Inside the Secretive NYC Hotel Where Princess Diana Stayed

Built in 1930 and located on the corner of Madison Avenue and 76th Street on the Upper East Side, the Carlyle Hotel has earned a reputation as a hideout for royalty, politicians, and celebrities.

An arrow shows the location of the Carlyle Hotel in New York City.

Google Maps

Source: The Carlyle Hotel

Carlyle Hotel staff are famously close-lipped about what goes on inside the hotel walls. The New York Times once called the 188-room hotel the “Palace of Secrets” for the privacy it affords its guests.

Front entrance with two flags

Carlyle hotel entrance featured in “Always at the Carlye” (2018).

Always at the Carlyle

Source: New York Times

In 2018, a documentary called “Always the Carlyle” by Matthew Miele revealed never-before-shared stories of some of the hotel’s most distinguished guests, one of whom was Princess Diana.

Doorman leaving front entrace - Always at the Carlyle Still

A doorman leaves the front entrance of the Carlyle Hotel.

Always at the Carlyle

Source: Always at the Carlyle

Diana first visited New York City on a three-day solo tour in February 1989, a moment which appears in season four of “The Crown.”

Princess Diana The Crown Real Life 1989 New York Tour Diptych

Emma Corrin plays Princess Diana in season four, episode 10 of “The Crown”; Princess Diana attends a gala during her first official visit to New York City.

Des Willie/Netflix; Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images

Source: Insider

As her marriage to Prince Charles dissolved leading up to their divorce in 1996, she took more solo trips to the city, often staying at the Carlyle.

Princess Diana Carlyle Hotel

Princess Diana returns to the Carlyle Hotel after attending several functions In New York City on June 23, 1997.

Marcel Thomas/Getty Images

During one her stays, Princess Diana joined “the most famous elevator ride in history,” journalist Piers Morgan told producers of “Always at the Carlyle.”

Elevator man posting up - Always at the Carlyle

An elevator operator stands watch at the Carlyle Hotel in “Always at the Carlyle” (2018).

Always at the Carlyle

Source: Always at the Carlyle 

Her fellow riders? Michael Jackson and Steve Jobs. The power trio was “completely silent” until Diana started singing Jackson’s 1982 hit song “Beat It,” Morgan said.

michael jackson grammys

Michael Jackson at the 26th annual Grammy Awards in 1984.

CBS via Getty Images

Source: Always at the Carlyle

The two-bedroom suite is currently under renovation, but it previously rented for $8,000 per night, Architectural Digest reported in 2016.

Carlyle Hotel - Detail shot

Detail shot of a Carlyle hotel suite.

The Carlyle, A Rosewood Hotel

Source: Architectural Digest

Cooke overheard Prince William say in the lobby that he had heard a lot about the hotel over the years. “The duke and duchess I think definitely stayed here at the Carlyle because Princess Diana used to stay here,” she said in the documentary.

Princess Diana leaving the Carlyle Hotel

Princess Diana leaves the Carlyle Hotel to head back to London on January 31, 1995.

Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection/Getty Images

Source: Always at the Carlyle

In September 2021, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle checked into the Upper East Side hotel. Though, according to Page Six, they aren’t staying in the Royal Suite like their family members have.

Meghan and Harry NYC

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry make appearances in New York in 2021.

Gotham/Contributor/Getty Images

Source: Page Six

Kennedy owned an apartment on the 34th floor for the decade leading up to his death in 1963, which became known as his “winter White House,” according to the New York Post.

JFK at the Carlyle Hotel

President John F. Kennedy confers with foreign policy advisors at the Carlyle Hotel on January 24, 1961.

Bettmann/Getty Images

Source: New York Post

Marilyn Monroe is rumored to have slipped past paparazzi through a tunnel into the Carlyle for a rendezvous with Kennedy, but the story and existence of the tunnel have never been publicly confirmed.

Marilyn Monroe and two Kenneys

Marilyn Monroe stands between Robert Kennedy (left) and John F. Kennedy at a party in New York City on May 19, 1962.

Cecil Stoughton/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images

Source: Always at the Carlyle

Contemporary guests of the hotel include George and Amal Clooney, Vera Wang, Jack Nicholson, Bill Murray, Naomi Campbell, Wes Anderson, Lenny Kravitz, Roger Federer, and Bill Murray, all of whom appear in the documentary.

Carlyle Hotel - front desk

An employee minds the front desk at the Carlyle Hotel.

The Carlyle, A Rosewood Hotel

Source: Always at the Carlyle

… and rise to five digits. The two-story Empire Suite that overlooks Central Park goes for $20,000 per night, Cooke told Insider.

Carlyle Hotel Empire Suite - Suite 2801 - Living Room HIGH RES (Todd Eberle)

Empire Suite living room looking out over Central Park.

The Carlyle, A Rosewood Hotel

Source: The Carlyle Hotel

While “Always at the Carlyle” shed light on the hotel’s inner workings through interviews with guests, it remains a private place for a discerning clientele.

Carlyle top from central park - Always at the Carlyle

The Carlyle Hotel seen through trees in Central Park in “Always at the Carlyle.”

Always at the Carlyle

Source: Always at the Carlyle


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