When the Knickerbocker Hotel first opened on 42nd Street in 1906 with a glamorous restaurant and luxurious guest rooms, it quickly became a part of New York's social scene. But financial problems got the best of it, and a mere 15 years after it opened, the beautiful Beaux Arts hotel was converted into offices. It saw a few other uses, sold a few more times, and saw a failed bid to turn it back into a hotel. Then came Felcor Lodging Trust. The hotel developer bought the property for $115 million in 2012 and began a gut renovation to return the building to its original use. The work is nearing completion, and the new 330-room hotel should be welcoming guests by fall. Felcor shared the first interior renderings of the project and provided some more details about what we can look forward to.
Because the building had changed uses so many times, the interiors were a bit of a mess. Felcor stripped the building down to the floorplates, and essentially built an entirely new building within the landmark exterior. The 330 guest rooms222 king rooms, 68 doubles, 36 junior suites, and 4 signature suitesaverage 430-square-feet, and rates will start at the mid-$500 price point. Reps tell us that the signature suites will each have a unique design relating to the hotel's history; the two-bedroom penthouse, for example, will be "named The Caruso, after the world-famous tenor Enrico Caruso, who lived in the Knickerbocker until his death in 1921." The hotel will also feature what sounds like one of the best hotel fitness centers, with an eSpinner coach, a weight room, and curated music.
The neighbors have been watching the rooftop bar come together for awhile now, and the 7,500-square-foot space will have skypods, "intimate exclusive VIP areas perched on the edge of the rooftop overlooking Times Square." The lead rendering shows that these pods may be located in building's ornate bronze crownsthat would be very cooland there will also be a cigar lounge. Felcor partnered with chef Charlie Palmer for the hotel's fourth floor restaurant and bar, and there will also be a boulangerie lobby cafe.
For comparison's sake, here are a few photos of what the building looked like when it first opened: