Thursday, June 28, 2018

Life at Carlyle Hotel. It's pampered

Somewhere in my journalism past, I did interviews in the lobby of the Carlyle Hotel, one of New York's most exclusive, upscale -- and unapologetically elitist -- hotels. Note: I never got any further than the lobby, certainly not on a journalist's paycheck. In the new documentary, Always at The Carlyle, it's amusing to listen to George Clooney talk about his love for the hotel or to hear how attentive the elevator operators are or to learn that a member of the hotel's staff is responsible for embroidering the names of guests on pillowcases. Director Matthew Miele has made what amounts to an enthusiastic ode to a hotel most of us never will check into. Anjelica Huston turns up for an interview. We also learn that Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge once stayed at the Carlyle. Jack Nicholson was nice to the help. The recently departed Anthony Bourdain talks about the hotel's Bemelmans Bar, which features murals by Ludwig Bemelmans, the illustrator who did the Madeline books. The movie also takes time to celebrate the indispensably sophisticated talents of pianist Bobby Short, a fixture at the hotel cafe until his death in 2005. The movie's point -- the Carlyle does a great job catering to the rich and famous -- is made early and repeated. Me? I got only limited pleasure from again and again hearing how those who can afford the Carlyle are pampered and protected.

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