Credit: Jessica Schwartzberg

Ladies who lunch and Eloise fans have something to rejoice about, now that New York City’s landmark Palm Court at the Plaza Hotel (doubles from $1,150; tea service $45) has reopened for breakfast, lunch, and tea. The relaunch, following a 15-month hiatus, aims to make the Palm Court more friendly and modern, dropping the jacket requirement and silencing the live harp. Still, the beloved room with its tall palms, marble columns, and stained-glass laylight ceiling (revealed in 2008 after a $6.5 million renovation) remains largely the same. The menu treads lightly on tradition, adding to a classic Plaza tiered tea tray Fleisher’s organic roast beef on a pretzel roll and a tiny black-and-white cookie—whimsical touches that should attract new patrons without compromising the Palm Court’s venerable identity.

The Plaza Hotel

The Palm Court's famed stained-glass ceiling was re-created pane-for-pane with the help of New York City's Landmarks Preservation Commission. Touch-screen AMX systems in the 282 guest rooms deliver on their promise to make easy the tasks of controlling lighting, contacting the concierge, and summoning your white-gloved butler. Unfortunately most of the Central Park views went to the 142 new condos. (Try to score one of the Plaza or Deluxes rooms adjacent to an Edwardian Park Suite - they're the cheapest ones partially overlooking the park.) Still, for a European-palace-style experience, this is the only game in town.