AN INSTANT ARCHITECTURAL landmark when it opened 10 years ago, The Four Seasons Hotel New York provided a sense of urban theater that, with its 52-story tower and soaring post-modern design by famed architect I.M. Pei, still feels exciting a decade later. During my recent visit to see the hotel's meeting space and catch up on new developments, the hotel looked stylish as ever. The trademark Four Seasons service, friendly and attentive, can be felt throughout the hotel.
Long a favorite hotel of upscale individual business travelers and a popular watering hole and dining spot for local execs, The Four Seasons New York has also become popular with small corporate groups. There are nine function rooms that can accommodate up to 200 people for a reception and 160 for a sit-down dinner. The newest executive boardroom seats 12 in an elegant environment complete with outdoor terrace; each seat has an individual phone line so participants can link to their laptops. There is an adjoining meeting room; groups often choose to meet in one room and have lunch in the other.
By early fall, the hotel's spa will emerge from a $5 million redesign, overseen by architect Peter Marino, that features soft, neutral colors. On entering the spa, guests will encounter a floor-to-ceiling media wall with 15 screens of soothing images. The corridor leading to the treatment rooms will have an illuminated glass floor filled with sand to convey the sense of walking on the beach. Added soundproofing to the nine treatment rooms will enhance the sequestered atmosphere, and new services will integrate technological devices such as brain-wave sound instruments, and sound and light therapy. State-of-the-art equipment is also being added to the fitness center.
A softgoods re-do of the 368 oversized guest rooms — they average 600 square feet, huge for Manhattan — that includes adding flat-screen TVs to bedrooms and bathrooms will be completed by spring 2004. Also in progress is a renovation of the hotel's two presidential and one penthouse suite, designed by the legendary Pei and decorated by Marino with one-of-a-kind furnishings. The suites are expected to be finished in the first quarter of next year.
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