How to Make the Eloise Experience Come Alive

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Your daughter’s name is Eloise.  She is a city child.  She lives at the Plaza. What?  Wait.  It’s not?  She doesn’t? Does she (or he) want to? Because he (or she) can…For every city kid who wonders why they don’t live at the Plaza Hotel, with a fountain out front and room service from the Palm Court and a turtle named Skipperdee, here’s the chance to reproduce the Eloise experience. And for moms and dads who feel a touch guilty taking their child on an outing that’s basically an ode to a spoiled brat, you can reassure yourself by thinking of it as a literary walking tour; a chance to make books come alive and cultivate a lifelong love of reading. And room service, of course.

Water Works
No Eloise at the Plaza book is complete without at least one drawing of the Grand Army Plaza out front.  Start your visit there.  (Red Tricycle Exclusive Tip: Angle your child towards the hotel, perhaps using such gripping phrases as, “Look!  There’s the hotel!” and away from the FAO Schwartz and/or Apple Store across the street.  Or this visit is going to cost a lot more than you bargained for).  Of the four corners of Central Park, the Grand Army Plaza is the only gateway that’s officially part of the 843-acre landscape.  It also features the Pulitzer Fountain, with its carved bronze figure of Pomona, the goddess of abundance.  Which, under the circumstances, is fitting indeed.

Let’s All Go To the Lobby…
When entering the Plaza, use the entrance directly across from the fountain.  Pay special attention to the doorman.  Most of them know their responsibilities as Friends of Eloise and, when it comes to children, will tip their hats and maybe even exchange a few words, making the visitor feel like she, too, is on a first-name basis with the staff (kind of).  Enjoy the yards of gleaming, marble floors.  They’re great for pretending to ice skate (the doorman might even pretend not to notice).  And make sure to look up and appreciate the Baccarat crystal chandeliers.  No swinging on them, though.  That’s for paying guests only.  You are also advised not to pour milk down the mail-chute, jump out from under tables to frighten the residents, and/or run down the hallways with a stick to rattle the doors.

Palm Sunday (Or Any Day of the Week)
Eloise always eats at, or orders room service from, the Palm Court restaurant.  Currently, they serve breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea, and you needn’t be a hotel guest to partake. The afternoon tea even boasts a designated Eloise menu, featuring your choice of grilled cheese, cucumber and buttered bread, organic PB&J, or strawberry and cream-cheese sandwich, freshly baked, warm seasonal scones with Devonshire cream and preserves, assorted cookies, chocolate cupcakes, Pink Pink (no, that’s not a typo, it is very, very pink) Jell-O, chocolate dipped strawberries, and Eloise shortbread cookies.  That will be $30 per child under 12.  And $50 per adult.  However, it costs you nothing to just walk by the open area and watch others eat.  Less calories, too.

Likely Living
Your ultimate destination, however, is underneath the hotel itself: Eloise at the Plaza: The Shop.  Take the escalator down and marvel as you enter a store dedicated totally and completely to the Eloise Lifestyle.  And not just any shop, mind you.  This place doesn’t merely sell Eloise outfits and Eloise pajamas and Eloise passport holders and life-sized, stuffed replicas of her dog and turtles.  (Oh, and books.  They also sell the Eloise books.)  This place utterly immerses you in all things Eloise, complete with Eloise’s dressing room, vanity table, and miniature pink piano – plus a stage to put on a show of your own.  You can also serve yourself some pretend tea in Eloise’s kitchen (no, sorry, her Tea Room), then plop down in Eloise’s pink bean-bags to watch Eloise movie clips on her pink TV set.  Looking for a souvenir of your visit?  Ask for your free gift before you leave.  In the past it’s been a pink Eloise notebook set.  The store is available for private birthday parties, too.  Choose from The Essential Eloise or the Rawther Fancy version.

Exactly Eloise
And just in case an Eloise day trip isn’t enough for your own literary Material Girl, rest assured, you can spend the night, as well.  The Eloise Suite, designed by Betsey Johnson and located on the 18th floor, is comprised of two rooms – one for your Eloise-in-Training and one for her parents – resplendently rendered in an Eloise-approved palette of pink and black. Décor highlights include a signature Plaza chandelier fitted with pink, candy striped wall panels outlined with gold leaf molding, a white zebra-print carpet, a King-size bed made up with custom-designed bedding depicting images of Eloise, a sparkly padded pink headboard and nearby ottoman, and Eloise’s name scrawled in neon lights affixed to the wall above. Upon arrival, a dedicated Eloise Ambassador will escort guests to the Suite where they may sign the official guest book and have their photo taken. The photo will be framed and given to the guest as a memento of the experience at turndown.  Rates for the Eloise Suite start at $995 a night and include a monogrammed Eloise bathrobe, a $100 gift card to the Eloise shop, an Eloise camera, and an Eloise book.

What? Isn’t this how all NYC kids live?

“Like” this story if you have Eloise wanna-bes at home (or you’re one yourself!). 

— Alina Adams

photos courtesy of Amiga-Commodore via Flickr, Alina Adams, and The Plaza Hotel via Facebook