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The Peninsula hotel in New York is getting a fresh new look

Vaseline 2 months ago

The Peninsula New York is currently undergoing a major renovation and the consensus is: it’s about time!

“People now walk along the peninsula without noticing, and it’s sad,” said Adam Patrizia, a hospitality development consultant. “The only thing you notice is the homelessness problem for the adjacent church and the Wempe store.”

The hotel’s operator, HSH, certainly hopes to change that with the latest innovation. It includes upgrading technology in the 217 rooms to install touchscreen tablets, and radically improving the aesthetics, with an emphasis on a white-on-white palette that nods to the Art Deco era. The design will be overseen by Bill Rooney and his team, Chicago Peninsula rehabilitation vets.

Interior of a room on the peninsula.
The 217 rooms will receive a boost in technical prowess and a new white-on-white aesthetic. Courtesy of New York Peninsula

This overhaul includes the lobby and restaurants, with the reborn Pen Top on the roof of Salon de Ning, a contender for Midtown hotspot with a view straight to the nearby Polo Bar.

The reason for that renovation is simple: the tired peninsula is in danger of being overshadowed by shinier new luxury arrivals.

“It’s about keeping up with the Joneses, in terms of what’s coming online,” says David Eisen, editor-in-chief of Hotels magazine, pointing to the arrival of Aman a few blocks north, plus the upcoming rebrand of Corinthia. Surrey, the reopening of the Four Seasons downtown and plans for a 130-room spot from Little Nell operator Aspen Hospitality in Rockefeller Center. “They haven’t done any renovations in 25 years and hotels are subject to wear and tear.”

“You have to stay new and fresh to stay competitive – that’s how luxury hotels maintain their status,” echoed Daniel Lesser of LW Hospitality Advisors, noting that most hotels will wait a maximum of ten years between makeovers. To justify rates comparable to the competition, the expensive reconceptualization of the peninsula is essential. Booking a May weekend at the hotel currently costs between $845 and $1,100 per night, while the average daily rate for a luxury hotel in the city is just $562 – a 24% growth from pre-pandemic levels in 2019, according to data company HotStats.

Interior of the Clemens.
The renovation includes the hotel’s restaurants, such as The Clement. Mark Wieland photography

The shopping area near the peninsula remains just as prestigious. On the Gold Coast’s Fifth Avenue – roughly from East 51st Street to Central Park – rents have soared. According to Cushman & Wakefield, it cost as much as $2,000 per square meter last year, the most expensive in the world, and 13% higher than its nearest competitor, Via Montenapoleone in Milan.

“It has increased plus, plus, plus to pre-corona levels,” says Brandon Singer, founder of Retail by Mona. “Rents are back to where they were, but the interesting thing is the takeovers – that has never happened before.”

He cites the sales of several buildings that offered renewed confidence in the legacy, including Kering’s purchase of 715-717 Fifth Ave. on 56th Street worth $963 million, just after Prada spent $835 million to buy 720 and 724 Fifth.

The peninsula’s own expansion is another factor, Eisen says: Sparkling new flagships in London and Istanbul have attracted a cachet-seeking clientele. They would probably be very disappointed by staying on the New York Peninsula as it is, he warned.

“They need to do something, and something fast – that area is trying to chase London for luxury, flagged hotel options,” notes consultant Patrizia, “it’s just not working.”