the early word on the place. The hotel closed several years ago for $400 million in renovations; it reopened earlier this month with lots of oohs and ahhs -- and that was just over the cost of a room.

The world-famous Plaza Hotel in Manhattan attracted a lively crowd for tea service last Friday to the tune of $60 per person or $100 with caviar and truffles. (Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg News)

According to Di Paola, everything about the place is pretty amazing: "The gargantuan flat-screen TV hangs over a dark wood cabinet. A portrait of Henry VIII glowers from my wall. But it's King Midas whose touch is in the golden curtains, furniture, ceiling. The bathroom sinks are tricked out with faucets plated in 24-carat gold. The thick terry bathrobes are trimmed with gold. The twinkly leitmotif is somewhat ruined by the creepy fake mink coverlet on our aircraft carrier-sized bed."

Bloomberg's Ryan Sutton chimed in with his own report on the dining options, and the overriding message is: Bring money. And lots of it. Writes Sutton: "Pancakes for breakfast? $26. Cheesecake? $17. How does it all taste? Like hotel food: serviceable fare that sates without inspiring." Tea for two, however, was a hoot in the Palm Court. The cost? $173.

But, alas, as of now there is no fitness room, spa or signature restaurant -- major deficiencies for a hotel charging a fortune for a room. Di Paola writes: "Still, a hotel with no fitness room, spa or signature restaurant might consider opening at reduced rates, rather than rope in customers with its reputation. The revamped Plaza can get by on its cachet for only so long."

Have to agree on that, but I'm not sure I'd ever pay $700 to stay in a hotel room, even if it is the Plaza. The most I've ever spent was about $250 for the Venetian in Las Vegas, and even that hurt.

How about you? What's the most you've spent on a hotel room? And was it worth it?

By John Deiner |  March 18, 2008; 12:03 PM ET  | Category:  Hotels , John Deiner , Mid-Atlantic Destinations
Previous: Travel Tech: Airfare Searches for the Truly Frugal | Next: Insta-Q&A: Rooms in Paris for La Famille

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The most I've ever spent for a room was $180 a night for a mediocre room at a Holiday Inn in San Diego. It was a convention rate (my employer did not pick up the tab), but I don't think it was actually a discount. The room was just adequate, nothing special.

Posted by: csdiego | March 18, 2008 2:23 PM

we paid around $300 a room for a supposed 5 star all-inclusive in cancun this year. Big mistake. a normal marriott in the states would be a 10 star hotel compared to that place! Normally we dont pay more than $200/night, but thought we'd like to get pampered at an all-inclusive. The room was dirty and old, while the food was mediocre at best. the saving point was that the beach was phenomenal.

Posted by: Shakes, VA | March 18, 2008 2:33 PM

I paid £349 for a very nice room at the Ritz in London in 2003. Got a room upgrade, a welcome gift, and free breakfast via American Express. Very nice hotel. The price didn't put me off because I was there for the weekend (flew over on Friday night) and the purpose of the trip was the Sunday afternoon Concorde flight back to the USA. When you're paying $7,000 for the airfare, a bit under $700 for the hotel room is no big deal. Not something I could pay on a regular basis, of course, but it was well worth it and the service was outstanding in all ways.

Posted by: Rich | March 18, 2008 4:18 PM

We paid $280 per night to stay on a savanah-side concierge-level room at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge. Don't think I would do it again, but to some it may be worth it.

Posted by: Mickey | March 19, 2008 4:15 PM

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