A great reopening and thriving debut

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Grand Salon on the lavish Baccarat Hotel, in Midtown Manhattan, is one of my favorite places in New York. Filled with chandeliers, stunning weighted glasses, fresh red roses and other decorations crafted with French crystals of the same name, it is a mildly glamorous space, and one where I have spent many happy times sipping champagne with friends or my husband and enjoy the delicious blanco tequila with a twist of lime.

While the luxury hotel reopened to overnight guests last fall, the Grand Salon remained closed. That is until last Thursday, when after 15 months it again began to welcome guests to enjoy its sumptuous surroundings, delicious food and an extensive selection of drinks.

That’s not all: Baccarat also debuted at Le Jardin on Thursday, a flower-filled garden terrace next to the Grand Salon.

Inspired by fragrant and colorful citrus, this outdoor oasis features lush orange trees and mandarin accents that evoke summer. Le Jardin is filled with flowers like Limelight and Annabelle Hydrangea, Misty Lace and Bleeding Heart and feels like being in a garden on the French countryside.

But there’s even more for New Yorkers and visitors to look forward to: the property’s culinary director, the two Michelin-starred chef Gabriel Kreuther, now offers brunch. His French-inspired menu includes croque monsieur, summer gazpacho and a three-layer caviar presentation.

While there is plenty of new on Baccarat, my favorite pastimes – thankfully – have not changed. The property is still home to the largest selection of champagnes in the United States with about 260 different brands. This comprehensive list of effervescent was completed thanks to Baccarat’s wine director, Matthieu Yamoum. (As a side note, Yamoum now has its own champagne company called HRLM Champagne, which is a collaboration with the co-founders of the lifestyle brand Harlem American, and which is also behind Piper-Heidsieck Essentiel Cuvée Reserve, a bubbly that is a collaboration with uniform Champagne house).

The 200 bottles on Yamoum’s list range from $ 150 to $ 50,000 – a few regular customers even have $ 500 Baccarat crystal glass engraved with their name and enjoy their drinks in their personal glassware when they enter.

Kreuther’s original menu continues to be offered and includes elevated versions of comfort foods such as a grilled cheese sandwich with tomato soup and a black angus burger.

And the long list of spirits – whiskey, gin and tequila – has not gone anywhere.

So far, dining is only offered Wednesday through Sunday for afternoon tea and lunch and dinner, but Baccarat will ramp up again to its pre-Covid existence over time.

I was lucky enough to be at the Grand Salon debut Thursday night: I started my evening with a glass of champagne and moved on to tequila. As the hours went by, it felt like old times and almost as if the room had never closed. Either way, I could not be happier that it is back – with the same panache that I initially loved about it, and a beautiful new garden that gives me a reason to love it even more.

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