By: Casey Bucher
Since my thesis proposal is to develop an old elementary school from 1908 into a boutique hotel with lots of character from the early 1900s, I have done a lot of research on historic boutique hotels and historic hotels in general. The first hotel that came to mind when I think grand, historic hotels is The Plaza Hotel in New York City. This hotel, which is located in the Manhattan Midtown neighborhood, has become a landmark to the city. This luxury, twenty story hotel and apartment building was built in 1907. In the hopes of turning my building into a hotel that displays character to it’s time period, the Plaza Hotel is the perfect example of unique hotel architecture that has stood the test of time. The amenities provided by the Plaza Hotel are what gives the hotel a feeling of luxury, something I hope to reciprocate. Services such as butlers, the Champagne Bar, baby-sitting, high-end caterers, prime views of Central Park and the Grand Army Plaza.
Built in 1907 by architect Henry J. Hardenbergh, the hotel mimics the late 19th and 20th century French Renaissance chateau style. It took $12.5 million to build but only charged guests $2.50 per night, which is equivalent to $63 in today’s cash. Today, the very same room is said to cost nearly 20 times that amount. The Plaza Hotel was presented landmark status by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission in 1969 and was designated National Historic Landmark status in 1986. Through the years, the Plaza Hotel has undergone numerous renovations and refurbishments with each new owner. The most costly renovation was completed in 2008 at $450 million. Work began in 2005, after extensive designs were proposed to the Landmark regulation committee. After completion, the hotel boasted 282 hotels rooms and 152 private condo units. Many wealthy developers and businessmen put in bids for the prized apartment condominiums. However, most of these units sit empty, since many are used as a small secondary residence for the well-off owners.