In­ter­Con­ti­nen­tal New York Bar­clay

Business Traveller (Middle East) - - Tried & Tested -

The Bar­clay Ho­tel, built in 1926, closed in 2014 for 20 months to un­dergo its largest ren­o­va­tion yet – an $180 mil­lion re­vamp in which all rooms and public spa­ces were com­pletely re­designed. It re­opened in May last year as the In­ter­Con­ti­nen­tal New York Bar­clay.

At first glance it looks and feels no dif­fer­ent to any other big-name lux­ury prop­erty, its beau­ti­fully re­stored lobby show­cas­ing a mod­ernised ver­sion of its orig­i­nal cen­tral sky­light. Plush car­pet­ing and fur­nish­ings wel­come guests to sit and re­lax in the midst of a pol­ished marble checker­board floor, while a brand new arched stair­case now con­nects the lobby to the Grand Ball­room and con­fer­ence rooms on the se­cond floor. The Bar­clay’s team of friendly staff have been re­cruited glob­ally and speak a mul­ti­tude of lan­guages.

The stand-out fea­ture is its ded­i­ca­tion to sus­tain­abil­ity. Ini­tia­tives to re­duce wastage and im­prove the lo­cal com­mu­nity have been wo­ven into the ev­ery­day fab­ric of the ho­tel’s op­er­a­tions since GM Herve Houdre took over in 2009, but his plan goes well be­yond re­duc­ing laun­dry loads.

When I vis­ited, the Bar­clay was do­nat­ing un­used and ex­cess food from its kitchens to City Har­vest, a large-scale ‘food res­cue and distribution’ pro­gram; shucked oys­ter shells go to the Bil­lion Oys­ter Project, an ini­tia­tive to re­pop­u­late the Hud­son River’s dwin­dling sup­ply; and flow­ers from its dec­o­ra­tive flo­ral ar­range­ments are given to Re­peat Roses, which re­dis­tributes them to hos­pi­tals, el­derly homes, and women’s and chil­dren’s shel­ters. Food refuse from restau­rants and bars is placed into ‘food di­gesters’.

Oc­cu­py­ing a prime spot at 48th be­tween Lex­ing­ton and Madi­son Av­enue and strad­dling the fi­nan­cial and me­dia dis­tricts of Mid­town East. Grand Cen­tral Sta­tion, Fifth Av­enue, Cen­tral Park, Times Square, Rock­e­feller Plaza and the Mu­seum of Mod­ern Art are a short walk away, as are some of Man­hat­tan’s best bars and restau­rants.

For the ho­tel’s most re­cent ren­o­va­tion, in­te­rior de­sign firm HOK was tasked with mak­ing each of the Bar­clay’s gue­strooms feel like a Park Av­enue Apart­ment.

A to­tal of 704 rooms and suites are spread across 13 floors. I stayed in an Ex­ec­u­tive King Room, which is in the mid-range of the ho­tel’s cat­e­gory of rooms and suites, start­ing at 300. The room is a com­fort­ably spa­cious abode that boasts checker­board tiles in the foyer and bath­room, lead­ing to soft car­pet­ing and a King-sized bed with hy­poal­ler­genic bed­ding. The room’s taste­ful dé­cor is an el­e­gant and calm­ing respite from the chaotic Mid­town streets be­low. A 42-inch LCD TV sits on a cabi­net in front of the cus­tom wall mural, and a small work desk with two arm­chairs is set up next to the win­dow. Each room is equipped with a Keurig cof­feemaker. A one-bed­room Deluxe Suite is pic­tured.

The new Gin Par­lour is a sleek oval-shaped bar that houses 88 dif­fer­ent va­ri­eties. The lobby-level Bar­clay Bar & Grill serves a sus­tain­able, or­ganic menu of New Amer­i­can dishes made with sea­sonal in­gre­di­ents from nearby sup­pli­ers. En­dan­gered seafood and shell­fish have been ex­cluded from the menu and re­placed with more sus­tain­able op­tions. The Club In­ter­Con­ti­nen­tal Lounge serves an or­ganic break­fast buf­fet, af­ter­noon canapés, and a nightly pre-the­atre se­lec­tion of wine and cheese.

There is a new pri­vate busi­ness room with concierge ser­vice avail­able to guests in the Club In­ter­Con­ti­nen­tal Lounge, as well as a new 5,000sq ft Grand Ball­room and another 3,500 sq ft Ball­room, as well as five break­out rooms avail­able for smaller meet­ings and events. A Busi­ness Cen­tre has two com­put­ers and a copy machine.

Guests have ac­cess via their room key to the newly ren­o­vated 24-hour Fit­ness Cen­tre with steam room and sauna on the third floor. Although there is no spa, in-room spa treat­ments can be ar­ranged by the concierge through sev­eral nearby part­ner spas. Caitlin Chea­dle

Its prox­im­ity to Grand Cen­tral Sta­tion and Mid­town Man­hat­tan make it ideally sit­u­ated for busi­ness trav­ellers. Post-ren­o­va­tion, it’s a re­lax­ing haven from NYC’s hus­tle and bus­tle.

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