The Plaza Hotel in New York City is jointly owned by Sahara Group and Kingdom Holdings, a Saudia Arabia based corporation. It has been managed by Fairmont Hotels & Resorts since 1999.
It was once said, “Nothing unimportant ever happens at The Plaza.” One of America’s most celebrated hotels, The Plaza opened its doors on October 1, 1907, amid a flurry of impressive reports describing it as the greatest hotel in the world. Located at Fifth Avenue and Central Park South, this luxury hotel was constructed in the most fashionable residential section of New York City.
The Plaza was the dream of financier Bernhard Beinecke, hotelier Fred Sterry, and Harry S. Black, President of the Fuller Construction Company. They purchased a 15-year-old hotel of the same name on the site. The three men set out to replace it with what is surely one of the most elegant hotels in the world. Construction of the 19-story building (a skyscraper back then) took two years at a cost of $12 million – an unprecedented sum in those days.
Henry Janeway Hardenbergh, who also designed the Dakota apartments, the Willard Hotel in Washington, D.C. and The Fairmont Copley Plaza Boston, set about his task to provide all the pomp, glory, and opulence of a French chateau. No cost was spared. The largest single order in history for gold-encrusted china was placed with L. Straus & Sons, and no less than 1,650 crystal chandeliers were purchased.Originally, The Plaza served as a residence for wealthy New Yorkers. Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt were the first to sign the register. For guests who chose to rent on a nightly basis at the time, this New York City luxury hotel’s single rooms started at $2.50 per night.Kings, presidents, ambassadors, stars of stage, screen and sports, as well as business executives and travellers from all parts of the world have gathered and stayed at The Plaza. The Plaza was so well known that Ernest Hemingway once advised F. Scott Fitzgerald to give his liver to Princeton and his heart to The Plaza.
Although The Plaza appeared fleetingly in earlier films, this Manhattan luxury hotel’s true movie debut was in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1959 classic North by Northwest – the first time a crew, director and cast assembled on site to make a picture. Before then, movies were shot almost entirely on Hollywood soundstages and rarely on location. The Plaza has provided the location for other motion pictures such as Plaza Suite, The Way We Were, The Great Gatsby, Barefoot in the Park, Funny Girl, Cotton Club, Crocodile Dundee I and II and Home Alone II: Lost In New-York.Designated a New York City Landmark in 1969, The Plaza is listed on the Register of Historic Places and the only New York City hotel to be designated as a National Historic Landmark.