The Lotte New York Palace may be known as the home of Serena Van der Woodsen, but last night a different Serena stole the spotlight.
To celebrate the upcoming U.S. Open, the luxe hotel hosted the 5th annual Palace Invitational, turning its iconic courtyard into a badminton court worthy of some of the world's greatest tennis champions. Serena (Williams, that is), was joined by sister Venus, Rafael Nadal, Alexander “Sascha” and Mischa Zverev, Sam Querrey, Daniil Medvedev, and rising star Cori “Coco” Gauff, the youngest woman to win a Wimbledon match, to battle it out during two doubles matches, trading in their typical racquets for slightly smaller ones to hit the shuttlecock right out of the yard (well, almost).
During the tournament, emcee'd by the TODAY show's Dylan Dreyer, guests sipped watermelon sangria and magnum pours of Chateau D’Esclans' Whispering Angel rosé, while The Palace's Executive Chef Cedric Tovar served tennis-themed bites, including Kobe Beef Sushi, inspired by Serena Williams, and the Chorizo and Saffron Arancini, inspired by Rafael Nadal. The event certainly whet our appetites for the upcoming games - in more ways than one.
Click through for an inside look at the spirited sporting moment, and stop by The Gold Room at the New York Palace to try those delicious dishes all through the U.S. Open!
[Photos via Getty]