The New York Avalon Keeps Focus on Business

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NEW YORK -- The Avalon, at 16 E. 32nd St. here, bills itself as the only business-oriented hotel between 34th Street and SoHo.

Opened April 18 after a $20 million renovation, the 12-story hotel had been an office building that was torn down to the framework and rebuilt.

General manager Daniel Melendez said the 20-room, 80-suite hotel was the city's first former office building to receive a permit from the city for conversion into a hotel.

"Our goal was to bring to the neighborhood what it never had before: a luxurious boutique property, reminiscent of the upper East Side, in a vital business district that's close to midtown but built on a more human scale," he said.

Melendez said the hotel will target clients visiting the financial, high-tech, advertising and fashion businesses in the Gramercy Park, lower Madison, Flatiron and Murray Hill areas.

The Avalon's lobby is decked out with columns and floors of solid red, green and beige Italian marble; walls are adorned with mahogany paneling, pilasters and crown moldings.

The lobby includes a paneled library with a working fireplace, where complimentary breakfast and afternoon tea are served. Off the lobby, a boardroom-style meeting room can accommodate up to 10 people.

The Avalon's 20 rooms and 80 suites average more than 450 square feet.

"Because the building was a former office building, there was a large block of space in the middle of the building, which allowed for very large guest rooms," said Jorge Portero, the interior designer.

The guest rooms, decorated in earth-tone palettes, were designed to be comfortable places to work as well as relax.

The rooms include a sofa, a desk with outlets for computer and fax hook-ups, a desk lamp with a dimmer switch and an ergonomic chair.

The rooms are equipped with three two-line telephones with data ports and conference and speaker capability, and guests receive a private telephone number with voice mail.

Rooms feature safes, an iron and ironing board, an oversized umbrella, a coffeemaker and a stocked minibar.

Ten Executive Suites feature oak-floor foyers and dressing areas, Jacuzzi tubs, double sinks, separate showers, bidets, in-room fax machines, Bose Wave radios and cordless phones.

Guest freebies include breakfast, a daily newspaper, afternoon tea and use of the business center and a nearby gym.

Opening this summer is a 75-seat restaurant and bar serving lunch and dinner, headed by Larry Forgione, chef and proprietor of Manhattan's An American Place. A spa is slated to open in late 1998.

Room rates range from $195 for a Superior Room to $600 for an Executive Suite.

The Avalon

Phone: (212) 299-7000 or (888) 442-8256

Fax: (212) 299-7001

Web: www.theavalonny.com

E-mail: [email protected]

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