The Real Deal New York

Famed Martha Washington Hotel back in business

Renovated facility on East 29th St. was once the top female residential hotel in the US

September 24, 2014 04:00PM
By David Jones

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Martha Washington Hotel

The landmark Martha Washington Hotel made its official debut under Chelsea Hotels founder Ed Scheetz. The unveiling marks the first major revamp of the property since Scheetz rebranded the former King and Grove hotel family and transformed the boutique NoMad property into a full service hotel.

The 29 East 29th Street Renaissance Revival style hotel, formerly known as the King and Grove New York, underwent millions of dollars in renovations to bring the property — a former all-women’s hotel that has operated under multiple names since 1903 — into the 21st century as a luxury boutique property.“We really felt the hotel needed to be transformed,” said Scheetz. “What was a middle market limited service hotel has been brought into the full service era.”

For most of its history, the original Martha Washington Hotel was considered the top residential hotel for women in the country. The hotel included a renowned list of poets, writers and other figures among its guests and permanent residents. That list included former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt, actors Louise Brooks and Veronica Lake and poet Sara Teasdale.

Rockpoint, a private equity firm based in Boston, bought a majority share of the property, then called the Hotel Thirty Thirty, in 2006. The PE firm renovated the property and renamed it the Hotel Lola. The hotel was then sold in 2012 to King and Grove — backed by the Chetrit Group — for a reported $116 million, and renamed King and Grove New York.

As The Real Deal reported, Scheetz and Chetrit parted ways amid a series of disputes about the operation of the company, particularly the handling of the Hotel Chelsea. That famed residential hotel experienced years of turmoil with tenants.

The partnership left Scheetz in charge of Ruschmeyers in Montauk, N.Y., King and Grove Lafayette, the Hotel Chelsea, the King and Grove Williamsburg and the King and Grove New York, which became the Martha Washington.

Scheetz told The Real Deal in May that he would rebrand the hotels under the Chelsea Hotels name and then revamp each of the individual properties, before expanding with new acquisitions in major U.S. and international markets.

Interior designer Annabelle Selldorf managed all of the renovations at the property, including the creation of a new lobby bar called Veronica’s at Martha Washington. The property will also have a 4,000 square foot meeting and event space that will open before the end of the year. In addition Scheetz said the firm received permission from the Landmarks Preservation Commission to create a new façade facing the street at the property.

Among the major changes at the newly named Martha Washington, the property has a new Italian eatery called Marta, from chef Nick Anderer, who previously worked at Babbo and Gramercy Tavern. The restaurant is operated by Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group.

Room rates will range from $295 to $495 per night, according to Scheetz.

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