At the Park Hyatt New York grand opening last week, Hyatt Hotels Corp. President and CEO Mark Hoplamazian expressed confidence that the hotel would “set the luxury lodging standard in New York.” The Park Hyatt brand hadn’t had a flag in Manhattan for a number of years, and Hoplamazian stressed the importance of the New York market to Hyatt. He also praised the hotel’s dramatic architecture by the French firm Atelier Christian de Portzamparc and its stylish interior design by the team of Yabu Pushelberg.
Other Hyatt executives joined Hoplamazian on the podium Sept. 3 to celebrate the opening. But one person was visibly absent, an executive whose contribution to the buzz surrounding the project was considerable: Gary Barnett, president of Extell Development Co. Extell, a major New York developer/builder, developed the 90-story, $1.4 billion One57 mixed-use project on West 57th Street that houses the 25-story Park Hyatt at its base.
“We’ve been eager to have a Park Hyatt flag in New York again—a Park Hyatt flag we think will be a standard bearer for luxury hospitality in New York,” said David Tarr, Hyatt SVP of development. “That said, we made a determination that the project had to be at a high enough level in order for us to move forward.”
Of the hotel’s 210 rooms, 92 are suites—a relatively high percentage. Forgoing a traditional, fairly public front desk, guests are greeted on arrival by a staff member with an iPad who escorts them to a special private lounge where they register. Standard rooms are priced from $795 to $1,200 a night. The hotel is the 34th Park Hyatt worldwide.
Located across from Carnegie Hall, One57 includes 95 condominium residences at the top of the tower. Like most mixed-use projects that include lodging and condominium residential components, One57 offers residents access to the hotel’s luxury amenities.
At the Park Hyatt, these include a 96-seat destination restaurant, a 70-seat bar, a state-of-the-art fitness center, and a Native American-inspired spa, where the treatments change seasonally. A bit more over the top is the indoor pool, which features underwater speakers playing a customized soundtrack created by a team at Carnegie Hall.
But luxury amenities aside, the hotel benefitted from being part of the One57 project on two counts. First, One57 turned out to be the first of a series of skyscrapers (dubbed “supertalls”) to open. Many of these properties are located along 57th Street, are either mixed-use or purely residential, offer views of Central Park from residences roughly 40 stories up or higher, and promise to transform the midtown skyline. One57 tops out at just over 1,000 feet.
Second, given the unobstructed view of Central Park from the top of One57—dubbed the “long view” because it includes the whole length of the park and beyond—not to mention the location and the residences’ high-end finishes, wealthy buyers responded quickly.
No sooner had Extell opened a sales office than the media began reporting the residences achieving stratospheric sales prices. A full-floor penthouse, for example, is reportedly in contract for $90 million to an international buyer who will use it as a pied-a-terre.
Happily for Hyatt, its new Park Hyatt became the beneficiary of considerable free publicity associating the hotel with not just luxury, but with exclusivity, privilege, and wealth. Such publicity is especially valuable in a media-saturated market like New York, where it’s hard for news of any hotel opening to break through the clutter.
Even at 1,000 feet, One57 is not destined to hold its status as the city’s tallest residential tower for more than a few years, nor even as the tallest of the West 57th Street supertalls. Extell Development is already under construction with the Nordstrom Tower a block further west with an estimated completion date of 2018. At 1,775 feet tall, this mixed-use project will include retail (the Nordstrom) at the base, a hotel (brand to be determined), and high-end residential at the very top of the tower.