Hotel Spotlight

New York City Shines Bright at Baccarat Hotel

by California Chaney
Grand Grand Salon at Baccarat Hotel in New York. All photos courtesy of Baccarat Hotel.

Baccarat Hotel New York
New York City
Opulent, $$$ 

They say diamonds are a girl's best friend, but crystals are the way into a traveler's soul. When the legendary 250-year-old French crystal company Baccarat opened a New York City hotel in 2015, they reimagined the elegance and ornate luster of their extraordinary crystal work and put it into the details and guest experience at Baccarat Hotel New York. But to appreciate the glamour of Baccarat, you should travel back to its roots in the small town of Baccarat in the Lorraine region of Eastern France.

The glassworks factory got its start in 1764 on a commission from King Louis XV, creating window panes, mirrors, and stemware for the local town. They acquired a crystal oven in 1816, employing some 3,000 people to work tirelessly on ornate crystal tableware. By 1823, commissions from royal families around the world were pouring in. And soon entire palaces were adorned with Baccarat crystal, and miles-long dinner tables were set with the glassware of kings and queens, the Harcourt, a work of art completed by six separate artisans. In 1885, Baccarat won a gold medal at the World's Fair in Paris for their millefiori (Italian for "thousands of tiny flowers") paperweights. Baccarat crystal is not only praised for its clarity and brilliance, but also for its bullet-proof stability — one of those paperweights was once found perfectly intact amid the rubble of a bomb-destroyed church during World War II. In the hundreds of years since their founding, their luminescent crystal has become its own lifestyle, a symbol of glamour illuminating the finest  restaurants, estates, and hotels around the world. Little wonder they decided to open their own. 

Today, arriving at the hotel is like winning a crystal ticket to a modern-day French palace. A 25-foot wall adorned with more than 2,000 Harcourt glasses illuminates the entryway that lit by heavy crystal chandeliers, the largest of which, at 27-feet-high and 26,500 pieces of crystal, weighs two tons. During the day, rainbows cascade throughout the 50-story building, reaching the walls hung with 19th-century French masterpieces across the street at the Museum of Modern Art. Come sunset, the Grand Salon may be one of the chicest cocktail spots in Manhattan.

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The Grand Salon corridor.
Grand Salon.
The hotel's entryway displays over 2,000 Harcourt glasses.
Grand bedroom.
Petit Salon.
The bar.

At a Glance

The Vibe: Fanciful French classic with a modern flair.

Standout Detail: The blinding Baccarat crystals glistening everywhere you look.

This Place Is Perfect For: Well-heeled and affluent travelers, business executives with expense accounts, and James Bond.

Rooms: 114 guest rooms and suites, with 59 residences. On the beds, crisp Italian Mascioni linens and cashmere throws. On the nightstands, marble tops. On the panels, custom paint work. In Baccarat's signature red enameled mini bars, Ladurée macaroons. Crystal vases of plump red roses perfume the large marble bathrooms with soaking tubs and La Mer bath products. All rooms are marked by a piece of crystal outside the door, like a piece of art enclosed in glass. The Baccarat Suite includes a large king bedroom, living room, dining room,  and a small kitchen area outfitted with, bien sûr, crystal stemware.

On Site: You can globetrot the world in one afternoon at tea service in the Grand Salon on the second floor, choosing between a King Louis XV French afternoon service, Prince of Wales English tasting, and Sultan Abdülaziz Turkish tea serving. A petit salon is more relaxed, but not in terms of opulence, given the dozens more chandeliers, plush velvet seating, and card tables. The lower levels of the hotel are accessed by a grand staircase framed by a 125-foot-wide curtain made entirely of dangling crystals. One direction leads to the indoor 55-foot pool with a black-and-white checkered marble floor flanked by plush cabanas. It will remind you of a sunken ballroom from an extravagant 1920s Great Gatsby party. On the other side, the Spa de La Mer, the only U.S. spa by the luxury French skincare line with signature treatments inspired by the sea. There's also a gym with cycling bikes and a separate workout studio for yoga and pilates.

Food + Drink: Grand Salon serves an all-day menu overseen by the hotel's culinary director Gabriel Kreuther, the two-Michelin-starred chef who grew up in a small town in Alsace near the Baccarat factory. The public dining areas are closed for Covid, but in-room dining is available. The hotel boasts the biggest champagne list in the United States.

The lower-level pool.
Spacious bathrooms are clad in marble with luxurious soaking tubs.
Baccarat suite living area.
Grand double room.
Spa de la Mer.
Luscious red roses perfume the guest spaces throughout.

What to Do Nearby

The hotel's luxury experience extends to the streets of Manhattan, with a house car available to guests for private rides within fifteen blocks. Reserve a timed ticket at the Museum of Modern Art to check out their new expanded galleries and remix of their permanent collection. In the era of social distancing, there's no better place to get some space in NYC than Central Park.

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