Manhattan’s legendary Grand Hyatt New York announces the completion of its $130 million, multi-phased renovation in November 2011, culminating with the installation of famed artist Jaume Plensa’s three-dimensional “Awilda” and “Chloe” sculptures. Located at the crossroads of Manhattan adjacent to Grand Central Station, Grand Hyatt New York boasts a top- to-bottom renovation that includes 1,306 meticulously redesigned guestrooms and suites featuring world-class artwork, the acclaimed New York Central restaurant, a transformed lobby and mezzanine, multiple event and meeting spaces, revitalized ballrooms, and the innovative grab-and-go food outlet, Market.
As part of the hotel’s new design aesthetic, Grand Hyatt New York has commissioned artists and designers to re-animate and re-energize the public spaces of the hotel. Multiple works by sculptor Jaume Plensa, known for his monumental public projects in Madison Square Park in New York, Millennium Park in Chicago, and Yorkshire Sculpture Park in England, will be positioned in the hotel lobby serving as the area’s centerpiece; murals representing snapshots of New York from Norwegian artist, Per Fronth, are showcased in both the guest rooms and in New York Central’s Wine Gallery; and vibrant, colorful panels from German artist, Burghard Muller-Dannhausen, are displayed in the new Gallery on Lex event space.
“This total revitalization of Grand Hyatt New York re-affirms our position as one of the most desirable venues in Manhattan,” says Mark Pardue, general manager. “We are thrilled to reintroduce this landmark property to New York and the rest of the world with our dramatic new look.”
The Lobby: Hints of Easter Island on Manhattan Island
The guest experience begins with the arrival into a grand lobby whose centerpiece is the larger-than-life installations by Jaume Plensa, reminiscent of the Moai sculptures on Easter Island. One of the two Plensa sculptures, named “Awilda” and “Chloe”, stands in a “water wall” adjacent to the entry way, while the second is stationed on a white onyx stone plinth by the arrivals and departures area. Created from the same white macael marble used in ancient Roman columns, Plensa created the “Awilda” and “Chloe” sculptures to appear to be in a dreamlike state, hoping to encourage the rushed world around them to pause and perhaps join the dream.
“Awilda” and “Chloe” are metaphors for the diversity and similarity of all people; people just trying to be happy where they are, when they are there,” according to Jaume Plensa. “Inspired by the thousands of people who pass through Grand Central Station and Grand Hyatt New York each day,” Awilda” and “Chloe”, pay homage to anonymous people in motion,” he added.
Guestrooms and Suites: Evoking the Mood of a Manhattan Residence
The 1,306 guestrooms, including 51 suites, combine refined hues, lush textures and luxuriant artwork evoking the mood of a sleek, modern Manhattan residence. Designers Looney & Associates of Dallas and George Wong Design of New York have created a calming sanctuary, far from Manhattan’s heart beat below in the city’s epicenter.
Looney & Associates have designed the majority of the guest rooms and suites, creating elegance and sophistication through the use of rich woods, deeply-toned pinstriped carpeting, dramatic lighting and a contemporary palette all inspired by the concept of a “sexy Manhattan apartment.”
There are 20 VIP Suites, also designed by Looney & Associates, which offer two distinct concepts: the idea of a “loft” and the idea of a modern “residence”. The Loft Suites evoke a feeling of masculinity and design elements include espresso-tinted walnut furnishings and opulent lounge areas, a perfect option for business travelers who wish to utilize the large, open spaces for small meetings, while the Residence Suites offer a softer tone and a more neutral feel.
Grand Hyatt New York’s four Premier Suites, designed by George Wong Design, are based on the concept of the ‘pied-a’-terre’ and feature two main schemes: uptown and downtown. The Uptown Suites capture the tones of a classic Manhattan townhouse while the Downtown Suites are inspired by the open lofts of TriBeCa, offering light, luminous and airy tones.
The Grand Club and Social Event Space
The Grand Club is a residential-style gathering spot for guests, offering access to technology, productive work areas and high quality food and beverage choices. Situated on the 16th floor, the Grand Club exemplifies the property’s elevated level of luxury, designed to resemble a rooftop garden. The modern space, envisioned by George Wong Design, is filled with warm wood surfaces, sage colored walls, and retro-industrial metalwork. Reflecting various elements of nature in the design scheme, the club is comprised of the following spaces: an entry foyer resembling a gazebo; a comfortable living room with multiple seating areas; a breakfast room featuring natural wood and stone surfaces; and a light-filled conservatory. The club is surrounded by a stunning, private terrace, facing the midtown Manhattan skyline and outfitted with picnic tables and oversized lounge chairs.
In total, the hotel offers 55,000 sq. feet of event spaces ranging from intimate board rooms to expansive ballrooms. Gallery On Lex, an inventive new social event area with a club-like feel, is a 4,400 sq. ft. space featuring colorful panels from German artist Burghard Muller-Dannhausen.
Food and Beverage Options
New York Central brings a new sophistication to the hotel, appealing to global travelers and New Yorkers alike. The restaurant, designed by Bentel & Bentel, is nearly 6,000 sq. ft. and includes a lounge area, restaurant, and wine gallery featuring WineStation technology, an innovative wine dispensing system allowing guests to taste a variety of different wines. Chef Christian Ragano, who joins the restaurant from Park Hyatt Chicago’s famed NoMI, offers a diverse menu inspired by the flavors of Western Europe. Additionally, head Pastry Chef Katzie Guy-Hamilton boasts an inventive style, perfectly blending classic French baking techniques with eclectic New York City taste. Most recently, Guy-Hamilton’s talents earned her a spot competing against 13 other chef’testants on Season 2 of Bravo’s “Top Chef Just Desserts.”
Market, a 24-hour “grab-and-go” outlet located in the main lobby, offers the best of New York’s tastes and treats to hotel guests and the Grand Central neighborhood.
Originally opened as The Commodore Hotel in 1919 and reflagged in 1980, Grand Hyatt New York has played host to dignitaries, celebrities, and discerning guests for almost a century. The $130 million renovation represents a rebirth and resurgence of this historic hotel and is an imperative part of the overall renaissance of the Grand Central neighborhood.