If walls could talk, I’d certainly love sitting a while to hear the stories about the people who have spent a night at The New Yorker Hotel, the largest hotel in all of New York City, built in 1929, enduring through the decades while playing host to some amazing people of the past, from Muhammad Ali to Nikola Tesla, and even the late President John F. Kennedy.
I stayed at The New Yorker during a recent visit to ‘The Big Apple’ and will tell you, stepping into the lobby was like stepping back in time. The décor had me thinking of ‘the Great Gatsby’ set, full of flashbacks to the 20’s.
Checking in, the staff was superb. Super friendly and eager to provide great service.
That’s the good news.
The bad news is I wasn’t as impressed with my room.
To be honest, the hotel is feeling its age. I’m more accustomed to the boutique hotel experience, with room to relax. My first room, the basic with a queen bed, was small. To its credit, the staff called just minutes after I settled in to make sure everything was ok. When I expressed my disappointment, they moved me to another room, several stories up. This room had more space and an even better view—partially of the Hudson River and partially of the city skyline.
The even better news: Management knows the hotel needs some love and they have grand plans to get The New Yorker back to its original glory. Because I was there as media, reviewing the hotel, I was lucky enough to get to sit with the General Manager of the hotel, Ann Peterson, and pick her brain about her plans.
Thirty minutes later, I left her office excited for the hotel and what’s in store. Here’s a quick video of what’s there and what’s to come:
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The GM believes she’s sitting on a hidden gem in the city, and if you give her five years to fully implement her plans, you’ll agree with her that it’s a gem, but it will no longer be hidden.
In the next six months, they’ll be adding 174 more hotel rooms (there were 2200 when the hotel originally opened. Now, there are 920 rooms available with only floors 19 and up used for the hotel, while the others operate as college dorms and office space), three more ballrooms, and a new fitness center. A wine bar is also on the agenda.
A facelift of the iconic hotel is already underway (I witnessed some of this from my own room, watching three men teetering 33 stories up, repairing the stone embellishments that define the look of The New Yorker). Because it’s a historic hotel, certain things can’t be changed, including the signage out front, although they do have plans to update it so that its lighting can change with special occasions, just as the Empire State Building (built at the same time and in the same style) changes for important events.
The furniture in the lobby will be changed, along with the color scheme, to more accurately fit that of the 20’s art deco period.
Phase two will include even more changes, including updates to the 40th floor that will showcase some spectacular views of the city and even more rooms.
The hotel will remain open during the renovations and should still attract its largest customer base—international travelers with families.
They are aware certain responsibility comes with that and employ a security force four times the size of other hotels to make sure the children there stay safe.
The location of the hotel is, to me, its most attractive feature.
It really is close to everything. Madison Square Garden is across the street. Penn Station is, too. Macy’s is just a block away (The New Yorker is the host hotel for the people with the huge balloons in the Thanksgiving Day Parade and all of the marching bands who participate). The Empire State Building is a couple blocks away, as is Time Square. I could go on and on.
The bottom line: the hotel needs some work, and plans to get it done. Until that work is complete, there are some great bargains for winter travel including stays at The New Yorker. They include:
Tourist Delight Package
NYC Shopping Package
(also, Business Premium and Armed Forces Special)
Check them out and book your room soon…then stay tuned for the transformation!