When Lotte New York Palace Food & Beverage Director, Martin Mariano, first moved to New York City, he was inspired by Macy’s holiday post office that would collect letters to Santa from local children and respond to them. One year, Martin picked up three letters from Macy’s and responded to the children by sending a letter back with $50 each for them to buy a gift on their Wishlist. Martin kept the three letters for several years until joining Lotte New York Palace in 2015, where he helped the program come to life at the hotel. Since then, he has saved every single postcard received, from all age groups and parts of the world, including a class of students from New Jersey, an elderly woman from Chicago, a despondent man from Queens who lost his family, and three brothers who apologized for fighting all the time. The mailbox is set up the Monday after Thanksgiving each year, bringing in about 100 cards per day.
Launched in 2017, customized postcards are distributed to all guests upon arrival, so they can write their very own letters to Santa and “mail” them in the hotel’s Santa mailbox. Each afternoon during Palace Hour from 5 – 6PM, the Guest Experience team sends a North Pole Postman through the lobby to pick up the cards deposited in the mailbox located in the lobby by the Courtyard entrance at the top of the Grand Staircase. The letters are then read by the hotel’s “Guest Experience Elves” and Santa Claus himself played by Director of Food & Beverage, Martin Mariano. Each guest will magically find a personalized response letter “from the desk of Santa Claus” placed in their room to create treasured memories each holiday season.
Lotte New York Palace: 455 Madison Avenue at 50th Street