Six “New” Hotels
The family owners of six budget hotels are overhauling them and branding the properties under a new flag: Triumph Hotels. We met with execs yesterday to talk about what to expect at these reimagined hotels. Spoiler: They’re heavy on F&B. (If you don't know what that means, you must not be reading this before a meal.)
We snapped Gerald Barad, co-owner with Shimmie Horn of The Iroquois New York in Times Square, Hotel Chandler north of NoMad, Hotel Belleclaire on the UWS, The Cosmopolitan in Tribeca, The Gershwin in NoMad, and the Washington Jefferson in Hells Kitchen. Now that the hotels are part of a brand, the execs have reclaimed each hotel’s office space for more rooms and last week moved operations to the Time-Life Building (hence Gerald’s informal nameplate). He tells us the move also puts the sales and reservations employees, among others, in the same office. While many say a brand isn’t necessary in NYC, he says the shared flag offers operational efficiency but also opens the door to expansion outside NYC.
We also snapped CNBC-addict and Triumph CFO Ronny Apfel. He and Gerald tell us each hotel (the six total 460k SF, including 50k SF of retail, and more than 1,000 rooms) will be neighborhood-centric. The plan is to beef up retail and F&B, whether that means leasing the space or building out for a marquee chef; it contributes to a lifestyle hotel, Gerald says.
The new restaurant Juni, a partnership of ESquared Hospitality (of BLT fame) and Michelin chef Shaun Hergatt, has just opened in the Hotel Chandler. That property is wrapping up a $10M renovation with nine new rooms, meeting space, and a new lobby. The Iroquois has Triomphe (the orange awning above) with chef Florian Wehrli and craft cocktail bar Lantern’s Keep with famed slinger Rene Hidalgo. Triumph also plans to tear down a neighboring building and put up a 10-story addition with 40 more rooms plus expanded restaurant space. The Cosmopolitan’s gut $10M renovation will keep Starbucks but redo the lobby (someone's got to caffeinate the construction crew) and add rooms and another F&B outlet. A plan and timeline for the Washington Jefferson's renovation are still to come.
Off the beaten path is the Hotel Belleclaire on 77th Street. Triumph is working with Landmarks to return this one’s facade to its original glory, including the possible re-creation of the domed bandstand at the top of the building. The Triumph folks bought this inspirational postcard of the hotel's heyday off eBay. Meanwhile, the hotel’s lobby renovation is almost done. And then there's the 150-key Gershwin, which will be Triumph’s flagship after a gut redo that'll deliver in 2015 with a new 8,000 SF F&B. The company also plans to restore grand skylights it found in the part of the property that was a club in the '90s.