Impulsive Group Turning Portland Square Hotel into Luxury Boutique Hotel

Construction Set to Begin in January of 2007; Sanctuary to Open Fourth Quarter of 2007

. October 14, 2008

NEW YORK, NY, September 26, 2006. Hotel developer Hank Freid has purchased the two-and-half-star Portland Square Hotel, at 132 west 47th Street, between 6th and 7th Avenues, in New York City, with plans to turn it into a four-star boutique, luxury property called Sanctuary.

Major renovations are scheduled to begin in January of 2007 and, when work is completed in fourth quarter of 2007, the Times Square property will be a cutting-edge, deluxe hotel whose competitive set will include the Night Hotel (132 West 45th Street) and the newly-renovated Muse Hotel (130 West 46 Street). Freid's current budget projection is $7.5 million.

"Sanctuary will be tranquil and sumptuous -- a sophisticated oasis from the hustle and bustle of New York City," said Freid, who is president and CEO of Impulsive Group, a NYC firm specializing in hotel development and management, and whose other hotel New York City properties include the Ameritania Hotel at 54th and Broadway, the Marrakech Hotel NYC on the Upper West Side and a number of hostels also in Manhattan. "We are positioning Sanctuary as an upscale destination catering to publishing and corporate executives, modeling agencies and movie studios," Freid explained.

One of the hotel rooms' many sexy features will be an in-room bath, surrounded by adjustable leather drapery, to allow for an instant open setting, or a private room, at the guest's discretion. Rooms will also feature the finest European bed linens, towel warmers, flat screen TVs and rain showerheads. The lobby will have a large emphasis on small, collective gatherings, with fireplaces, a bar/lounge and restaurant. A very high-end duplex penthouse apartment is being planned, with roof access and views of Times Square. Earth tones will be used throughout.

After all the renovations have been completed, Sanctuary will have 115 rooms versus the 147 now at Portland Square. Rooms will be priced from $265 up to $1,800 for the duplex penthouse. Rooms currently go from $129 to $189.

Freid brought on industry veteran Anthony Corallo as his VP in May, 2006 in order to oversee the renovation and repositioning of Portland Square. Corallo has 21 years in the hotel industry working for Grand Hyatt NY, Helmsley NY, Barbizon, Park Central, Manhattan Club, 6 Columbus and Belvedere, among others.

The century-old Portland Square will remain open during renovations with a grand opening planned once all work has been completed. Renovation will be done in phases, and the hotel's name will change to Sanctuary once the new lobby is finished. Although large-scale construction doesn't begin until January, under Freid's ownership, the property now features soft enhancements such as complimentary wireless high-speed Internet access, new bedding, safe-deposit boxes, in-room coffee, ironing boards/irons, hairdryers and on-command video system.

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Revenue Management: Focus On Profit

Revenue Management is still a relatively new profession within hotel operations and as such, it continues to evolve. One significant trend in this area is a shift away from using revenue as the foundation to generate key performance indicators (KPIs) and to instead place the emphasis on profit. Traditionally, revenue managers have relied on total revenue per available room (TrevPAR) and revenue per available room (RevPAR) as the basis of their KPIs. Now, some revenue managers are using gross operating profit per available room (GOPPAR) as their primary KPI. This puts profit at the center of revenue management strategy, and managers are increasingly searching for new ways to increase the profitability of their hotels. Return on Investment is the objective of any hotel investment, so it is only logical that profitability and ROI will be emphasized going forward. Another trend is an expanded focus on direct hotel bookings. Revenue managers know that one way to increase profitability is to steer guests away from online travel agencies (OTAs) and book directly with the hotel. This tactic also reinforces brand identity and loyalty, and encourages repeat business. In addition, it provides a valuable platform to market the hotel directly to the customer, and to upsell room upgrades or other services to them. Another trend for revenue managers involves automation in their software programs. Revenue management systems with automation are far more desirable than those without it. Automating data entry and logistics increases efficiency, allowing managers to spend more time on formulating strategy. As a bonus, an automated system helps with aggregating and interpreting data. The October issue of the Hotel Business Review will address these developments and document how some leading hotels are executing their revenue management strategies.