A week ago, I took Marlowe on our very first Mother Daughter trip. To say that I had been dreaming of that moment from the very day I found out I was pregnant with a girl baby is a gross understatement. I was pretty much dreaming of it since I was a little girl myself! Marlowe has been such an amazing Big Sister recently, and had just finished up her preschool year, so I wanted to organize a big treat for her. She and I have always been really close, but recently as she’s grown up a bit I’ve really been having so much fun spending long periods of time hanging out just the two of us. I have lots of work coming up this Summer, and so I thought it would be great for us to spend some quality girl time and enjoy a little semi-staycation in NYC before I get too busy!
And there was nowhere for us to spend it BUT the Plaza. When I was a little girl, I was obsessed with the “Eloise” books. I just adored her spunky attitude, the glamour of her life at the Plaza, and the hilarity of her fierce independence and adult-like adventures. When I was in 4th grade, we did a pen pal program at my school. We could pick any “known” person and write them a letter, and our teachers and principal figured out how to mail it to them. I chose Kay Thompson, the author of “Eloise”. I wrote to her, and she actually wrote me back! We ended up exchanging a couple of letters, which I WISH I still had. My Mom probably does still have them someplace, knowing her. LOL. When I knew I was having a daughter, “Eloise” was one of the first books I bought for her bookshelf! I was so excited to introduce Marlowe to the Plaza Hotel, and to the world of old school New York City glamour.
First up was pamper time! I took Marlowe to the Rita Hazan salon for a trim and a blowout. I go there to get my own hair done, and everyone was so excited to meet my mini! It was really sweet. Marlowe got a blowout and a beautiful headband braid in her hair. Then, we got our nails done! I told Lowie she could pick out the color, and we would both get the same one. She was sooooo excited by that, and picked a really pretty hot pink! She knows my favorite color is pink, and I thought it was so sweet that she purposefully chose a color that she knew I would like.
After our pamper time, it was time to check in to our room at the Plaza! I had called ahead of time and organized a little surprise for my girl…when we walked in to our room, there was huge bouquet of white and pink balloons waiting for her! She actually gasped. It was the cutest thing ever. And the rooms were even more beautiful than I could have hoped. The bed was so luxe and beautiful and very old world glamour. Our room had very high ceilings and a little balcony. And the bathroom was stunning! Marlowe exclaimed that it was the fanciest bathroom she had ever seen– all white marble and gold accents with a very pretty soaking tub. We unpacked a bit together. Then, we went exploring! The Plaza has an awesome food court in the bottom of the building– if you can even call it a food court. It’s composed of amazing, chic restaurants and cafés, and even places you can sit down for a cocktail. I bought Lowie a classic Black & White New York cookie, and we headed to the Eloise gift shop. I had heard the Eloise gift shop was great, but I didn’t realize HOW great. I was blown away. If you love Eloise, visiting this shop is an attraction in itself. There are the cutest (like, actually cute) Eloise branded clothes and accessories, dolls, books, and toys for purchase. There’s even a room with comfy chairs in the back where kids can sit and watch the Eloise TV show. I treated Lowie to an Eloise tee shirt and hair bow, and a stuffed animal of “Weenie”, the pet dog from the story.
Next up, we went upstairs to have Tea at the Palm Court! The Palm Court restaurant and tea room is about as grand and gorgeous as it gets. There are actual palm trees inside! I booked a traditional tea for me, and a special “Eloise Tea” for Marlowe. It was so adorable– the Eloise Tea came with either hot tea or lemonade, and a selection of sandwiches and sweets. There was even cotton candy! The presented her with a very gorgeous tea cup that had Eloise printed on it to drink her tea from. I couldn’t even believe how detailed the entire experience was. Once of Marlowe’s best friends met us for tea, and Marlowe told me later that having Eloise tea with her friend was her “Peak” of the whole trip! I definitely want to go back for a champagne tea experienced with a slightly older companion at some point. LOL.
