Visitors to the newly renovated hotel are greeted by a totally redesigned lobby, anchored by an all-new bar. Exhausted by a long day of taking meetings, marrying off heirs and merging companies, guests will sleep soundly in new rooms with 55-inch flat screens — there was no HD in the rooms before the redo, Davidson said — bespoke carpeting and minimalist, curved-edge nightstands with motion-activated floor lights.
Perhaps they’ll notice that Davidson had paid special attention to the arrangement of the pillows on the daybed (large to small, drawing the eye more naturally), or that the custom wall art is supposed to evoke the haute couture styling at upscale clothier Stanley Korshak next door. Perhaps they won’t. Corporate guests tend not to be as style-minded, he said, but those in town for weddings and ritzy social events want visuals to match.
At the newly-renovated gym and wellness center, guests can get exercise, hit the sauna or both, get facials and pedicures, wash off in private showers and watch Bloomberg TV while sipping smoothies. If they hoped to escape the marble counter-tops and elaborate floral arrangements of the rest of the hotel, they’re out of luck.
The hotel was built in 1986 under the design direction of award-winning architect Philip Johnson, who used “more limestone than the Empire State Building” to build an expansive, French-inspired estate.
It was luxurious, sure, but it hadn’t been substantially updated until the previous owner sold it to Crescent Real Estate in 2016, its second tenure as the hotel’s owner — it previously owned the property in the 1990s.
Some of the old hotel is visible in the meeting rooms, which haven’t been renovated yet. In those older rooms, wall panels with Japanese motifs flank rooms with worn carpet. Mirrors have worn to the point where their silver nitrate and copper sulfate coatings have oxidized, looking like they belong in centuries old French castles more than decades-old sunbelt hotels.