New York City provides the background setting to all our favorite TV shows. It’s Carrie Bradshaw’s urban playground, the Friends’ backdrop, and the city where Liz Lemon found success. But perhaps the most quintessential New York character in my mind is still, and will forever be, Queen of the Upper East Side, Serena van der Woodsen.
What’s more luxe than a teenager raised in the urban jungle, prancing through upper Manhattan in Jimmy Choos, drinking mimosas with absolutely no sign of a fake ID, and ultimately, living in the most glamorous hotel in the world? Absolutely nothing. She is basically a grown-up, more fashionable version of Eloise.
This year marks the 10th Anniversary of Gossip Girl, but employees of the Lotte New York Palace say they still get hoards of screaming teenage girls dying to see where Chuck kissed Blair or where Lonely Boy and Nate Archibald sat in the lobby, waiting for Serena. And while I’m above the age of the average screaming fan, I too was intrigued by the glamorous life of the Upper East Side teenager depicted in the famous show.
For Memorial Day weekend, I decided to find out firsthand what it was like to live like S. After using Suiteness to book the perfect luxury room, I was ready to live like the rich and the famous. Suiteness only selects the very best in hotel rooms for your stay, including the personal luxury of having your own concierge to work with you to make sure everything is handled. Basically, your very own Dorota. Dream. Come. True.
I stayed in the Palace Towers corner suite with the most beautiful view overlooking St. Patrick’s Cathedral. When I got to the multiple-room suite, I immediately thought, what would Serena do? So I poured myself a glass of champagne at 4pm.
Since I didn’t have a stepbrother who owned a secret speakeasy burlesque club, I had to settle for Trouble’s Trust, the swanky hotel bar underneath the famed Grand Staircase at the Palace. As I sipped my cocktail, I tried to do my best moody and misunderstood Serena interpretation, pondering over the boy from Brooklyn.
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What else would Serena do on a night-in? Probably have Blair over for a slumber party complete with more champagne, fuzzy bathrobes, room service, and gossiping so that’s exactly what I did. Insider fact: there is an actual truffle grilled cheese sandwich at the Palace named in Serena’s honor, but it’s not on the menu —you have to ask for it special when you call down to the kitchen. Exclusivity is the name of the game in Gossip Girl world.
After raising the blinds with the click of a button to the gorgeous city below us in the morning, we head down to the Palace’s famed restaurant, Villard, where multiple scenes from the show were shot in the large, gold-ceilinged dining room. The food was delicious as expected, because Chuck Bass’s father would never own a hotel without the best of the best presented. So we sat at Blair’s table eating the best pastries imaginable, wondering how the Gossip Girls always quickly recovered from champagne-fueled nights to make it to early brunch and charity events the next day.
Before I left my Gossip Girl life behind to head back to my apartment in Queens (which, by the way, is definitely smaller than the suite that I stayed in), I sat in the famous courtyard and realized that even though the glamorous life of the 1% was fun, I was pretty pumped to sit on my fire escape with my dog when I got home, reading my book and watching the old Greek lady hang laundry next door. It may be a much simpler life, but at least there are no Georgina Sparks to be seen.