#REVIEW: “ALWAYS AT THE CARLYLE”
Review by Justin Waldman and Mr. Will Wong
Matthew Miele’s Documentary Always at the Carlyle is a look inside one of the most discrete and expensive hotels in New York City. We get to meet the characters who define the hotel, learn a bit of its storied history and also learn first-hand about some of its star-studded clientele. While big on vanity and gloss, the Film doesn’t deliver some of the shocking scoop that some would hope for, although it is big on interesting anecdotes and ultimately paints the establishment as a place of charm and character.
Whether it be The Royals including Diana, William & Kate to George & Amal Clooney, Wes Anderson or Woody Allen, The Carlyle has played host to a who’s-who of celebrity and note. We even get to see the late Anthony Bourdain speak about his memories of the hotel. We get some detail from staff and high-profile guests on their personal likes and dislikes when staying at the Carlyle, as well as what attracts them to one of the most expensive places to stay in New York City. And we learn time and again it’s the staff at the hotel who become fixtures whether it be the elevator operators, the concierge or adored showman Bobby Short who held a residence at Café Carlyle for over 35 years before his death in 2005.
However the hotel staff – even the retired ones – often are hesitant to divulge too much information about their guests or their habits, despite us being teased with the amount of scandal that took place over the years at The Carlyle. This is frustrating. The hotel has prided itself as a safe haven (there is a rumoured tunnel built for Marilyn Monroe) for the notable and famous and still continues to do so. Like the clientele who frequent it, information is exclusive. Even interviewee Jon Hamm admits he couldn’t afford a stay there.
Where Meile does succeed is painting a picture of the hotel’s dazzling mystique and it is impossible not to fall in love with its eccentric staff. We were just hoping for the gossip to go a little deeper.
Always at the Carlyle opens across select theatres across Canada on Friday, July 6, 2018.