Money is the fountain of youth for historic hotel icons

Money is the fountain of youth for historic hotel icons

Some weeks ago I visited the freshly refurbished Savoy hotel in London, where presumably US$400 million has been spent on a 268-bedroom hotel. Before going, I couldn?t understand how it was even possible to spend over US$1 million per room on the renovation of an existing luxury hotel. But having seen the final result, I can confirm that it is a fantastic, sophisticated British ?icon? just as it always has been – only now all the crinkles of the ages have been ironed away.

However, I experienced an entirely contrasting program in New York City between Christmas and the New Year.

My wife and I stayed in one of ?the? hotels in the city, one which is famous for the stars and presidents that used to stay there. Sadly, it is necessary to say ?used to stay? because nowadays the hotel is full of tourists which step inside to take a picture of themselves in the lobby, or even guests which walk around juggling egg crate holders full of Starbucks coffee cups and paper bags stuffed with bagels.

Although we had a little suite with two desks, I had to charge my laptop in the bathroom as that was the only place I could find an electrical outlet.

The wiring under the desks was breathtaking! And when the light switches were flipped on in the bedroom, nothing happened – and in the living room, only the desk lamp emitted a pale light.

Our ?suite? certainly had been two guestrooms before – meaning we also had two complete bathrooms ? but the living room was of practically no use, as the noise from the elevators seemed to rumble right through the space.

The bathroom floor was a beautiful polished marble, but slippery – even with dry feet it was nowhere near the brand standards for health and safety.

The sprinkler system, which although it obviously had been installed more recently, looked a bit provisional; the doors had not been sound-proofed, and the interiors showed signs of wear and stains.

Having seen The Savoy several weeks before and then by comparison this formerly luxurious hotel in New York City, I began to imagine how it could be a very expensive exercise to create an atmosphere reminiscent of the last century with the modern comforts of today ? in fact, even more costly than building a completely new hotel.

Yet still, this hotel remains the ?Grande Dame? of New York?s places to stay and it certainly deserves a major revitalization!