With Baccarat’s more than 250 years of experience catering to royalty, you can immediately feel the weight of such generational expertise every time you pick up Baccarat stemware or encounter one of its iridescent signature chandeliers. The Baccarat Hotel in New York City is the pinnacle of French craftsmanship and excellence. It’s a refreshing pause in a fast-paced city full of modern indulgences. The hotel offers its guests the unparalleled experience of French quality and hospitality, merely by stepping inside.
In 2005, Starwood Capital Group acquired the American subsidiary of Baccarat and eventually announced it would use the name for a luxury hotel chain “Baccarat Hotels and Resorts.” Having firmly established that New York is a second home to the brand, it seemed only natural to open its first hotel in the city on the cusp of its 250th anniversary. CEO Daniela Riccardi, in an interview with Global Citizen, said, “The hotel was a way to show that the spirit of a Maison can be transferred to the heart of Manhattan without losing any of its elegance, glamour, and modernity.”
Today, standing out among a concrete jungle, the Baccarat Hotel glistens like a crystal oasis just off bustling Fifth Avenue. Layers upon layers of crystal windows light up 53rd Street, enticing the curious mind to explore, hinting at the opulence within. With merely 114 beautiful, French-influenced rooms, the dedicated team and staff can focus solely on creating an intimate, luxurious experience for each and every guest. You’ll want to stay forever, as the hotel features a spa, pool, and two bars ideally suited to your needs.
Once you make your way through the entrance, you’re instantly greeted by the very distinct signature smell of the Baccarat Rouge 540 fragrance, created by world-class perfumer Francis Kurkdjian. Inside, you’ll find yourself surrounded by dark wood and an array of 2,000 crystal Baccarat glasses, placed on their side, with slowly dancing lights behind them—a modern crystal “objet d’art.” Tall ceilings, marble floors, and dim lighting highlight the legendary Baccarat logo stamped into the floor and through glistening crystals on the entrance wall.
In the elevator, you will notice a single red crystal attached to the chandelier that almost seems out of place. For most, this goes unnoticed, but then you also see that certain employees have a small red crystal pin to denote them for their superior customer service. It begs the question, why a red crystal? One of the classic signature design elements of a Baccarat chandelier is a “Baccarat Red” crystal placed among all the others. This theme is carried throughout the design of the hotel with the focus on a white or platinum canvas, with occasional red accents, mimicking the iconic red crystal embedded in each of the Baccarat chandeliers.Once the elevator doors open on the second floor, the Grand Salon carries the traditional flair of French glamour and chic lavishness with plush seating, silk-covered walls, and hovering Baccarat chandeliers. Stop in for a French pastry in the morning, or make reservations for high tea in the afternoon. Tea aficionados will enjoy blends brewed by a tea sommelier and served with chef-selected pairings.
For a social escape, Le Bar is an eccentric getaway where businessmen, socialites, and local patrons can be found conversing over craft cocktails, served in Baccarat glassware, of course. For authentic Parisian savoir-faire, the 60-foot ceiling resembles the royal stables at Versailles, and the walls are decked in art curated by Frédéric Chambre of PIASA, a prestigious French auction house.Sit down to relax with a charcuterie plate paired with a glass of burgundy, or perhaps my favorite, grilled hanger steak, to wind down after a long day. Should you get overwhelmed with the expansive list of over 250 champagnes offered by the hotel (one of the largest selections in the world), you can ask for my friend Matthieu Yamoum, Baccarat Hotel’s Wine Director and resident expert. Growing up in Champagne, it’s clear where he gets his plethora of knowledge and deep passion for champagne and wine. If you happen to visit the hotel in the fall, you’ll have a chance to explore a brand-new menu, designed by the recently appointed Culinary Director, Gabriel Kreuther, an esteemed Michelin-starred chef.
As you arrive to your room, you’ll notice a delightful Baccarat sculpture guarding your door. Housed in a glass tower, the unique crystal statue pleasantly greets you as you come and go throughout your stay. Your room number is also embedded in the marble floor, so you’ll have no trouble finding your room, even after having a few cocktails at Le Bar. Inside, the floor-to-ceiling windows allow light to reflect and bounce throughout the room while emphasizing the magnificent Manhattan skyline. Tall wooden bed frames dominate the space, featuring Mascioni jacquard linens and a cashmere throw branded with the Baccarat logo. For those who appreciate options, there is even a pillow menu, which you can access using a one-touch device to communicate directly with housekeeping staff and the concierge. The décor is inviting, with each piece of furniture strategically placed. The marble bathrooms feature oversized showers that are luxurious and give a spa-like feel. Of course, the experience wouldn’t be complete without a couple of Baccarat crystal glasses in the bathroom for your own use, along with Francis Kurkdjian amenities or La Mer skincare products.
Based on my numerous visits, I feel that a stay at the Baccarat Hotel is a must for any modern-day sophisticated businessman. You won’t want to miss the incredible opportunity to experience authentic French heritage and unique craftsmanship with a Manhattan twist. Homage to the crystal manufacture is sprinkled throughout the hotel, with every detail carefully planned out. The Baccarat Hotel is a crystal oasis, an escape from the hustle and bustle surrounding it. Take a chance to step in, relax, and appreciate the 250-year-old French-style hospitality.
Words by Christopher R. King, Editor-at-Large