Grand Hyatt New York Reopening & Rebranding

Grand Hyatt New York Reopening & Rebranding

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The Grand Hyatt New York closed around the start of the pandemic due to lack of demand, and it will soon be reopening… but under a different name.

Hyatt Grand Central New York opens November 1

The 1,298-room Grand Hyatt New York will be reopening as of November 1, 2021, and at that point it will be rebranded as the Hyatt Grand Central New York. In other words, it’s having it’s branding changed from a Grand Hyatt to just a plain old Hyatt. As the name suggests, the property is located in Midtown Manhattan near Grand Central, on 42nd Street.

The Hyatt Grand Central New York will be a Category 5 World of Hyatt property, meaning that a free night redemption will cost 20,000 points.

A while back it was revealed that the Grand Hyatt New York will close permanently at the end of 2022. This is because developers plan to build a new two million square foot skyscraper in the space of the hotel, which will include retail and office space, as well as a new Hyatt hotel.

At this point the plan is for the hotel to close no earlier than 2023, which is a bit later than was initially planned. I’m curious to see how this evolves.

Grand Hyatt New York lobby

What’s the motivation for this rebranding?

The Grand Hyatt New York is being rebranded as the Hyatt Grand Central New York, before potentially closing in just a bit over a year to be torn down.

I could be reading into this wrong, but my speculation is that this rebranding is so that the hotel doesn’t have to conform to typical Grand Hyatt brand standards. Each brand has certain standards and amenities that are expected, so my guess is that the hotel simply doesn’t want to offer what Grand Hyatts typically have. Nowadays the plain old Hyatt brand seems to have properties that are all over the place, without too many consistent standards.

For example, in trying to book a stay at the property, I’m noticing that club rooms are no longer being sold. I suspect there are no plans for the Grand Club to open before the hotel is torn down, even though this is a standard Grand Hyatt amenity (then again, many hotels have temporarily closed their lounges).

What’s the motivation for all of this? Well, as View from the Wing highlighted recently, it seems the hotel is only reluctantly reopening. The City Council recently passed a bill requiring hotels that closed or laid off 75% of their staff during the pandemic to provide $500 per week in severance pay to employees for up to 30 weeks. Hotels could exempt themselves by recalling at least 25% of workers, and reopening by November 1, 2021.

So it’s not rocket science to figure out what’s going on here — the hotel is reluctantly reopening, and will probably be staffed somewhere around 25% of pre-coronavirus levels, so that the hotel doesn’t have to make this severance payment. It’s probably cheaper to reopen the hotel and employ 25% of staff, rather than pay all workers $500 per week for 30 weeks.

So between the hotel clearly not even wanting to reopen, the hotel being torn down in a bit over a year, the hotel likely being very lightly staffed, and the hotel rebranding so that it (presumably) doesn’t fully have to comply with Grand Hyatt brand standards, I can’t say that I’d like to stay here.

Grand Hyatt New York room

Bottom line

The Grand Hyatt New York is being rebranded as the Hyatt Grand Central New York when it reopens on November 1, 2021. The hotel will only be open for some amount of time, before likely being torn down in 2023.

The hotel only seems to be reopening because it would otherwise be on the hook for severance pay, so at that point the economics probably change so that it makes sense to once again open.

What do you make of the Grand Hyatt rebranding and reopening?

Conversations (27)
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  1. Theresa

    You are right, Ben — the Grand Central Hyatt (and the New York Hilton) announced reopening right after the New York City Council passed the severance bill. It is no coincidence.

    I live three blocks from the Grand Hyatt, and across the street from a Hyatt Place that opened earlier this year. I couldn’t understand how our neighborhood could support two Hyatts within footsteps of each other. Your article explains it clearly.

    Why...

    You are right, Ben — the Grand Central Hyatt (and the New York Hilton) announced reopening right after the New York City Council passed the severance bill. It is no coincidence.

    I live three blocks from the Grand Hyatt, and across the street from a Hyatt Place that opened earlier this year. I couldn’t understand how our neighborhood could support two Hyatts within footsteps of each other. Your article explains it clearly.

    Why was the Grand Hyatt slated to close in a year? I suspect it is because the property was tax exempt through 2020. The Grand Hyatt was Donald Trump’s first hotel. He was able to secure an incredible 40-year tax break that has cost New York City hundreds of millions of tax dollars since 1980. The end of the tax abatement coincided with the end of the Grand Hyatt.

    A reader above commented “And people wonder why every company is racing each other to move to Florida and Texas.” I wouldn’t be surprised if Trump received similar tax breaks on his Florida properties. That is how the game of real estate is played.

  2. JR

    What a disappointment. Used to stay there with my family every other summer when we would go to NYC to compete in Nationals dance competition. So many great memories there. Such a shame they had to ruin an iconic hotel.

  3. Allie Kenney

    I think something similar is happening at Hilton midtown on 6th Av. Another out of date 4 star business/convention hotel reopening at 1/3 capacity.

    Also Hyatt change may have something to do with east side access project and recovery of east midtown. May be several yrs before east midtown recovers and despite recent rezoning which is making the big towers possible, many many people not coming in to work. Once they do start coming I...

    I think something similar is happening at Hilton midtown on 6th Av. Another out of date 4 star business/convention hotel reopening at 1/3 capacity.

    Also Hyatt change may have something to do with east side access project and recovery of east midtown. May be several yrs before east midtown recovers and despite recent rezoning which is making the big towers possible, many many people not coming in to work. Once they do start coming I think more will be wanting to work as close as possible to train stations, not wanting to add filthy subway ride to their commute. East Side Access will for first time bring Long Island commuters on LIRR to GCT instead of Penn Station, if they prefer. So, you will have that group, in addition to CT and Westchester commuters, which I think may add to appeal of neighborhood. May even start to see some businesses relocate from downtown to east midtown. But will take at least 2 or 3 years to see.

