In 1927, a sixteen-story hotel was built on the corner of Manhattan’s Madison Avenue and East 77th Street. Today it stands as a landmark for New York’s well-heeled fashion crowd. The Mark Hotel was transformed a decade ago, when new owners Izak Senbahar and Simon Elias, of the New York-based Alexico Group, set about restoring the entire property into a dazzling example of true modern American luxury. The feel is fashionable and elegant, with a cool, contemporary design and a renowned restaurant headed up by Jean-Georges Vongerichten, one of New York City’s most respected chefs.
The Mark’s nonpareil location, fused with the renovation of the hotel brought new life to the ten-block stretch of Madison Avenue whose gilded allure had waned. Hip, downtown New Yorkers rediscovered the understated elegance of this area during Hurricane Sandy in 2012, when stranded locals were taken into the hotel for seventy-two hours to see out the storm. Here, while the storm raged, the lobby restaurant and bar continued to serve customers around the clock thanks to Vongerichten, who had dishes from his other restaurants brought in to keep guests and visitors going. At The Mark Bar, artisanal cocktails were served-up to a downtown crowd who found a cocoon of relief from the hurricane.
In terms of American luxury, Izak Senbahar has managed to bring elements of European luxury and emphatic service to The Mark - and then transcend them. Not just in terms of the arresting design of the property- from its black- and-white striped marble lobby to the luxe, dove-gray and cream-hued suites - but also in terms of the experience. The Mark has a vibe. Even the hotdog trolley outside, serving the best hot dogs in town, looks like an art installation.
Perhaps most famous, though, is The Mark’s central role in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute Gala; the most glamorous annual charitable event in New York City. Notables such as Oprah Winfrey, Gisele Bündchen and Bradley Cooper have taken over Mark suites to prepare for the party, and the photo opportunities presented by their grand exits on The Mark’s red carpet are events in themselves. And the after-party, naturally, is always legendary.
The Mark’s unprecedented popularity, however, all parlays to something much more meaningful: a hotel that has become firmly established in the hearts of New Yorkers as a true and lasting icon.
The hotel holds such a beloved and central spot in the shimmering realm of New York celebrity that it’s often referred to as The Met’s ‘second red carpet’.