New hotels open as large-scale tourism returns to NYC

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Brace yourself — the tourists are coming.

And they’re coming in droves. In 2021, just two years after 2019 saw a record breaking 66 million tourists, New York City welcomed a mere 33 million of them.

In 2022, however, those numbers are expected to surge to 56.5 million and hotels are all but rolling out the red carpet. Hotels that are already open, that is. 

“New construction and projects in the pipeline have significantly slowed post pandemic,” Mark Dorr, president of the New York State Hospitality & Tourism Association told The Post. He says the high cost of doing business in the Empire State — think permit purgatory and hellish inflation — has hotel developers looking elsewhere.

The outlook isn’t exactly bleak, but it’s also not bullish either.

“We still have a major market that remains closed for the most part to travel,” said Vijay Dandapani, president and CEO of the Hotel Association of New York City. “Corporate business travel remains significantly below pre-pandemic levels at about 25%, while domestic business travel is just about 50%.”

Rates at Radio Hotel in Washington Heights start at $188 a night.
Rates at Radio Hotel in Washington Heights start at $188 a night.
Radio Hotel and Tower

Metrics show New York City hotels are back at 2019 occupancy levels. But Dandapanii says the figures are misleading. They don’t factor in that the city permanently lost more than 90 hotels and 17,000 rooms during the pandemic.

Still, if any place can bounce back, it’s the Big Apple. 

Just last month, Washington Heights welcomed its first full-service boutique hotel. Located on the site of an old gas station, the new 221-room Radio Hotel at 2420 Amsterdam Ave. celebrates the neighborhood’s Dominican roots. Its goal is to become a home away from home for visitors from the DR.

“One thing I’ve learned in my career is never to bet against New York.”

Jason Pomeranc, brand owner of Civilian Hotel

Architects designed the tiered 23-story development to look like a vertical village, and between its bright red, green, blue, orange and yellow buildings, you’d have to be colorblind to miss it. While Karen-esque neighbors could see it as an eyesore, others are thrilled. Radio Hotel’s tower doubles as a transmitter providing the area with fiber-optic 5G service. Rates start at $188 per night. 

Half-Broadway museum, half-hotel, the new Civilian Hotel at 305 W. 48th St. brings 203 Great White Way-inspired guest rooms to the heart of Hell’s Kitchen. Rooms are “petite,” but the property’s public spaces are pretty cool.

The Blue Room at the new Civilian hotel.
The Blue Room at the new Civilian hotel.
Johnny Miller

The Blue Room/library boasts several holy grails of Broadway memorabilia — including the crown from “Hamilton” and those risqué red kicks from “Kinky Boots.” Light fixtures feature drawings of all 41 Broadway theaters.

So far, Civilian Hotel has experienced a stellar performance since its soft opening last November. “One thing I’ve learned in my career is never to bet against New York,” said Jason Pomeranc, brand owner of Civilian Hotel. Rates start at $375 per night.

Thompson Central Park New York at 119 W. 56th St. opened last spring. But the property, which was the Parker New York in its past life, has been a Midtown mainstay for years. In August, it debuted its new “Upper Stories” concept.

Interior of a room at Thompson Central Park.
Rooms at Thompson Central Park start at $1,000 a night.
David Mitchell

Basically, a hotel within a hotel, these additional 174 guest rooms designed by Stonehill Taylor are located on floors 26-33.

They claim to have commanding views of Central Park that warrant at least an additional $200 (the minimum cost to upgrade to the Upper Stories).

Upper Stories guests also have exclusive access to a 2,000-square-foot lounge where the menu features small bites and the bar operates on an honor system. Rates start at $1,000 per night.

Rooms at Aman start at $4,000 per night.
Rooms at Aman start at $4,000 per night.
Aman New York

Easily the city’s most-hyped hotel since it opened in August, Aman New York at 730 Fifth Ave. is also one of its priciest. One night in a prized corner suite in the iconic Crown Building will set you back at least $20,000. (The cheapest room fetches $4,000 per night.)

But while the average hotel room in the city is around 250 square feet, Aman’s 83 spacious suites range from 850 square feet to 2,025 square feet. Some are two stories. Guests have access to a 25,000 square-foot spa and the property’s signature restaurants, which aren’t open to the public. (If you’re not staying at the hotel, you can still dine here; you just need a $200,000 Aman club membership.)

Interior of a room inside Mint House.
Rates at Mint House start at $500.
Mint House

Despite opening during one of 2020’s deadliest months, Mint House at 70 Pine St. can’t complain. Earlier this year the new FiDi fixture was ranked the No. 1 hotel in the country on TripAdvisor. Paul Sacco, Chief Development Officer at Mint House, credits much of the property’s success — it averaged an 85% occupancy March through July — with the fact it’s an aparthotel. The hotel’s next-level amenities include a gourmet grocer, a two-story fitness center and a two-lane bowling alley. Rates start at $500 per night. 

“During the pandemic Mint House’s occupancy was 2-3 times higher than that of hotels in the same markets based on the nature of our apartment style accommodations,” Sacco told the Post.

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