These hotel room prices are insane

By Michael Stoler | March 03, 2009 03:40PM

The former pitchman for the bankrupt electronics retailer Crazy Eddie said, “These prices are insane.” Similarly, visitors to Manhattan have the opportunity to experience the best hotels in the city for bargain basement prices.

It was only a few months ago when business and leisure travelers visiting New York City would have to go to the outer boroughs to secure a hotel room for less than $200 per night. But now, one can reserve a room on Central Park South, just down the street from the Plaza Hotel, at The Helmsley Park Lane for $179 per night. A room is available at the completely renovated Jumeirah Essex House, also on Central Park South, for $225 per night. Even the legendary Plaza Hotel is offering rooms for $562 per night, a discount of 30 percent to 40 percent off previous peak prices.

For those hotel owners who have had their properties for many years,
they can weather the storm of lower prices for rooms. Unfortunately, for
those hotel developers who projected room rates of $400 to $600 per
night and are required to fund debt service for their loans, they may
have difficult times ahead.

At Manhattan’s newest hotels, rooms are being offered for rates which were never contemplated by the developers or lenders who provided the financing for the projects. Earlier this month, the 100-room Smyth Tribeca at 85 West Broadway, opened, offering rooms for as low as $119 per night. In January, the eagerly anticipated Cooper Square Hotel opened at 25 Cooper Square and the Bowery in the East Village. After a visit to the neighborhood Whole Foods, tourists can stay at the hotel for as little as $169 per night.

The talk of the town for luxury is Ian Schrager’s Gramercy Park Hotel,
at 2 Lexington Avenue at 21st Street, overlooking Gramercy Park. This
five-star, completely renovated hotel is now offering rooms for $336
per night.

If you want to stay in Midtown and you don’t mind sharing a bathroom,
you can pay an insanely low $65 per night at the Pod Hotel, at 230 East 51st Street
between Second and Third avenues.

More upscale is the Loews Regency Hotel, the “four-diamond” flagship of the Loews
chain, home of New York’s power breakfast, and Feinstein’s at Loews
Regency. Rooms at the hotel at 540 Park Avenue at 61st Street can be
had for $269 per night.

A lot of people want to Stay On Madison Avenue, and one of the best spots is the landmark Omni Berkshire Place at 21 East 52nd Street, which is offering rooms for $160 per night. One avenue to the west, rooms at the landmark Waldorf=Astoria at 301 Park Avenue between 48th and 49th streets are available for $249 per night.

Looking for a different feel, some visitors want to book a room downtown at the trendy Hotel Gansevoort, at 18 Ninth Avenue in the Meatpacking District, where you previously had to pay close to $500 per night for a room. Today, a “superior” room with one queen bed is available for $236 per night.

Perhaps the best bargain for a three-star hotel is Vornado Realty Trust’s landmark Hotel Pennsylvania at 401 Seventh Avenue at 33rd Street, where guests who qualify will pay an $11 rate for the second night of their stay. The hotel is celebrating its 50th anniversary, and offering anyone celebrating an anniversary of 50 years or more the $11 price of a room charged 50 years ago. Still, the regular room rate is a steal at as $99 per night.

Michael Stoler is a columnist for The Real Deal and host of real estate programs “The Stoler Report” and “Building New York” on CUNY TV and on WEGTV in East Hampton. His radio show, “The Michael Stoler Real Estate Report,” airs on 1010 WINS on Saturdays and Sundays. Stoler is a director at Madison Realty Capital as well as an adjunct professor at NYU Real Estate Institute, and a former contributing editor and columnist for the New York Sun.


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