Plaza's "Eloise" suite mixes luxury and whimsy

Fri Jul 30, 2010 12:43pm EDT
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By Karina Ioffee

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - The lovable fictional heroine of Kay Thompson's classic book "Eloise," who turned the landmark Plaza hotel on its head with her wild antics, is back with a suite created in her honor.

Designed by Betsey Johnson, the fashion designer known for her whimsical creations, the elaborate $995 a night room on the 18th floor features zebra-print carpet, pink striped walls, a king-size bed with plenty of pillows --in case a pillow fight strikes your fancy-- and even a tiny kitchenette stocked with candy and pink glasses.

"We've been wanting to have an Eloise suite for such a long time," said Shane Krige, the Plaza's general manager. "Eloise is a big a part of the hotel history and Betsy understands Eloise perfectly. She's got her in her head."

The suite, which will officially open on August 16, has already received numerous reservations, although the hotel could not provide specifics. For parents who don't want to leave their children alone, the suite is attached to two adult rooms. The price tag for all three rooms is $2,000 a night.

Johnson, who has held fashion shows at The Plaza, said she was asked to design the suite following a long collaboration with the hotel, which underwent a $450 million renovation two years ago.

"I get, I live Eloise," she said. "And I would love to do other projects like this ... Home design is just like fashion design. It's dressing space."

Remembering Eloise's love of dressing up, Johnson hung petticoats, tutus and princess crowns in the room. There is also a flat-screen television, a DVD player and plenty of Eloise books to wile away the time.

Downstairs in the hotel there is an Eloise boutique featuring Eloise toys, dresses and, of course, books.

The "Eloise" series of books were first published in 1955 and described a lovable six-year-old girl who lived in The Plaza with her nanny, her pet turtle Skipperdee and a pet pug Weenie. The books sold millions of copies and caused readers to fall in love with the feisty heroine who made prank calls to other guests, befriended the butlers and braided her turtle's ears.

(Reporting by Karina Ioffee; Editing by Patricia Reaney)

<p>Designer Betsey Johnson poses for a portrait inside the Eloise Suite at the Plaza hotel in New York July 29, 2010. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson</p>