Expect bigger bathrooms – and slightly smaller guest rooms – once IHG completes its top-t0-bottom, $175 million renovation on the historic InterContinental Barclay hotel in New York.
It’s one example of what the hotel’s doing to position itself for today’s travelers, said veteran hotelier Herve Houdre, the top executive in charge of the hotel. The property’s owned partly by hospitality giant IHG, which runs brands including Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza and Hotel Indigo.
“We’re fixing the main complaints that we’ve had from our customers lately,” he told me.
The hotel recently closed for an extensive, $175 million renovation. Here’s Part II of my exclusive interview with Houdre:
Q. Guests had complained about noise in guest rooms. Will you address soundproofing?
A. Yes, we are changing the windows of the hotel. It was necessary.
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Q. What about the small bathrooms, which is frequently a complaint in historic hotels?
A. We are enlarging the bathrooms, which was very necessary as well. We were known for larger rooms, so we will take some space off the bedrooms; bedrooms will be slightly smaller.
Q. Right now, guests can shower in the bathtub. Will the change mean they’ll have stand-alone showers?
A. Yes. We are keeping 125 bathrooms with tubs for families and double rooms; the rest of the guest rooms will have a great shower experience.
Q. Will you invest in a new Wi-Fi system?
A. We already had invested heavily two, three years ago, so we’re keeping the same system.
Q. What will happen with the restaurant and bar?
A. We are switching the restaurant and bar. The bar is currently in a room that is off the lobby but a bit discreet. We’re going to reverse the bar and restaurant so that bar will be sort of be a very attractive lobby bar. When customers will come back from dinner, they will be enticed to go to the bar . It will be easy to say ‘Meet me at the bar,’ and the restaurant will be a bit more discreet and quiet.
Q. The hotel lacks a club lounge. Are you going to add one?
A. Yes. We will create a Club InterContinental lounge. That’s big for our customers, though it will not be for free. It will have a business center and service all around from 6: 30 a.m. to 11 p.m.