There is no signage visible from the street except a discreet one that says “Baccarat New York,” reminiscent of the façades of New York clubs in the late ’80s and ’90s. The Baccarat Hotel is a more refined, less bohemian version.
The prismatic glass façade is modern, sleek but very low-key, with the radiance of Baccarat crystal reflecting and refracting light across its 50 stories.
As one enters, the black interior of varying materials and textures is very dramatic, exuding the vibe of a private club or enclave more than a hotel.
At the main entrance, a large dual-sided fireplace welcomes guests, paying tribute to Baccarat’s furnaces, which are stoked 24 hours a day to produce the world’s most coveted crystal. Behind the entrance, a wall is formed with nearly 2,000 Harcourt glasses, the brand’s most iconic crystal piece. Laid horizontally and illuminated with LED lights, the installation flickers and flashes throughout the day.
The interiors pay homage to the aesthetic of 18th-century France, while incorporating the feeling of a private and welcoming 21st-century home. French spatial proportions and décor are fused with the energy of contemporary New York, a city of boldness and boundless energy.
The designers tell a remarkable story about the legendary brand’s 250-year evolution in a multitude of applications in the entire hotel.
Seventeen glittering, bespoke chandeliers and light fixtures hang or stand in the hotel’s public areas. Classic and reinterpreted pieces from the brand’s archives and contemporary collections are displayed in towering vitrines on the second story.
The Grand Salon’s 35-foot ceiling and plush, platinum-and-champagne palette create a glamorous backdrop for all-day lounging, dining and cocktails. The Petit Salon’s smoked oak walls and emerald green velvet settees beckon guests desiring a more private and tranquil environment, reminiscent of the anterooms in Versailles.
Noteworthy design elements throughout the hotel include classic wood parquet floors and intricate wood panels finished off with slick chrome. A clever modern detail terminates mouldings and cornices; recontextualized crystal elements are incorporated as art installations; and walls and ceilings are treated in rich materials such as pleated silk, silver-leafed boiserie and shimmering shards of mica—high design deconstructivism at its best.
The amazing thing about the glamorous spaces is they don’t intimidate at all. Whether you are dressed to the nines or in jeans and sneakers, you never feel over- or underdressed.
The whimsical 60-foot bar was inspired by the stables at Château de Versailles and boasts a dramatic barrel-vaulted ceiling, three monumental chandeliers and theater lighting, giving the space a cinematic feel. The bar’s dark, opulent aesthetic features crimson velvets, dark leather as well as a black-and-white checkered floor—a highly charged scene for after-work, after-dinner or late-night cocktails. Beyond the bar, overlooking the Museum of Modern Art, oversized French doors lead to the hotel’s beautiful landscaped terrace.
The wine list is extensive and the cocktail menu highly creative, with reinvented classics, new concoctions using the best ingredients, and a wide range of mixtures like sake, yuzu and kaffir. I thoroughly enjoyed my refreshing Baccarat Gin and Tonic with grapefruit soda, tonic grapefruit, ginger bergamot and fennel.
The “house” Billecart Salmon Rosé is “comfort champagne” to me. Next time, I hope to try the inspired champagne cocktails—Chateau de Cristal 2007 with Grey Goose, Grand Marnier and V.E.P. Yellow Chartreuse. I truly think the drinks taste even more fabulous sipped from Baccarat crystal glasses.
The Alsatian cuisine of two Michelin-star chef Gabriel Kreuther is deeply rooted in classic French culinary techniques. He is driven by an unwavering commitment to quality, thoughtful craftsmanship and luxury very much aligned to the core values that the Baccarat brand represents.
As it is with the cocktail and drinks menu, lots of classics have been reinvented and prepared with a very light hand. My son, who has been surviving on university dorm food of late, ordered and devoured the duck confit a l’orange three times.
The Harcourt salad, lobster pasta, and black Angus burger were all delicious. I completely missed out on the Petit Pate Feuillete Baccarat (duck, hen, foie gras, veal green salad), Kreuther’s take on a staple Alsatian Provençale food, and the famous apple strudel. More than enough reason to go back.
The Afternoon Tea offering can fulfill anyone’s fantasy. There’s King Louis XV (French Tea at Versailles) if you’re feeling like a monarch, Prince of Wales (English Tea at Windsor) for tea in the country with the Queen, Sultan Abdulaziz (Turkish Tea at the Dolmabahce Palace) if you like to imagine being on the banks of the Bosphorous, and Tsar Nicholas II (Caviar Tea at Tsarskoye Selo) if you’re feeling like a Romanov.
The 114 sanctuary-like guest rooms and suites have been designed to feel like one’s pied-à-terre with bespoke desks, sconces and table lamps by Baccarat. The Classic King measures 40 to 45 square meters.
The Baccarat Suite is the crown jewel spanning a sprawling 175 sq m. All rooms feature floor-to-ceiling windows, plush four-poster beds, custom jacquard linens by Mascioni and glass showers concealed by hand-painted French doors.
The marble bathrooms contain amenities crafted exclusively for the hotel by Parisian perfumer Maison Francis Kurkdjian. Use of Baccarat crystal glasses for brushing one’s teeth makes the experience even more pleasurable.
Simple, intuitive technology via an in-room device controls all aspects of the room. I shared a very gracious 45-sq-m twin room with my son for a week while he was on spring break—certainly a luxurious departure from university dorm life in Connecticut.
Like with many of my favorite hotels, it’s not only the design and physical space, but the service that brings you back. The team includes the very warm, mild-mannered Filipino hotel manager, Guia Llamas; the knowledgeable concierge team of Vladimir and Pierre (who got my last-minute order of frozen Katz Deli pastrami delivered in time for my departure); and the always helpful doorman Kelvin, truly a doppelganger of Denzel Washington. Service was both effortless and seamless, but not in your face.
Who would have thought that a luxury crystal brand could spin off into a shimmering hotel in prime midtown Manhattan?