Plaza Hotel, Manhattan Four Seasons could soon reopen

Two iconic properties intertwined by dispute

UPDATED June 27, 10:40 a.m.: Two iconic Manhattan hotels could be back online soon, but their fates are more connected than what meets the eye.

Both the Manhattan Four Seasons at 57 East 57th Street and the Plaza Hotel at 768 Fifth Avenue appear poised for a rebirth, the Wall Street Journal reported. Neither could stay open during the pandemic and though the Plaza reopened to guests in May 2021, its still-closed sections could be in for a repositioning.

The Four Seasons in Midtown has been the subject of a major dispute between Ty Warner (of Beanie Babies fame) and the Four Seasons brand, which operates hotels under its name, rather than owning them outright. The hotel was targeting a reopening in spring 2022, but blew past that with no end in sight due to construction costs and management fees.

The two sides are moving towards an agreement, however, which would allow the 368-room hotel to reopen. While a deal hasn’t been reached yet, it could come before the end of the summer.

That impacts the Plaza because the Four Seasons has been weighing a chance to take over management of the Plaza, which is owned by Katara Hospitality on behalf of the Qatari government. The Four Seasons is a finalist to operate the hotel, competing against Paris-based Raffles Hotels & Resorts, which is moving its headquarters to the Big Apple.

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The competition could be thrown into greater disarray because of a change in leadership at Katara, which has the potential to upend the entire process. If the Four Seasons reopens at Warner’s property, however, Raffles is expected to be awarded the Plaza.

The historic hotel, which Katara bought in 2018, stopped taking guests in March 2020, shortly after the pandemic’s impact spread across the United States. At the time, the hotel laid off 251 employees.

Each hotel would require time and renovation before reopening, but if they can do so before the holiday season, ownership could have a chance to come roaring back. Year-to-date, luxury hotels in the city are sporting a revenue per available room of $334.45, according to STR. That’s more than triple 2021 levels and above pre-pandemic levels, too.

Correction: A previous version of this article stated the Plaza was still closed to guests, but the hotel reopened portions of the property in May 2021.

Holden Walter-Warner

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