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The Perfect New York Weekend


There were several reasons to spend a long weekend celebrating my birthday in New York. It’s the mecca of everything theatrical, artistic and fashionable on the East Coast. Birthday shopping in the capital of glam and glitz couldn’t be a bad thing. And, admittedly, my curiosity was piqued by a program I had heard about at the Pierre Hotel.

This iconic destination on Central Park has been New York’s finest since it opened in 1930. It’s one of the “Leading Hotels of the World” and is managed by the superb Taj Hotel group—they of the palace hotels in India.

The Pierre recently unleashed its Pampered Pups program. So my husband and I could bring our 10-year-old animal companion, Barkley the Bichon Frise, with us. This ridiculously adorable benefit to dog-loving guests includes a stellar array of services for your fluffy friend 15 pounds and under. 

The entrance to Sirio.

The entrance to Sirio.

We stayed in the Park Suite on the 27th floor. This was possibly a mistake, because I never wanted to leave. The huge space included a gigantic corner living room with fireplace, spectacular views over the park and down Fifth Avenue, a dining area for 12 (the perfect spot for consuming a chocolate ganache birthday cake and champagne), a bedroom large enough to include a recamier, a kitchen, and a very large, multi-level marble bathroom. The view from the tub made an evening bubble bath just one of my memorable experiences.

The Pierre’s location near museum mile, Lincoln Center, and luxe stores like Bergdorf Goodman, Prada and Cartier is just right. And access to the park across the street makes it easy to bring your dog out for strolls whenever he likes. You even receive a walking map.

My birthday dinner took place at the Pierre’s restaurant Sirio. Sirio Maccioni’s first NYC triumph was Le Cirque. His Pierre outpost is more casual but still serves the traditional fare that Maccioni learned to cook in his native Tuscany. He’s won uncounted awards for his food and was even designated a living landmark by the New York Landmarks Conservancy. (And we have to think they know their landmarks!)

Cocktails from the Two E Bar/Lounge.

Cocktails from the Two E Bar/Lounge.

I’ve had the pleasure of eating fine food at famed hotels and restaurants around the world, and at the moment I was eating my veal chop at Sirio, I felt I had reached the pinnacle. I’ll never try making this dish at home because it would pale beside the one I had here. My husband was over the moon about his Branzino. 

Breakfast the next morning did not disappoint, beginning with the signature Sirio Sours. My brioche French toast was heaven, and my husband declared his eggs Benedict—which he orders every time he breakfasts out—the best he’d ever had. There were loads of other, more complicated dishes, but we were too full from the night before to even think about trying them.

As for Barkley? Well, the fleecy bed he was provided, the continuously refilled bowl of Fiji water, and the Bark Box filled with doggie treats and squeaky toys were all to his liking. And, wow, he really went for the gourmet, human-grade meals of sirloin steak, Atlantic salmon, chicken breast and other specialties, which were served with rice and vegetables. They were so delish and so huge we actually brought home doggie bags—yes, doggie doggie bags.

The best part of the program had to be Barkley’s day of beauty at the Dog Store around the corner—reputedly the Upper East Side dog stylists of choice. It began with a shampoo and fur conditioning using organic oatmeal and honey products. That was followed by a full body massage using Jorge Bendersky’s fur-hydrating butter, then a four-minute-per-paw massage with a therapy cream. Our groomer told us it was developed to de-stress the paws of canine clients who live in New York and must pound the sidewalks for their daily exercise. A soothing blow-dry and treats of organic soft-baked My Doggy cookies in pumpkin-carob-and-dried-cranberry and apple-honey flavors provided the perfect goodbye gift from the groomers, who then hand-delivered him back to our room in a luxurious travel bag. 

We were a happy, and so spoiled, trio returning home Sunday night. Arf.