Met Gala 2023: How The Mark Hotel has become an extension of the New York soiree

Dubbed 'the other red carpet', this is where guests get ready ahead of the event

Lupita Nyong'o leaves The Mark Hotel ahead of the Met Gala last year. Photo The Mark
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On the first Monday in May, the Met Gala will return to New York with its usual dazzling display of fashion, both daring and imaginative. The theme this year is Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty, in tribute to the trailblazing designer who died in 2019 and, as such, we can expect to see all manner of tributes to his most famous designs and style, from starched collars and severe black suiting to fluffy Choupette-the-cat facsimiles.

The gala acts as the opening night of the titular exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which over the years has morphed from an annual fundraiser (tickets are said to be $30,000 per person, while a table costs in the region of $300,000) into one of fashion's most glittering events, attended by celebrities and designers keen to flex their sartorial muscles in front of the world's cameras.

Of course, an event of this scale does not just happen in a vacuum — it requires months of planning, fittings, expertise and support. And that's where The Mark Hotel comes in.

Those familiar with New York City might already know The Mark. Situated at East 77th Street, this five-star establishment is a stone’s throw from the upscale districts of Park Avenue and Madison Avenue, and less than a block from the wide open spaces of Central Park. It's also a handy 10-minute stroll from the MoMa and, by default, the Met Gala.

Such proximity has made it the de facto base for those attending the gala, with guests checking into the hotel's Art Deco rooms and suites, along with a small army of fashion and hair stylists, make-up artists and publicists. To accommodate the A-list crowd, the hotel shuts its doors to the public for three full days around the annual event.

First opened in 1927, The Mark underwent an extensive redesign in 2009, led by famed French designer Jacques Grange, who is well known for his skill of combining old-world glamour with contemporary art and design. For example, when designer Yves Saint Laurent looked to redo the interior of his Villa Mabrouka in Tangier in 1990, it was Grange he turned to.

In 2015, Grange was once again commissioned by the hotel to create The Mark Penthouse, a 930-square-metre apartment spanning two floors, with five bedrooms, eight bathrooms, a library and its own 230-square-metre terrace overlooking Central Park. Costing $75,000 per night, the room has housed several A-listers over the years, such as Anna Wintour — chair of the Met Gala — and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, who held her baby shower there in 2019, organised by her close friend Serena Williams.

Not only is the hotel conveniently located for the gala's guests, it also has plenty of amenities for those getting red-carpet-ready. French hairstylist Frederic Fekkai has a vegan, sulphate-free salon within the hotel, while John Lobb-trained in-house butlers can buff and shine guest's shoes.

Chloe Grace Moretz, Eileen Gu, HoYeon Jung and Janelle Monae enjoy snacks at The Mark after the Met Gala in 2022. Photo: The Mark

And for anyone needing a last-minute outfit, guests of The Mark have exclusive access to department store Bergdorf Goodman located next door, which will open its doors around the clock if required. For glowing skin, the hotel offers in-room wellness packages designed by aesthetician Dr Barbara Sturm, including massages, personal training sessions, IV drips, facials and The Mark Signature Sturmglow Facial.

In fact, so many famous faces have stayed at The Mark ahead of the gala, its lobby has been dubbed the evening's second red carpet, with photographers and celebrity spotters often gathered to catch a first glimpse of stars — from Jeremy Scott and Emma Stone to Gigi and Bella Hadid — as they set off from the hotel's canopied front door and make the short journey to the famous party.

Updated: April 28, 2023, 7:01 AM