Afterwards, we went back up to the room to rest for a while before heading out to dinner! I told Marlowe she was allowed to pick anywhere she wanted for dinner. Her answer: “Sushi, of course!” I almost died laughing. Benihana was right near the Plaza, so I asked her if she felt like hibachi for dinner, and we could get sushi with it if she wanted. She was PUMPED. We have a hibachi restaurant in Westport, but it really is nothing compared to Benihana, so I was excited for her to experience the real deal. The whole day, it had felt so cool to simply hang out with my daughter. To talk, ask each other questions, and enjoy a unique experience together. It was actually our very first time ever doing that, and she is definitely at the right age now to soak it all in. That mood continued in to dinner. We had the absolutely greatest time. I leaned over at one point and whispered in her ear “Hey, should we pretend it’s your birthday so we get a candle in your dessert??” Her eyes went so wide and she looked so excited. She leaned in and whispered back “YES!” A half an hour later, our hibachi chef asked if there were any special occasions and I told him it was Marlowe’s birthday. She started giggling and put her hands over her mouth. When dessert came, they had a candle for her and everything, and the whole table sang. She thought it was hilarious, and we were both laughing so hard and having so much fun sharing in the secret. When we left she said “Mom that was SO funny when they sang me happy birthday when it wasn’t even my birthday! You’re crazy!” LOLOLOL.
Like anyone else, I’m a regular Mom who gets frustrated and spread thin, and can get overwhelmed by my kids and then feel guilty once they’re asleep. I can’t tell you how great it felt to have a whole day with my daughter where we just took it one step at a time and had FUN. There was no stress, no rushing off to do a million things, it was just an easy breezy pace and a lot of laughs. It felt like such a milestone for me as a Mom, and I really hope that she enjoyed that time together as much as I did. We took our time walking home from dinner, and near the hotel, we passed a store with hundreds of glass and crystal tchotchkes in the window. We stopped and looked at all of them for a while they walked on in silence. After a minute Marlowe said: “You know, Mom, I think that Fragile Store is my favorite one in the whole city!” Haaaaaa. Oh man, what a riot this kid is. I’m definitely writing down the term “fragile store” so I can repeat it to her when she’s a grownup.
When we got back to the Plaza, they had left a piece of chocolate cake and a bottle of champagne in our room! I was so surprised and actually called Kyle thinking he had organized it– But he didn’t! (In retrospect, he definitely should have taken credit…) I thought that was so thoughtful and sweet of them, and Marlowe got a second dessert. Then she definitely had the energy to take a nice long bubble bath in “the fanciest bathroom ever”. I read her Eloise while she soaked. We climbed in bed together, in matching jammies (hello, have we met?) and ordered a movie. We were both exhausted from a full day and it wasn’t long before she was asleep!
The next morning, we ordered room service, and I let her make the phone call. It was SO Eloise-esque and so hilarious. I wish I had filmed it. After a great morning, we headed home. The trip was quick (barely 24 hours) but it was just the GREATEST. After always admiring the Plaza, but never having stayed there, I was a bit worried that it wouldn’t live up to the fantasy I had of it in my mind. BUT IT DID. The whole experience was exactly as I had hoped. The building is beautiful, classic, and amazingly preserved. It was as luxe as I had envisioned it, and the staff and environment was so friendly and welcoming. You can tell that they absolutely adore all the little Eloise-loving girls who visit there and really take pride in making their experience special.
By the way, this entire thing wasn’t sponsored in any way (I wish) but it was a bucket list moment that was worth every penny spent and I am SO Happy we did it! I had so many requests while we were there to write a post detailing the whole trip so that others could recreate it with their little girls, and I hope I’ve done a good job of that for you! If you’re thinking about creating a special memory with your little one, I hope you have the most amazing visit ever!
I’m really hoping to make it an annual trip with Marlowe as she gets older, so please let me know if there are any Plaza must do’s or special experiences to test out!
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Photographs by Carter Fish.