Is there any hotel with a richer history than The Plaza in New York City? Before it even opened in 1907 on Central Park South, it was already considered the best hotel in the world. Every president since William Howard Taft has paid his respects, and seemingly every celebrity, too. F. Scott Fitzgerald was a regular and set a pivotal scene in The Great Gatsby there. Cary Grant was kidnapped in the Oak Bar—or, rather, his character from North by Northwest was. The Beatles crashed there for six nights when they invaded America in 1964, and Marlene Dietrich and Frank Lloyd Wright lived there (not together, of course). Although the hotel’s most famous resident, obviously, is Eloise.
For me, though, The Plaza will always be where Kevin McCallister stayed in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. I saw the movie at least twice at the Cheri Theater in Murray, Kentucky, when it came out in 1992. And when I went to New York for the first time the following year, my hopes were set on a stay at The Plaza. Alas, we bunked four blocks south at a hotel that, let’s just say, doesn’t have the same bona fides, but I did get a peak at the Palm Court.
And so it was with great pleasure that I recently checked into a junior suite with my 9-year-old son, Calder, so he could live the Home Alone 2 dream.
In 2017, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the film, The Plaza created a Home Alone 2 package so that guests could “live like Kevin.” What does that mean? A four-hour sightseeing tour of the city in a limo with a cheese pizza, a next-level room-service ice cream sundae, a special Home Alone 2 backpack and T-shirt, and a copy of the DVD. (Yes, DVDs still exist.) It was supposed to be a limited special, but the package proved so popular that the hotel decided to keep it indefinitely.
I have to admit, Calder and I didn’t do the full experience—as New Yorkers, we don’t really need a four-hour sightseeing tour. Mostly, we were in it for the ice cream. After we got settled in our sumptuous suite, what with its crystal chandeliers and pristine bathroom featuring mosaic-tiled walls and soaking tub, we called room service and told them we were ready to be gluttons. A maintenance staffer came and set up a DVD player for us, and, after putting on our robes (they even had a kid-sized one for Calder), we fired up the film.
By the time Kevin had tricked Tim Curry and crew into letting him check into his “dad’s” suite, our sundae had arrived: 16 scoops of vanilla and chocolate ice cream, piled high with whipped cream; squeeze bottles of chocolate, caramel, and raspberry sauce; M&Ms, sprinkles, candies, and cherries. It was, in a word, ridiculous. And by that I mean, absolutely incredible.
We curled up on the sofa, giant bowls of ice cream in our laps, just like Kevin. When he, too, devoured his sundae, we paused the DVD for a photo opp—which also gave us time to get seconds. Did we have thirds? No. Did we take extra spoonfuls of ice cream straight out of the silver serving dish? It’s possible.
The sugar high was no joke—no wonder Kevin had enough energy to plan Operation Ho Ho Ho. Calder was jumping on the sofa (sorry, Plaza!) and cheering when the McCallister family discovered their slew of gifts from Mr. Duncan. But soon after the credits rolled, Calder crashed into his cushy queen bed and passed out.
I promptly washed up and brushed my… OK, fine. I ate more ice cream. Kevin would approve.