Princess Diana - Carlyle Hotel - Diptych

  • When Princess Diana visited New York City, she often stayed at the Carlyle Hotel. 
  • The New York Times' nicknamed the Carlyle Hotel the "Palace of Secrets" for the privacy it affords its high-profile guests. 
  • Princess Diana, Michael Jackson, and Steve Jobs once rode the elevator together, according to the 2018 documentary "Always at the Carlyle."
  • Princess Diana's trips to New York have come back into focus as a storyline in season 4 of Netflix's hit series "The Crown," released November 15.
  • Look inside the historic hotel and celebrity hideout, where rooms cost between $525 and $20,000 per night. 
  • 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.

Source: The Carlyle Hotel

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.

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.

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.

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."

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.

During one her stays, Princess Diana joined "the most famous elevator ride in history," journalist Piers Morgan recalls in the documentary.

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.

Source: Always at the Carlyle

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.

Source: Architectural Digest

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

Source: Always at the Carlyle

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.

Source: Always at the Carlyle

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

Source: The Carlyle Hotel

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.

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.

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.

Source: Always at the Carlyle

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

S0urce: The Carlyle Hotel

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

Source: The Carlyle Hotel

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

Source: Always at the Carlyle

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.

S0urce: The Carlyle Hotel

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

Source: Always at the Carlyle

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.

Source: Always at the Carlyle

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

Source: Always at the Carlyle

"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.

Source: Always at the Carlyle

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

Source: The Carlyle Hotel, Always at the Carlyle

The whimsical space was "one of the biggest inspirations" for Wes Anderson's 2018 film "The Grand Budapest Hotel," he told "Always at the Carlye" producers.

Source: Always at the Carlyle

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.

Source: Café Carlyle, Always at the Carlyle

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.

Source: Always at the Carlyle

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

Source: Always at the Carlyle

"We don't talk about our guests," one employee said at the beginning of the documentary. "Whatever happens here, stays here," said another.

Source: Always at the Carlyle

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