Hotel Spotlight: InterContinental New York Barclay

Architectural firm Stonehill & Taylor took charge of the restoration and preservation for the hotel's guest rooms, public areas, and function rooms. Photo by Pablo Enriquez via The New York Times

Architectural firm Stonehill & Taylor took charge of the restoration and preservation for the hotel’s guest rooms, public areas, and function rooms. Photo by Pablo Enriquez via The New York Times

Old historical building renovations can go one of a few ways.

They can be atrocities, without care or consideration for the historical context and relevance of the building.

They can be predictable, without any imaginative forethought to current or future users of the space.

Or, they can be respectful, yet creative rediscoveries of both a bygone era – while still cognizant of modern sensibilities and future needs: a perfect blend of honor, nostalgia, practicality, and vision.

 

 

Photo credit: Intercontinental New York Barclay

Photo credit: Intercontinental New York Barclay

After a 20-month closure, The InterContinental New York Barclay $180M restoration, lead by Stonehill & Taylor architects, found that breath-taking balance. And it was worth the wait.

The 1926 building, originally a residential hotel, has a storied past. Originally funded by the Vanderbilt family, the Barclay was home to a range of luminaries: from Gloria Swanson and Bette Davis, to Ernest Hemingway and Jimmy Durante.  Then-Presidential Candidate Bill Clinton’s 1992 Campaign Headquarters even called the Barclay “home.” The hotel even featured a train ticket window in the lobby, with a spiral staircase leading down to one of Grand Central Station’s train platforms (which is even still in existence.)

 

The design team used subway tiles, reminiscent of 1920s New York architecture to maintain the period feel of the building. Photo by Biztravr via Tripadvisor.com

The design team used subway tiles, reminiscent of 1920s New York architecture to maintain the period feel of the building. Photo by Biztravr via Tripadvisor.com

The Midtown hotel, evocative of “Federal-style elegance” now boasts both restored as well as bespoke period details that set the perfect scene for anyone looking to absorb the rich ambiance that is so emblematic of turn-of-the-century New York City. For example, the revolving door is decorated with brass warblers and branches, an homage to the original birdcage that graced the hotel lobby until 1995.  Hudson River styled murals grace guest rooms.  With an eye towards homeyness and comfort, the design team created custom linens and furniture, along with replacing all of the windows to seal out the street noise from below. Add in modern touches like expanded bathrooms and 42″ LED TVs, and you have all the appeal of a grand historical building, but with the creature comforts of a modern traveler in desperate need of a “home-away-from-home.”

 

The revolving door is decorated with brass warblers and branches, an homage to the original birdcage that graced the hotel lobby until 1995.  Hudson River styled murals grace guest rooms.  With an eye towards homeyness and comfort, the design team created custom linens and furniture, along with replacing all of the windows to seal out the street noise from below. Add in modern touches like expanded bathrooms and 42″ LED TVs, and you have all the appeal of a grand historical building, but with the creature comforts of a modern traveler in desperate need of a “home-away-from-home.”

 

 

Photo by Biztravr via Tripadvisor.com

Photo by Biztravr via Tripadvisor.com 

With an eye towards homeyness and comfort, HOK and IHG’s in-house design team created custom linens and furniture, along with replacing all of the original windows with double-paned,

 

We, of course, are always interested in the baths. Expanded from their original footprint, the baths provide generous counter space and lit mirrors and a choice of walk-in showers or shower/tubs.  Argon gas insulated windows to seal out the street noise from below as well as the New York stifling heat and bitter winters. Add in modern touches like expanded bathrooms and 42″ LED TVs, and you have all the appeal of a grand historical building, but with the creature comforts of a modern traveler in desperate need of a “home-away-from-home.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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