There are worlds that few will ever know, and one of those is living in a luxury New York City apartment hotel - places like the Carlyle, the Sherry-Netherland, the Waldorf Astoria, the Pierre, the Stanhope, the Gramercy Park, the St. Regis, the Ritz-Carlton, the Mandarin Oriental and recently converted Plaza.
New York is an international city with an enormous number of individuals who own more than one residence. This is one factor which accounts for the gravity defying Manhattan real estate market.
For the well-heeled looking for a pied-à-terre, the residential hotel fits the bill perfectly, with the amenities of an apartment and the services of a hotel (at the Carlyle Hotel, for example, there is a full time staff of 400.) For those wanting to own a place, there are cooperative and condominium apartment hotels.
These structures typically have a block of rooms which are strictly hotel room rentals, segregated from the privately owned rooms, often with a separate building entrance.
The Carlyle Hotel has been called the grand dame of this world. The services abound with restaurants, clothing and jewelry boutiques, an art gallery, antique shop, and antiquarian book dealer. The Café Carlyle has featured numerous well-known jazz performers, with regulars such as Bobby Short (1968-2004) and Woody Allen, who has been a Monday night regular there since 1996.
The Carlyle is renowned for guest privacy and why the New York Times called it a "palace of secrets." It became best known when President John F. Kennedy owned an apartment there on the 34th floor. From Christopher Gray's Streetscapes in the New York Times:
The earliest hotel tenants included Chester Dale, an investment banker and art collector who was later president of the National Gallery of Art. His collection of French 19th- and 20th-century paintings was one of the finest of the mid-20th century. ... Senator Kennedy took Dale's former apartment, 34A. Kennedy held onto it throughout his presidency.
The Carlyle is where Marilyn Monroe reportedly had a tryst with Kennedy, entering with him via a labyrinth of tunnels. On June 14, 2010, the FBI released a 2,352 page file, in which are reports of alleged sex orgies in Kennedy's suite, naming John, Robert, and Ted Kennedy, actor Peter Lawford and his wife Patricia Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra, and Sammy Davis Jr. as participants. I have read many snarky comments about how this news is so old - who cares? But this is not just any family, this is the Kennedy family and this is not just any hotel, this is The Carlyle.
Note: The Carlyle, located at 76th Street and Madison Avenue in Manhattan's Upper East Side, was built by Moses Ginsberg, designed by Bien & Prince and completed in 1930. The Art Deco residential hotel has 180 rental rooms and 60 privately owned residences.