Press & News

New York's Mr. Hospitality


 Arthur Backal’s name is synonymous with successful events in New York City. He has spent his career in the Manhattan hospitality world and worked in iconic hotels like the The Plaza, The Pierre, The Helmsley Palace and The St. Regis. He used all that experience to eventually create his own businesses, State of the Art and Backal Hospitality Group, which helps clients in planning everything from corporate events to weddings to nonprofit functions. While he was growing his first company, the Mandarin Oriental Hotel was opening in New York, and he was hired as its consulting director of catering, a position he stills holds today.

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"State of the Art Enterprises" in the News

“I already knew he was going to propose someday,” says Ana Carolina Zago of anticipating her engagement to Alois Rupp. “I just had no idea it was going to be so soon!” The Brazilian former model (who goes by her middle name) had already been quizzed on her favorite diamond shapes when Alois proposed while on a trip to Las Vegas. “I said yes with all my heart!” she recalls. 

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Mandarin Madness!

Starting October 29, the center’s Mandarin Oriental hotel will be host to some of Manhattan’s most lavish events. Renting the ballroom alone costs $100,000, then you must add on anything from $200 to $500 a head. But such prices aren’t deterring future brides or bar mitzvah moms, much to the chagrin of competing venues like the Metropolitan Club.

Antiques dealer Marla Helene was so excited about having her son’s December bar mitzvah at the Mandarin that she was willing to whisper sayonara to part of a “five-figure” deposit at the Metropolitan Club, which she’d booked three years ago. “I was dead set on it,” she says, “but this is the new hot commodity!”

The bar mitzvah for 350—with an elaborate Asian theme inspired by her son Jared’s second-degree black belt in karate—will definitely cost more. “We’re going to have geisha girls as greeters and a twelve-foot dragon,” says Helene. (It “was too big for us,” says a Metropolitan Club mouthpiece.)

The Mandarin’s event coordinator, Arthur Backal, who spent more than a decade at the St. Regis and the Pierre, says he’s already booked 44 weddings and 16 bar mitzvahs.

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