Taj group’s Pierre in Manhattan to close for renovations

By Parveen Chopra, IANS

New York : The Pierre, the iconic New York hotel now run by India’s Taj group, is shutting down Monday for a year for a $100-million renovation.

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The 41-storeyed luxury hotel in Manhattan will be renovated because of the “highly competitive arena” of New York hotels, Heiko Kuenstle, the Pierre’s general manager, said.

The hotel’s website now runs this screen: “Sometimes even iconic landmarks undergo makeover. At the Pierre, we are embarking on a mission to reinforce the Pierre’s legendary status as one of New York’s finest luxury hotels.”

Under a finely-balanced plan, the best of this historic hotel built in 1929 next to Central Park will be preserved while bringing in changes to make it relevant to a new generation of customers.

The Pierre, in fact, underwent renovations since the Taj Group of Hotels, which promotes the Taj chain of hotels belonging to the Tatas, entered into a 30-year management contract to operate and manage the hotel at a cost of $45 million. Four Seasons group had the lease earlier.

The renovated parts include the Grand Ballroom that will remain open next year.

The parts to be renovated include 200 rooms and 52 suites, including 12 grand suites that have spectacular views of the city or the Central Park.

The historic hotel which looks like a French chateau and was once described by the New Yorker magazine as a ‘millionaires’ Elysium’ has been a favourite of the rich and famous such as Frank Sinatra, Audrey Hepburn and Mikhail Gorbachev.

Half of the hotel’s 600 employees will have to leave because of the renovation. They have been offered a severance package. The rest, including doormen, bellmen and concierges, will be retained to take care of the 75 co-op apartments scattered among the hotel rooms.

The co-op owners’ board has owned the hotel since 1959.