New York City is a living, breathing time machine. From uptown to downtown, the east side to the west, the city is full of landmarks that transport visitors to decades past -- including "The Roaring Twenties," when New York was swinging with effervescent jazz music, illegal speakeasies and prolific art.
Especially emblematic of that era is The Lexington Hotel in Midtown Manhattan, which opened in 1929 and quickly became an iconic destination for famous politicians, celebrities, business executives and athletes. Nearly 90 years later, the hotel -- now part of Marriott's Autograph Collection -- is paying homage to its storied past with six specialty suites, each of which has been totally redesigned by interior design firm Fringe to celebrate The Lexington Hotel's history, the property announced this week.
Unveiled in June, the first suite to receive a makeover was The Lexington's Norma Jeane Suite (pictured). Formerly known as The Centerfield Suite, the 600-square-foot suite once was the residence of New York Yankees legend Joe DiMaggio and Hollywood actress Marilyn Monroe, who filmed her iconic skirt-blowing scene for the movie "The Seven Year Itch" while she was living there. It has since been re-imagined in the style of a traditional pre-war New York City apartment. Highlights include the color palette, which consists of black, white and blush, with pops of red that allude to Marilyn's favorite lip color; velvet furnishings and silk textiles; and small details that reference the famous couple in a big way, like a Louisville Slugger baseball bat propped in an umbrella stand, monogramed Dorothy Draper cocktail glasses and a vintage Dom Perignon Champagne bucket.
Completed subsequent to the Norma Jean Suite were:
• The Lady Ella Suite, a 900-square-foot, two-bedroom suite that honors the career and cultural impact of New York songstress Ella Fitzgerald, whose influence is evident in the suite's jazz-themed décor;
• The Arthur Godfrey Suite, which pays tribute to radio and television host Arthur Godfrey with a retro bar and full dining room, vintage Arthur Godfrey memorabilia and an aviation-themed master bedroom that references Godfrey's time in the Air Force;
• The Hawaiian Room, a 415-square-foot, tropical-themed suite named after the hotel's famous Polynesian-themed entertainment venue, which welcomed guests from 1937 until 1966;
• The Hemingway Suite, a one-bedroom suite that channels the essence of Nobel and Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Ernest Hemingway with a large mahogany desk, tropical motifs, a vintage typewriter, a mini bar stocked with Hemingway's favorite beverages and a collection of Hemingway's novels; and
• The Conservatory, a suite conceived by the hotel's original architects but updated with a new garden theme that spans its 385-square-foot bedroom and its 200-square-foot glass-enclosed living room.
"We are thrilled to pay tribute to our storied past by unveiling our new specialty suites," said Kaizad Charna, The Lexington Hotel's area managing director. "The Lexington Hotel prides itself in its past and all that it is has accomplished since 1929. It was essential for us to design suites that offer guests an authentic experience rooted in the hotel's rich history while bringing those historical references to life and that is exactly what we aimed to do."
Four More Hotel Suites for 'Historic' Gatherings
The Lexington Hotel's specialty suites are ideal for hosting small events or VIPs. So are these four suites, whose historic themes will make their occupants feel sophisticated, stylish and special:
• The Lyndon B. Johnson Suite at The Driskill Hotel (Austin, Texas): President Lyndon B. Johnson met his wife, Claudia "Lady Bird" Taylor, at the Driskill Hotel, where they had their first date in 1934. Because the couple returned to the hotel again and again in subsequent years, one of its two presidential suites -- where Johnson watched the results of the 1964 presidential election -- is dedicated to their memory. Along with portraits of the president and first lady, a highlight is the bedroom, which references Lady Bird's love of nature and wildflowers with its blue silk draperies that were inspired by the Texas state flower, the bluebonnet.
• The John Lennon and Yoko Ono Suite at Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth (Montréal, Canada): In 1969, John Lennon and Yoko Ono held two week-long "bed-ins" for peace, during which they stayed in bed for seven consecutive days in protest of the Vietnam War. One of the famous bed-ins took place at The Queen Elizabeth hotel in downtown Montréal, which is now a Fairmont hotel. Now known as the John Lennon and Yoko Ono Suite, room 1742 is where the famous couple wrote and recorded the song "Give Peace a Chance." Guests who stay there now will feel like they're staying in a museum thanks to numerous historical elements. There's a TV that shows old footage, for example, a phone that plays you Lennon's voice, a tape recorder containing archival interviews and virtual reality headsets that let guests see what John and Yoko saw.
• The Penthouse Suite at the Fairmont San Francisco (San Francisco): Another Fairmont property with a storied suite is the Fairmont San Francisco, whose 6,000-square-foot Penthouse Suite is famous for hosting President John F. Kennedy, who is rumored to have hosted an extramarital encounter there. According to legend, Kennedy snuck a Hollywood starlet into the suite's two-story circular library; when she heard the first lady approaching, the actress -- rumored to be Marilyn Monroe -- used a secret passage inside the suite to sneak out. Along with the same library and secret passage, the suite today includes three bedrooms, a living room with a grand piano, a 60-person formal dining room where the charter for the United Nations was drafted in 1945, a professional-grade kitchen, a billiard room and an expansive outdoor terrace.
• The Historic Suite at The Peninsula Paris (Paris, France): Their famous guests are what typically make hotel suites "historic." At The Peninsula Paris, however, it's the architecture. Located on the first floor, the hotel's Historic Suite was one of the property's original Presidential Suites when it opened in 1908. In 2014, it was meticulously restored to its original grandeur by French artisans, who used old photographs to recreate every unique detail from the original suite. Totaling 2,335 square feet, highlights include the 11-foot tall ceilings with gold leaf-accented crown molding, Murano glass art pieces, original marble fireplaces, black and white marble bathrooms, and the trellised dining room with stained glass ceiling, which feels like an indoor gazebo. It feels like stepping back in time, literally.