  4. EthaninSF

    It's still perplexing how the major hotel chains allow their core brand, Hilton, Marriott, Hyatt, etc. to become the "has been" run-of-the-mill most bland brand in their portfolio. I understand that ownership and management are separate from each other, but it feels as though the management companies would rather open a new brand than actually address the issues with existing hotels. Sure there are individual good properties, but overall it feels as though the core...

    It's still perplexing how the major hotel chains allow their core brand, Hilton, Marriott, Hyatt, etc. to become the "has been" run-of-the-mill most bland brand in their portfolio. I understand that ownership and management are separate from each other, but it feels as though the management companies would rather open a new brand than actually address the issues with existing hotels. Sure there are individual good properties, but overall it feels as though the core brands are all deteriorating, especially in the US. You typically get a the same or better experience at a limited service brand these days.

  5. BRMM

    The last time I stayed in this place (pre-pandemic), the lounge was nice…and that was it. The room was dirty and had lots of malfunctioning items. I would not call it on standard with even a Hyatt, but the re-brand makes sense given the hotel’s condition.

  6. glenn t

    Isn't this the same hotel building that way back before Hyatt was a 2 star (at best) establishment 'owned' by that NYC slumlord of note, Donald Trump?

    1. Allie Kenney

      It was an old railroad hotel, the Commodore (same era as Biltmore, Roosevelt, etc) and Trump bought it and coated it with glass. It's still the old Commodore underneath.

    2. Theresa

      It sure was. Please see my comment above. This was Trump’s first hotel and he got an unbelievable tax break.

  7. Michael Hayoun

    I stayed there for a conference (that ended up quickly being cancelled) during the second week of march at the start of the pandemic and I was sorely disappointed. I had stayed at the grand Hyatt in Maui just the week before, for a different conference, and it was a night and day difference. Sounds like the rebrand is reasonable to lower guests standards. Great location but not worth the money or points.

  8. jordan23

    Awfully cheap for the dates I need in januaury.

    Can live without full service

    will also give me my 10th brand explorer

  9. Paul LoBo

    The “rebranded” Thompson Central Park is scheduled to also open 11/1

  10. Brian G.

    I am willing to bet the Hyatt brand explorer, will initially not give credit for the correct brand. Based on past history from other properties that change brands.

  11. Steve

    "$500 per employee for a period of up to 30 weeks"....

    And people wonder why every company is racing each other to move to florida and texas.

    1. BBK

      Yep, I just can't fathom when the most powerful country in the world let its politics became almost a carbon copy of what Hugo Chávez did to destroy Venezuela. I really feel bad for what once was the 'capital of the world'.

    2. Dan

      The policy mentioned was specifically about hotels, which can't just relocate to another state...The point is to get people working again and make jobs available and to get hotels opened up so that tourists have a place to stay. More rooms = more reasonable rates = more tourists of varying income levels in the city to drive $ to other industries = more industries start to fully reopen = attract more tourists = incentivizes hotels...

      The policy mentioned was specifically about hotels, which can't just relocate to another state...The point is to get people working again and make jobs available and to get hotels opened up so that tourists have a place to stay. More rooms = more reasonable rates = more tourists of varying income levels in the city to drive $ to other industries = more industries start to fully reopen = attract more tourists = incentivizes hotels to open even more fully = more people are employed - and the cycle continues. Cities that rely on tourists need to do things to incentivize them to come back (and we need to have these jobs to keep people in the city / attract people back who left during the height of the pandemic).

  12. shoeguy

    The Grand Hyatt was Donald J. Trump's first major NYC project and the beginning of the Trump Organization's decades of blight and negative impact on the NYC skyline.

    1. Tempe Jim

      No truer words have ever been said...

    2. LK

      and it seems the hotel will end in a typical Trumpish way (avoiding paying long-time employees). How much did they take in Federal Covid relief funds?

    3. BBK

      The blight and negative impact is just beginning with you guys voting for socialists. As a Venezuelan, mark my words. NYC is in decline, full speed.

    4. Chris

      I really don't get how the political right gets away with claiming the U.S. is so close to being like Venezuela. It's like European-style capitalist democracy (or a system resembling Canada's or Japan's) doesn't exist. But I guess that's the rhetoric that sells these days. Willful denial. Please, look around.

      Then again, these denialists will also tell you Europe is "Socialist." Please, travel around.

      That's not to say other capitalist democracies are perfect....

      I really don't get how the political right gets away with claiming the U.S. is so close to being like Venezuela. It's like European-style capitalist democracy (or a system resembling Canada's or Japan's) doesn't exist. But I guess that's the rhetoric that sells these days. Willful denial. Please, look around.

      Then again, these denialists will also tell you Europe is "Socialist." Please, travel around.

      That's not to say other capitalist democracies are perfect. But Venezuela they are not.

  13. Rob

    Ah, government at work. Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.

  14. freehyattcerts

    I'm actually happy about this change - it will make it a lot easier to tick off the "Hyatt" brand for the Brand Explorer free night certs

  15. John

    @Ben In the sentence "It’s probably cheaper to reopen the hotel and employe 25% than it is to pay all workers $500 per week for 30 weeks," it looks like you added an extra E.

    1. jordan23

      there's only 1 "e" in "pedantic"

Featured Comments Load all 27 comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

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Steve

"$500 per employee for a period of up to 30 weeks".... And people wonder why every company is racing each other to move to florida and texas.

Ben Schlappig

@ John -- Fixed, thanks!

John

@Ben In the sentence "It’s probably cheaper to reopen the hotel and employe 25% than it is to pay all workers $500 per week for 30 weeks," it looks like you added an extra E.

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