“I am a city child. I live at the Plaza.” So says the pint-size heroine of one of the greatest children’s books ever written, Eloise at the Plaza. The Plaza of course is the famed Plaza hotel in New York, where Eloise takes up residence in the room on the “tippity-top floor.”
Eloise lives the life most children (and adults) fantasize about– mostly free of supervision, with no obligations other than joining the debutante balls, wedding parties and other happenings at the Plaza. Other days are spent roaming the Plaza’s hallways or “assisting” the staff until dinner time, when Eloise calls room service “to send up that menu so we can order our dinner for Lord’s sake.”
Brilliantly, the real Plaza hotel embraces its Eloise legacy– making it the perfect spot to bring a young fan. Readers will recognize the Plaza’s grand lobby and chandeliers from the book and should they ask a staffer about Eloise’s whereabouts, they are likely to be told she slipped off just around the corner, or just left for Paris. Fans can also pose for a photo with Eloise’s portrait, enjoy afternoon tea in the Palm Court, and bring home an Eloise-themed souvenir from the gift shop downstairs.
I recently borrowed a young Eloise fan, six-year old Avery, to road test the full Eloise experience at the Plaza. Avery inherited her love of Eloise from her mom Rebecca, who also grew up on the books and childhood visits to the Plaza. Here’s how we spent our day:
Quick Content Guide
1. Tea at the Palm Court Terrace
On rainy days, Eloise lunches in the elegant Palm Court (and yes, there really are palm trees in the Palm Court). We skipped lunch and instead enjoyed another New York tradition– afternoon tea. While we adults checked out the spectacular standard afternoon tea menu (more on that later), Avery was handed her very own pink menu for a special Eloise-themed tea.
The Eloise Tea
Everything about the Eloise tea is kid-friendly. You can even skip the tea part entirely (as Avery did) and instead opt for the “Cold Cold Pink Lemonade” (which Avery reports is delicious, with notes of strawberry, lemon and lime).
The Eloise sandwich selection ranges from kid-friendly peanut butter and jelly (organic, natch) to cucumber and other classic tea sandwiches. Sweets include irresistable mini cupcakes, macarons, and Avery’s favorite, the “Pink Pink Cotton Candy.” The staff at the Palm Court goes above and beyond to make sure the kids feel like VIPs here– Avery had a fantastic time and basked in the attention.
At first I was concerned that Avery might be shy about being photographed. Turns out that was not an issue (our young star will be attending drama camp this summer– remember folks, you saw her here first).
Palm Court Tea for the Adults
The best part of the tea experience at the Plaza is that it’s as much fun for adults as it is for kids. I am a huge fan of afternoon tea and having experienced some incredible teas in London and New York, my standards are pretty high. Fortunately, the Plaza delivered– I opted for the Champagne Tea, which subbed out the more standard tea sandwiches for mini lobster rolls, foie gras on toasted brioche and caviar-topped new potatoes. Rebecca enjoyed the more classic New York tea– served with elegant tea sandwiches and a surprise mini bagel and lox. We both loved the just-baked scones and of course, the glass of bubbly.
2. Visit the Eloise Portrait
After the tea experience, we searched out the Eloise portrait that hangs in the Plaza’s hallway. Adorable Avery herself attracted some attention as several hotel guests stopped to tell her that she looked just like Eloise.
3. Head to the Eloise Shop For Souvenirs
Next up, the Eloise gift shop downstairs. As usual, Avery was ten
two steps ahead of us.
The Eloise shop is filled with fun items from the books, tastefully done. Several are exclusive to the shop and can’t be bought anywhere else. We photographed some of our favorite picks, including the classic Eloise uniform, hair ribbons, fancy party dresses and adorable clocks.
Avery left with several Eloise souvenirs, including the robe that Eloise wears in the books, which continues a family tradition (her mom received the same robe from the Plaza as a child).
Have you visited Eloise at the Plaza? Tell us about your experience!
Thanks to the Plaza hotel for the fantastic Eloise experience.