Marriott Marks City Skyline With Western Hemisphere’s Tallest Hotel

Booming tourism industry creates demand for more hotels in NYC
By Yi Yang, Epoch Times
January 8, 2014 Updated: January 8, 2014

NEW YORK—The tallest single use, above ground hotel building in the Western Hemisphere was officially unveiled by Marriott Tuesday. Located in the heart of Midtown Manhattan, right next to the Ed Sullivan Theater, the building has been open since Dec. 29, 2013.

The 68-story building reaches almost 753 feet and cost $320 million to build. It houses two hotel brands owned by Marriott International: the 378-room Courtyard Hotel and the 261-suite Residence Inn Hotel.

The Courtyard Hotel offers traditional-style hotel rooms designed primarily for short-stay business travelers. The Residence Inn offers suites with kitchenettes that are designed for guests who want a longer stay. The two hotels share access to a large fitness center as well as a bistro and lounge where breakfast and dinner are served. From the top floor, guests can have an aerial view of Manhattan. Some rooms offer a nearly complete view of Central Park and others face Times Square or the harbor.

In low seasons, a Courtyard room can cost from $200 to $300 a night and a Residence Inn suite from $300 to $400 a night. On New Year’s Eve, however, a room on the top floor that offered a clear view of the ball dropping went for a whopping $1,500.

The dual-branded hotel was built by G Holdings. The company bought the land in 2001, but it was not until after the financial crisis of 2008 that G Holdings President Harry Gross decided to build a hotel on the space. Following the crash, the economy slowly started to recover and tourism was on the rise again. Today, the tourism industry is booming and the hotel faces good financial prospects. Even in a saturated hotel market like New York City’s, there is continuous demand for more.

“Last year we sold 1 million more room nights than we did the year before, and that in the face of a growing inventory,” said Fred Dixon, executive vice president for NYC & Company, who was present at the ribbon cutting for the hotel.

“There’ll be 160 people who make their careers in this hotel, they will be welcoming something like 1,000 people here everyday,” said Arne Sorenson, president and chief executive officer of Marriott International Inc.

New York City had 54.3 million visitors in 2013 and 2014 is expected to be even better, especially with the upcoming Super Bowl. Tourism generated $58.7 billion in revenue for the city last year, in which $1.25 out of $5 is spent in the city’s hotels. In addition, international visitors are increasing, a covetable demographic that Marriott believes it will attract with the new hotel.

“In particular, we’re seeing a tremendous number of people coming in from China and from Brazil where you have the rising middle classes and they want to stay in a hotel like this,” said Kathleen Matthews, executive vice president and chief global communications and public affairs Ooficer for Marriott International Inc.

“International visitors stay longer and they spend more money and represent more than half of all the visitor spending in our city,” said Dixon.

Yi Yang is a special correspondent in New York.