The Hotel: A Week in the Life of the Plaza

Sonny Kleinfield, Author Simon & Schuster $19.45 (0p) ISBN 978-0-671-63541-1
Considered ``the world's most luxurious hotel'' when it opened in Manhattan in 1907, the French Renaissance-style Plaza reserved 90% of its rooms for permanent tenants. (Today there are only four such residents--all elderly widows.) Rooms then cost from $2.50 to $4; now, the bottom rate is $175 and the Vanderbilt Suite is $4000 a night. Famous performers and writers and many foreign monarchs have stayed at the Plaza; every U.S. president since Theodore Roosevelt has spent time there. Centering on a typical week in spring 1988, this engaging volume, by New York Times reporter Kleinfield (coauthor of Lee Iacocca's Talking Straight ) amusingly describes the work and attitudes of some of the 1300 staff members, 80% of whom are multilingual, speaking a total of 35 languages. He records their anecdotes about pocket-picking, thefts, burglaries and suicides, about suspicious persons, con artists, escort girls, lobby sitters, ``fifty-fours'' (prostitutes) and drunken businessmen who frequent the Plaza. He discusses the hotel's finances, renovations, policies, management and the challenges that arise day or night. And he observes the visits of various VIPs and of the king and queen of Sweden, in whose honor a banquet is given. Reading the book is at least as enjoyable--and certainly less expensive--than staying at the Plaza. (July)
Reviewed on: 07/06/1989
Release date: 07/01/1989
Genre: Nonfiction
Hardcover - 978-0-517-07578-4
Ebook - 331 pages - 978-1-4804-8470-2
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