Left: Meghan Markle and Prince Harry at One World Trade Center in New York City. Right: Aerial view of the Carlyle Hotel.
  • Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are reportedly staying at the Carlyle hotel during their NYC visit.
  • The hotel was nicknamed the "Palace of Secrets" for its high level of privacy.
  • Elite guests like Princess Diana, Michael Jackson, and Steve Jobs have all stayed at the hotel.
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

If elevator walls could talk, they would have stories to tell about the Carlyle Hotel. But you certainly won't hear them from staff.

Aerial view of the Carlyle Hotel featured in "Always at the Carlyle" (2018).

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.

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.

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

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.

A doorman leaves the front entrance of the Carlyle Hotel.

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."

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.

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

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

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

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 at the 26th annual Grammy Awards in 1984.

Diana frequented the 1,800-square-foot "Royal Suite" on the 22nd floor, which today is one of the hotel's most requested rooms, Carlyle Hotel communications director Jennifer Cooke told Insider.

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

Detail shot of a Carlyle hotel suite.

Following in Diana's footsteps, Prince William and Kate Middleton stayed at the hotel during a trip to New York City in 2014.

Prince William and Kate Middleton arrive at the Carlyle Hotel on December 7, 2014.

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

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

Source: Page Six

In addition to foreign dignitaries, every US president since Truman has visited the Carlyle, the hotel writes on its website.

President Kennedy leaves the Carlyle Hotel on December 15, 1962.

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.

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

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

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.

An employee minds the front desk at the Carlyle Hotel.

The hotel's prices certainly cater to celebrity clientele. Rates start at $525 per night for a 360-square-foot Deluxe Twin Bedroom ...

Deluxe Twin Bedroom view.

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

Empire Suite living room looking out over Central Park.

George and Amal Clooney once stayed in the Empire Suite for three months.

George Clooney speaks on camera in "Always at the Carlyle" (2018).

Suites were renovated in 2019 to include murals of Central Park and curated art collections. Perks for VIP and repeat guests include custom pillowcases with their initials monogrammed in gold thread.

Premier Suite living room.

"You get what you pay for," Carlyle guest and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said of Carlyle suite prices in "Always at the Carlyle."

Carlyle Suite living room.

The hotel's common spaces are equally as luxurious. The Art Deco lobby oozes old-world glamour and has served as a reception and after-party destination for high-profile events like the Met Gala and Tonys.

Carlyle Hotel lobby.

Model Naomi Campbell recalls that her floor at the Carlyle was "banging" after the 2016 Met Gala.

Naomi Campbell departs the Carlyle Hotel on May 2, 2016 for the Met Gala.

"It was the best floor ever. It was me in one corner, Rihanna in one corner, Stella McCartney in another corner, and Cara Delevingne in the other. You can imagine what time that floor went to bed," she said in the documentary.

Rihanna leaves the Carlyle Hotel on May 1, 2017, for the Met Gala.

The historic Bemelmans Bar, lined with murals drawn by Madeline artist and creator Ludwig Bemelmans, has also hosted creative stars.

Bemelmans Bar.

The whimsical space was "one of the biggest inspirations" for Wes Anderson's 2014 film "The Grand Budapest Hotel," he told "Always at the Carlyle" producers.

Bemelmans Bar lampshade.

At Café Carlyle, the hotel's supper club, Woody Allen regularly appears to play his clarinet with the Eddy Davis New Orleans jazz band. Both Bemelmans and the café are closed until further notice due to COVID-19.

Door to Café Carlyle (detail).

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.

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

Many hotel employees have worked at the hotel for decades and refuse to share details about specific conversations with guests.

Retired concierge Dwight Owsley stands in front of Carlyle Hotel.
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