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Luxury, NY Style

Washington, D.C. Hotel

Want to feel like a billionaire? Stay at the brand new Park Hyatt on West 57th. That’s Hyatt’s ultra-luxury brand (only five in the US) in the same buzzed-about 1,007-foot-high tower where condos have sold for as much as $90M, or $10k/SF. (In contrast, Bunny Mellon’s 2,047-acre farm in Virginia just went up for sale for only $70M, or $35k/acre.) So if you are not a Russian oligarch for whom this is a fifth or sixth residence, staying at the hotel on an as-needed basis can save your bank account quite a lot of zeroes—even though rooms start at $800/night.

Extell Development, the tower’s owner, just this month sold the hotel portion (the first 25 floors out of 90) for $390M to Hyatt, or nearly $2M a room, one of the highest per-key prices ever paid for a hotel.

Because your publisher knows the GM from his days managing the Park Hyatt in DC, he and his wife got invited to stay last week for the soft opening. In fact, they were designated as the official First Guests of the hotel, and when they arrived even had a little ceremony where onlookers clapped. (They tell us they have a new appreciation of kings and queens who are applauded just for waving. It is hard work.)

The staff awaits as they walk in. Mark and Margot Bisnow wish to announce that they are starting a new business where they will specialize in being any hotel’s First Guests (they may even create an Uber sort of sharing app). They make it look simple, but in fact it takes much skill and practice to do it properly. For example, they tell us one needs to learn to repress thoughts of shouting “Yippee!” and learn how to say thank you with a slight British accent many times an hour.

Here they're checked in on iPad because perish the thought one would have to stand at a, ahem, counter.

And there are many other personnel on hand, waiting to attend to any need. Since the Park Hyatt will be offering many of the services for the billionaire residences in the tower, they are some of the best. (If you help rescue a cat, that could be a $100,000 tip.)

Here's the “Living Room” area for meeting guests, with the entrance to the stylish Back Room restaurant at the other end.

Sebastien Archambault, for two years the executive chef of the Blue Duck Tavern in DC’s Park Hyatt, now helms the kitchen at the Park Hyatt New York.

Proper wines and champagnes must be drunk.

And lobster salad must be eaten. These are very difficult tasks and clearly a job for skilled First Guests. 

Across the street is Carnegie Hall. Why is this relevant? Because its playlist is piped into the swimming pool on the 25th floor of the hotel. We do not mean into the lounge area around the pool. We mean into the water itself. As you are swimming, you hear the music without earphones. Did you even know this was possible? Of course not. However, First Guests know these things. (Though they did not know them last week.)