Mandarin Spectacular Opening Gala

Mandarin Oriental, New York celebrated its grand opening yesterday with a private lavish gala attended by more than 700 celebrities, dignitaries, royalty and society guests.

The list of international celebrities who made the evening`s red carpet entrance included actors Isabella Rossellini, Michelle Yeoh; photographer and cousin to the Queen of England, The Earl of Lichfield; architect I.M. Pei; entrepreneur David Tang; author Frederick Forsyth; and designer Vivienne Tam.

In keeping with the luxury hotel group`s oriental origins, yet reflecting Mandarin Oriental New York`s strong sense of place, the reception featured exotic Thai dancers, traditional Chinese mask-changing performers and Asian-inspired delicacies prepared by Chef Nori Sugie. A surprise performance was given by “a favorite son of New York,” Billy Joel, which included his single “I`m in a New York State of Mind.” Master of Ceremonies for the evening was The Earl of Lichfield. 
The private event was preceded by an official ribbon-cutting ceremony by the Mayor of New York, Michael R. Bloomberg, Edouard Ettedgui, Group Chief Executive of Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, Stephen Ross, Chairman of the Related Companies and William Mack, Managing Partner of Apollo Real Estate Advisors. Monday`s festivities also included a blessing by a traditional Feng Shui master, paying homage to the Group`s Asian heritage. Conducted at the auspicious hour of 12.00 p.m, the harmonious blessing ceremony ensured the alignment of both energy and peace-giving elements, Yin and Yang, for guests, employees and the hotel environs. The ceremony complemented the Feng Shui recommendations that have been incorporated throughout the hotel, aimed at creating positive energy for all who conduct business or reside in the hotel.

The reception featured a live auction with five spectacular themed packages. More than US$150,000 was raised with all proceeds directly given to New York`s oldest food rescue organisation, City Harvest. Components of the Gourmet package included a private dinner party and flowing La Grande Dame Champagne by Veuve Clicquot in a Manhattan residence for 12 prepared by five of the world`s top chefs: Alain Ducasse, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Daniel Boulud, Noriyuki Sugie and Eric Ripert. Within the Fashion auction package, luxurious items included a custom-designed evening gown by Vivienne Tam; Fred Leighton designed earrings worn by Nicole Kidman at the 2003 Oscars; a tangerine Hermes Kelly Bag; a tailored Bergdorf Goodman hand-tailored men`s suit; four pairs of Jimmy Choo`s and two Tulita handbags; a Christian Dior Belle de Iles ring; and a personal makeover experience by Diane von Furstenberg. 

The 251-room luxury hotel is the latest landmark to grace the New York city skyline and is located within the Time Warner Center. Mandarin Oriental, New York is the company`s new North American flagship and brings 389 new jobs to the city.

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A stunning fusion of modern design with stylish oriental flair, the hotel`s guestrooms and suites feature breathtaking views of Central Park, Hudson River and Manhattan skyline. Dynamic restaurant concepts include Asiate with French-Japanese fare by Chef de Cuisine Nori Sugie; Chic MObar, created by interior designer, Tony Chi; a lobby lounge with dramatic views of Central Park; the 14,500 square foot Spa at Mandarin Oriental; fitness centre with 75 ft lap pool. The hotel also features premium meeting and social event space, including a 6,000 square foot pillar-less ballroom with dramatic views of Central Park.

Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group is the award-winning owner and operator of some of the world`s most prestigious hotels and resorts. In total, the Group operates 19 luxury hotels in key business and leisure destinations, with four additional hotels under development in Washington D.C. (opening 2004); Hong Kong (opening 2005) as well as Tokyo and Boston (opening 2006). Mandarin Oriental currently operates over 7,000 rooms in eleven countries with nine hotels in Asia, six in The Americas and three in Europe.

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