In­ter­con­ti­nen­tal New York Bar­clay

Business Traveller - - TRIED & TESTED | HOTEL -

BACK­GROUND First opened in 1926, and op­er­ated by In­ter­con­ti­nen­tal since the 1970s, this was one of the orig­i­nal rail­road ho­tels, built near Grand Cen­tral sta­tion. It closed for a US$180 mil­lion ren­o­va­tion in 2014, re­open­ing 20 months later in April last year.

WHAT’S IT LIKE? The 16-floor build­ing was orig­i­nally de­signed in “neo-Fed­eral, Amer­i­can Colo­nial” style by Cross and Cross, the ar­chi­tects be­hind Tif­fany and Co’s Fifth Av­enue store. The re­vamp, which in­volved the re­design of more than 39,000 sqm of space, boosted the room count from 685 to 702 by re­duc­ing the num­ber of suites. An ex­ec­u­tive lounge, two large ball­rooms and a splen­did top-floor Pent­house suite were added.

The lobby is ex­pan­sive and el­e­gant, with plenty of mar­ble, col­umns, flo­ral dis­plays and a new grand stair­case lead­ing to the meet­ing floor. There is lounge seat­ing in the cen­tre, with re­cep­tion desks and a concierge room to the right, and the Gin Par­lour to the left. It’s an im­pres­sive, bustling space.

WHERE IS IT? Well lo­cated for ei­ther busi­ness or leisure in Mid­town, on East 48th Street be­tween Park and Lex­ing­ton Av­enues.

ROOMS The 702 rooms, which in­clude 33 suites, have been re­vamped to be “rem­i­nis­cent of a clas­sic Park Av­enue home”, while adding mod­ern touches. In a largely pale grey pal­ette, many fea­ture mu­rals in­spired by 19th-cen­tury Hud­son River School land­scapes, while oth­ers have fire­places. They range from en­trylevel Su­pe­rior (from 24 sqm) to the 250 sqm Harold S Van­der­bilt Pent­house, which also has a fab­u­lous 120 sqm ter­race look­ing on to the Chrysler Build­ing.

In­cluded as stan­dard are comfy king or queen beds (I slept well and there was only a lim­ited amount of noise from the out­side world), 42-inch TVs, a ta­ble to work at, tea and cof­fee, iron­ing boards, safes, mini­bars and bot­tled wa­ter on ar­rival. Stan­dard wifi costs US$15 (plus taxes) per day, or high-speed is US$20 (IHG Re­wards mem­bers get free wifi). Bath­rooms have a mix­ture of walk-in show­ers only, show­ers over baths, or sep­a­rate tubs and show­ers. The shower power could have done with be­ing a bit stronger. Suite guests re­ceive toi­letries by Caswell-Massey, which had its flag­ship store in the ho­tel for 84 years; oth­er­wise it’s In­ter­con­ti­nen­tal’s stan­dard Agraria prod­ucts.

The Club In­ter­con­ti­nen­tal lounge is tucked away to the left of the lobby. Open 6.30am-8pm, it’s a large space and was quiet when­ever I dropped in. It serves a buf­fet break­fast, re­fresh­ments, af­ter­noon tea, evening cock­tails and hors d’oeu­vres. Ac­cess costs US$100 for dou­ble oc­cu­pancy or US$80 per sin­gle guest on top of the room rate (free for Royal Am­bas­sadors; 20 per cent dis­count for Am­bas­sadors); there is no spe­cific Club room cat­e­gory.

RESTAU­RANTS AND BARS Con­sid­er­ing the size of the prop­erty, there is only one, mod­estly sized bar and restau­rant, the Gin Par­lour – I imag­ine that is a re­flec­tion of the breadth of choice out­side the ho­tel. In­spired by Dutch and English gin bars of the 1920s, it serves 88 gins and is open for break­fast, lunch and din­ner.

MEET­ING FA­CIL­I­TIES The prop­erty has 1,400 sqm of event space, in­clud­ing the im­pres­sive 460 sqm Grand Ball­room, which holds 450 peo­ple the­atrestyle. A se­cond ball­room holds 350 for a re­cep­tion.

LEISURE FA­CIL­I­TIES On the third floor is a good­sized 24-hour gym with Techn­o­gym kit. Michelle Harbi

VER­DICT The re­fur­bish­ment has rein­vig­o­rated this his­toric ho­tel, adding con­tem­po­rary touches while main­tain­ing its clas­sic feel. Com­fort­able and well equipped for busi­ness trav­ellers, in a con­ve­nient Mid­town lo­ca­tion.

The re­vamp in­volved the re­design of more than 39,000 sqm of space, in­clud­ing the ex­pan­sive, el­e­gant lobby

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