Ladies, start your compacts.Photo: Daniel Maurer
First Le Cirque 2000 was out at the over-the-top opulent Palace Hotel and Gilt was in; then foam fiend Paul Liebrant was out, along with his wallet-busting lunches, and the more sedate Christopher Lee was in. We wondered how the bathrooms were surviving the changes (had the toilets been sold on eBay along with the bar?), so we slipped into the surprisingly shabby stairwell leading to a carpeted hallway.
The city’s blingiest faucets?Photo: Daniel Maurer
Theme: An Ivy League alumni club, with dark wood paneling, golden faucets, pin-striped wallpaper, and etchings from France’s golden age. Largely unchanged since the days of Le Cirque.
Privacy: The restrooms themselves are sumptuously secluded, off a carpeted hallway. Wooden stalls ensure further privacy.
Amenities: Ladies get an anteroom with velvet upholstered divans, a bowl of potpourri, and a black marble counter for face powdering. In both restrooms, thick signature paper towels can be thrown into a large canvas-lined hamper.
Drawbacks: The men’s room urinals are a bit close together, and the pipes are boring silver (the toilet pipes are golden).
Strategy: For a more dramatic entry, slip into the private dining room (the gigantic double doors usually aren’t locked) and open the hidden door — disguised as a column! — that leads to the stairwell.
Rating: — Daniel Maurer