TW hotels editor Grant Flowers recently stayed at the Rihga
Royal New York. Here is his report:
NEW YORK -- Among the familiar names of New York's midtown hotel
market, the Rihga Royal New York stands out for being, well,
The 54-story hotel, owned and managed by Rihga Royal, an Osaka,
Japan-based company, is located on 54th Street between Sixth and
Seventh avenues, close to everything guests would need without the
hubbub associated with a Fifth Avenue or Times Square location.
As a result, the hotel is a popular haven for business travelers
or those just looking to conduct business. Two of the principals in
the America Online and Time Warner merger, in fact, hashed out some
of the details in one of the hotel's suites.
The property was built in 1990
and is therefore a relatively new arrival in the New York
All 500 rooms in the hotel are suites and are only
differentiated by placement within the building and some
For example, the hotel's Pinnacle Suites, which go for $625 a
night, include in the rate airport pickup, complimentary cell
phone, a videophone and personalized business cards.
The Rihga focuses on the business traveler, but the hotel also
derives some revenue from meetings.
The hotel has 11 meetings rooms on the mezzanine and top floors,
with capacities that range from 10 to 600 people. Among the
highlights are the Gershwin and Majestic penthouses, which are
located on the 53rd and 54th floors. The rooms have wraparound
views of Manhattan, Central Park and the Hudson.
Catering for the meetings spaces is provided by Halcyon, the
hotel's in-house restaurant.
As every room is a suite, there's plenty of space, but the hotel
uses the space efficiently.
Doors open into the subtly decorated sitting area, which is
furnished with a marble desk, a cushy couch and two chairs. A
television is situated above a mirrored bar (another is in the
The bedroom is separated from the sitting room by a pair of
doors. As one would expect from a hotel that charges $495 a night
for the privilege of sleeping, beds are excellent.
About the only question mark in the decor is the creamy pink
marble in the bathroom, which contributes to the room's darkness.
However, guests will be too stunned by the contraption on the
toilet to notice the marble. Said contraption can, once the array
of buttons is deciphered, warm the toilet to the desired
temperature or function as a bidet. It's fascinating.
While the Rihga's bread and butter is the business traveler, the
hotel also specializes in the entertainment industry. In fact,
during a stay, one of the contestants on the television show
"Survivor" was seen hobnobbing in front of the hotel.
No matter the market, the Rihga Royal stays plenty busy, even
during weekends, when much of the business crowd is replaced by
Frank Banks, general manager of the hotel, said the property has
averaged 88% occupancies on Saturdays over the past two years.
Besides the Rihga Royal New York, the Rihga Royal Hotel group
has 13 hotels in Japan, two in Malaysia and another in
However, Rihga's management contract at the New York hotel might
not last long.
Rihga has had to sell some assets to counter the effects of
economic problems at home in Asia. Consequently, Rihga is
attempting to sell the Rihga Royal, and while no news has been
announced as of mid-October, there are rumors that the hotel will
be bought by a real estate firm that intends to award the
management contract to Regent International.