Living Out My Childhood Dream At New York City’s Plaza Hotel

$2,000 a night? Charge it, please!

A photo of the Eloise Suite at the Plaza Hotel.

The Eloise Suite at The Plaza Hotel

The Eloise Suite at New York City's Plaza Hotel was designed by fashion designer Betsey Johnson. From the sparkly headboard on the king-sized bed to the striped walls and the neon nameplate on the wall, everything in the room (except the zebra patterned carpet) is pink.

Photo by: Alexa Rockwell

Alexa Rockwell

On the afternoon of Feb. 28, 2024, I was whisked away from my New York City apartment for a “birthday surprise” by way of the m31 bus. After we got off at 58th Street and Fifth Ave, my sister, Brianna, asked me if I knew what day it was. It was a silly question, of course. I’d been patiently waiting four years for my next Leap Day birthday, and I only had one more day to go.

“So, if you turn seven tomorrow, what does that make today?” It took a moment to realize — then my spatial awareness kicked in and I started putting the pieces together. It was my last night being six.

“And what better place to spend your last night being six than...” We turned the corner and there we were. “At the Plaza Hotel!”

I’d wanted to visit New York City’s Plaza Hotel since I was a young girl, after developing quite an obsession with Kay Thompson’s book Eloise. The protagonist, Eloise, is a 6-year-old girl living her absolute best life as a resident at the Plaza Hotel under the care of her nanny. Her day-to-day consists of ordering room service, playing with her dog Weenie and her turtle Skipperdee, getting involved in other people’s business and running around the hotel causing the kind of chaos only she could get away with.

Walking through the revolving doors to the lobby, I was transported into a world of luxury that I’d only seen on screen in the adapted movies Eloise at the Plaza and Eloise at Christmastime. A bit overwhelmed, I tried to take everything in from the crystal ten arm chandeliers to the polished floors and guests enjoying afternoon tea.

As I walked through the 18th floor hallway, admiring the wooden room keys (I’d never seen a wooden hotel key before), I wondered aloud: “I wonder if this is the floor Eloise lived on.” I wouldn’t have to wonder long because just as I walked a few more feet, I spotted a bright pink and white striped door amid the otherwise neutral-toned hallway. Not only was I spending my last night being six at THE Plaza Hotel, but I was staying in Eloise’s very own room!

From the sparkly headboard on the king-sized bed to the striped walls and the neon nameplate on the wall, everything in the room (except the zebra patterned carpet) is pink. The curtains on the French doors to the bathroom contain illustrations from the book, as well as some of Eloise’s most iconic phrases such as “Charge it, please!”

NEW YORK - JULY 29: General view of the Eloise Suite at The Plaza Hotel on July 29, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Henry S. Dziekan III/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK - JULY 29: General view of the Eloise Suite at The Plaza Hotel on July 29, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Henry S. Dziekan III/Getty Images)

Photo by: Getty Images/Henry S. Dziekan III

Getty Images/Henry S. Dziekan III

The bathroom, which is tiled with pops of pink and gold accents, has its own chandelier which I enjoyed looking at while sipping my coffee in the “rawther fancy” bathtub.

NEW YORK - JULY 29: General view of the Eloise Suite at The Plaza Hotel on July 29, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Henry S. Dziekan III/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK - JULY 29: General view of the Eloise Suite at The Plaza Hotel on July 29, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Henry S. Dziekan III/Getty Images)

Photo by: Getty Images/Henry S. Dziekan III

Getty Images/Henry S. Dziekan III

The beauty was really in the details. Upon arrival, the television was playing Eloise at the Plaza and Eloise had left me a bag of gifts, including a copy of the book (which I’m grateful for although I obviously already own it), a pink-embroidered robe, a bottle of champagne and a handwritten card from the precocious six-year-old herself.

A photo of a note from Eloise at the Plaza Hotel.

A Note From Eloise At The Plaza Hotel

A handwritten note from Eloise at her suite in New York City's Plaza Hotel.

Photo by: Alexa Rockwell

Alexa Rockwell

On the bed were large stuffed animals of Weenie and Skipperdee and a wardrobe stand featuring the character’s signature tulle tutu and a princess hat. According to the hotel's website, the room’s “outrageous and fun decor” is courtesy of fashion designer Betsey Johnson, who designed the room back in 2010 as a nod to the larger-than-life character.

I, of course, had to channel my inner Eloise and order room service but not before they sent up ice cream and cake (yes, dessert before dinner in true childlike fashion). Spending the night in this room was living out a childhood dream — but it didn’t stop there.

Included in the price of the room was afternoon tea for two. The next morning, to start my actual once-every-four-years birthday, I got to experience the luxury of The Palm Court, a majestic space with an eye-catching stained-glass dome and design elements inspired by the greenery of Central Park.

My seat had a special pink napkin, a birthday note and a beautiful tiara that I just had to wear. Come on, it would be rude not to! When we ordered our tea, mine came in an Eloise-themed pot and teacup.

While we were enjoying our cucumber sandwiches, the manager joined us. He let me know I was the first person he’d ever met with a Leap Day birthday, and that some of his colleagues were shocked to find out I wasn’t actually a six-year-old girl but a fresh 28-year-old with a unique birthday. I guess it's typically children that enjoy the Eloise Suite. (I’d argue that I enjoyed it more than they would.)

After tea, we explored the rest of the hotel, and saw the breathtaking Grand Ballroom, which has hosted “A-list celebrities and society’s elite” for parties and events since 1907. The gift shop was full of Eloise dolls, almost all of Kay Thompson’s Eloise books and lots of themed knick knacks I had to stop myself from buying.

All in all, it was the best birthday surprise my inner child could’ve asked for and I have no idea how my sister, boyfriend, family and all of my friends who made this happen are supposed to top this in another four years. Good luck, everyone!

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