by Andrea Doyle | March 02, 2015

Hotel News
In 2014, there were 102,000 hotel rooms in New York City's active inventory. Since 2006, hotel inventory in New York City has expanded by more than 40 percent from 72,600, while demand has continued to outpace even this strong growth in new capacity. New York City currently has the most active hotel development pipeline in the country, and is on track to reach more than 115,000 rooms by 2017.

The Knickerbocker Hotel that originally opened in 1906, built by John Jacob Astor IV, reopened last month with 330 guestrooms and a multimillion-dollar makeover. It features a 7,500-square-foot rooftop bar that overlooks Times Square and a restaurant with Charlie Palmer at the helm.

Another new hotel set to open in the spring of this year is The Gregory, a 132-room boutique property located on 35th Street between Fifth and Sixth avenues.This month, the Sheraton New York Times Square hotel is officially unveiling a new lower lobby conference space, with 11,000 square feet of enhanced meeting services that provide boutique-style, personalized services, and F&B options to smaller groups and executive meetings up to 100 attendees. The space, which features a 52nd Street entrance separate from the hotel lobby, has event managers and conference services staff dedicated specifically to smaller meetings. The lower lobby conference space was formally known as the Executive Conference Center and will be renamed this spring based on responses from a national naming contest for meeting planners the hotel has planned.

The refresh features a $2.2-million "soft goods renovation" including new carpet, lighting, wall coverings, electronic readerboards, and a custom boardroom table pre-wired to advance A/V needs. In addition, all lower lobby level restrooms were fully upgraded.

Not only are new hotels opening, but existing ones are being renovated. Located in a historic 1895 beaux-arts building, the 220-room Dream Midtown, a boutique hotel, has completed a $20-million renovation that entails a floor-to-ceiling transformation of the lobby, guest rooms, and suites. The hotel, which has also officially changed its name from Dream New York to Dream Midtown, is also partnering with TAO Strategic Group to reinvent the property's nightlife offerings, which are set to debut this spring. The GuestHouse, a luxurious 2,500-square-foot duplex penthouse suite set atop the hotel's south tower, has also debuted. Distinctive features include a spacious garden terrace with glass-bottom Jacuzzi and dramatic views of the city.

Triumph Hotels, which already has a collection of six boutique hotels in Manhattan, is transforming the 160-room Gershwin Hotel into The Evelyn. The initial phase, which is nearing completion, includes new accommodations, enhanced guest services, and cultural programming connected to the hotel's NoMad neighborhood location.

The transformation of The Evelyn is part of a capital investment by Triumph, which has invested $50 million to renovate historic hotels throughout New York City over the last several years.

Marking the culmination of the Loews Regency's $100-million transformation earlier this year, including 321 apartment-styled guest rooms, the hotel recently unveiled six designer-inspired Signature Suites.

Coming off the heels of a $30-million renovation during phase one, the 1,083-room Wyndham New Yorker Hotel will transition into the second phase of its restoration process to align existing guestrooms with the Wyndham brand color palette, renovating corridors, and incorporating new lighting, fresh paint, and revived floorings.

During the initial phase, the hotel underwent a major transformation that welcomed a revitalized lobby, a refresh of the exterior, the addition of 114 guest rooms (with additional rooms slated for 2016), and renovations to the Grand Ballroom and meeting rooms.

The hotel features 30,000 square feet of meeting space as well as Sky Lounge, located on the 39th floor, with impressive views of the New York City skyline.  

This summer, The Renwick, a 173-room hotel, will open steps away from Grand Central Station. Originally built in 1928, the building was once a long-stay hotel housing artists and authors like John Steinbeck, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Thomas Mann. The notion of "functional art" rather than framed art will be a key property pillar -- guest rooms will be adorned with paint-splattered footstools, ceramic sculptures and more, all sourced from local New York area artists.

Kimpton's 222-room Ink48 recently renovated its "Heaven Over Hell" Penthouse Suite, a glass jewel box suspended above the city meant to offer inspiration and a creative twist to any occasion. The flexible space is equipped for meetings and special events of up to 60 people.


Brooklyn Botanic Garden offers 52
acres in the heart of Brooklyn

Manhattan isn't the only borough popular for meetings and incentives. According to Lonely Planet guidebooks, Queens is the top travel destination in the U.S. for 2015, thanks to its emerging microbreweries, top-notch art, and "truly global food culture." Another borough not to miss is ever-popular Brooklyn. Part of the emerging Brooklyn cityscape, the New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge has just embarked on a renovation that will completely transform it. The hotel will speak to its setting in the hub of Downtown Brooklyn to convey the borough's layers of history and change, its vibrant neighborhoods and cultures, and its ties to transportation.

When the hotel opened in 1998, it was the first newly built, branded hotel in Brooklyn in over 60 years. Since then, it has added many new rooms to accommodate demand from the growing meetings and conventions market as well as the growing interest from leisure travelers to visit this buzzing neighborhood, ripe with new restaurants, shops, and attractions. Now it will transform its Great Room Lobby, Front Desk, and the new M Club Lounge, followed by the hotel's 40,000 square feet of meeting space.

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This article appears in the March 2015 issue of Successful Meetings.