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Nobody Asked Me, But... No. 87

Expand the Javits Center Cost-Free; Is This the Science or Art of Brand Management?
Hotel Histories; Quote of the Month

By Stanley Turkel, CMHS, ISHC
April 2, 2012

1.  Expand the Javits Center Cost-Free
Was there ever a worse idea than Governor Andrew Cuomo's proposal to demolish the Javits Center and to build the country's largest convention center in Ozone Park, Queens? It would be disaster for the following reasons:
  1. The Javits Center's location in Manhattan attracts visitors because of the proximity of museums, theaters, sight-seeing, restaurants, shopping opportunities, etc.
  2. In 2011, a record-breaking 50.5 million visitors boosted New York's occupancy to 85% with a record-breaking 27.1 million room nights.
  3. It is possible to expand the Javits Center on the adjacent streets (38th to 40th streets, 11th to 12th Avenues) via the sale of the air rights over the Javits Center. This expansion wouldbe cost-free!
2.  Is This the Science or Art of Brand Management?
With the addition of the following eighteen new brands, I have now reported on more than 108 new hotel announcements in the past 24 months:
  • Even Hotels by IHG
  • Hualuxe by IHG
  • Hotel Mazarin, New Orleans Hotel Collection
  • Kerry Hotels by Shangri-La International
  • Zinc Journey by Zinc/In Vision
  • OZO by ONYX Hospitality Group
  • Ciena Hotels by HotelWorks Development
  • OASIA by For East Hospitality
  • AVANI by Minor Hotels
  • YITEL by Homes Inns & Hotels
  • SERENA HOTELS by Aga Khan Fund
  • Hotel BPM in Brooklyn
  • Vincci Bit Hotel in Barcelona
  • Art of Animation Hotel by Disney
  • InterCityHotel by Stiegenberger Hotels and Resorts
  • Next Hotels and Resorts by Silver Needle Hospitality
3.  Hotel Histories: The Hilton President Hotel, Kansas City, Mo.
The President Hotel in Kansas City, Mo. opened on February 5, 1926 with approximately 450 guest rooms and 19 public rooms.  In 1928, it served as the headquarters for the Republican National Convention which nominated Herbert Hoover for president of the United States.  The hotel was constructed during a boom in Kansas City that brought many other great buildings including the Mainstreet Theater, Midland Theater and Kansas City Power and Light Light Building.  The hotel's Drum Room Lounge attracted outstanding entertainers, such as Benny Goodman, Marilyn Maye, Patsy Cline, Glenn Miller, the Marx Brothers and Frank Sinatra.  The first General Manager was New York native H. Edgar Gregory.
The President was designed by architects Shepard & Wiser.  The design of the building is replete with terra cotta and stone ornamentation forming gables, medallions, quatrefoils, string courses and friezes across the facade.  These elaborate embellishments testify to an opulent period in Kansas City's history.  The hotel was designed to incorporate the most modern of conveniences. 

Each room had combo shower and tub, circulating ice water and softened water for bathing.  Rooms were equipped with electric fans and valet doors (servidors?).  All the room furniture was made from walnut.  The massive columns in the lobby are made up of Kasota marble and the floors are all original Tennessee marble.  The President was a social hub-during the twenties and thirties as it offered beautifully decorated lounges, public spaces and an elegant Roof Garden for its guests.
The owners, Westport Hotel Operating Company, employed an art director, a sculptor and a master decorator to provide the hotel's interior design.  When the President opened, it had a unique "radiocasting" public address system and an ice manufacturing plant that could produce 8000 pounds of ice per day.  In 1941, a new cocktail lounge, called the Drum Room opened. Designed by the architects Neville and Sharp, it featured a 280 square-foot mural with South Sea Island motifs by the famous German-American artist and interior designer Winold Reiss.  In 1924, Reiss was commissioned by the magazine Survey Graphic to represent the Harlem Renaissance in a series of illustrations.  He did portraits of Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston as well as drawings of Harlem schoolteachers, children and other residents.  Reiss also decorated Rumpelmayers Restaurant in the St. Moritz Hotel in Manhattan and the Colorama Ballroom in the St. George Hotel in Brooklyn (the largest hotel in the world in 1920 with 2623 rooms).
The President was the headquarters hotel in Kansas City for Charles Lindbergh during his goodwill tour of America.  He spoke and hosted a dinner in the stunning Congress Ballroom on the 12th floor.
The hotel was closed and stood vacant from 1980 until 2005.  After an expenditure of $45 million, Kansas City developer Ron Jury reopened the President with 213 rooms with great sensibility for its history and with modern amenities.  The President is now operated as a Hilton franchise.
The General Manger is Philip Strnad who is passionate in his devotion to the Hilton President.   He reports a couple of ironies:  "My parents spent their honeymoon in this very hotel around 1950.  My birthday is on February 5th, the same as the opening of the hotel."
When you visit Kansas City, stay at the President Hotel and ask GM Strnad to take you on a guided tour of this great restored hotel which earned the AAA Four Diamond designation in 2010, 2011 and 2012.
Quote of the Month
"To say that New York came up to its advance billing would be the baldest of understatements.  Being there was like being in heaven without going to all the bother and expense of dying."
                                                                                                            P.G. Wodehouse
Please note the following reviews of my new book,  "Built to Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels in New York"
*"passionate and informative"
The New York Times
*"It's a terrific book"
Fred Schwartz, President, AAHOA
*"You have done an amazing job... your research into the history.... of these properties embellishes the topic immensely"
Stephen Rushmore, President, HVS International
*"I must say here that it has been a sincere privilege to review "Built to Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels in New York"... I found it a fascinating  read and it should be for anyone interested in history, building design and hospitality..."
John Hogan, CHE, CHA, CMHS, Ph.D. 

To order the book, visit


Stanley Turkel, MHS, ISHC

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Also See: Nobody Asked me, But...No. 86; Choice’s Settlement with AAHOA; Don’t Demolish the Javits Center; NYC & Company’s Successful Marketing Strategy; Quote of the Month / Stanley Turkel / March 2012

Nobody Asked me, But...No. 85; Praise for President Obama's Travel & Tourism Strategy; Proposed Queens Convention Center is a Poor Idea; Hotel Rooms and Floors Created Just For Women; Quote of the Month / Stanley Turkel / February 2012

Nobody Asked me, But...No. 84; EB-5 Visa For Immigrant Investors; The Pistilli Lecture; A NYC Hotel Bargain; 'Built To Last'; Quote of the Month / Stanley Turkel / January 2012

Nobody Asked me, But...No. 83; Congratulations To Lodging Hospitality Editor Ed Watkins; Did You Hear About 'Airbnb'?; A Sows Ears Becomes a Silk Purse; On The Verge; Quote of the Month; Give This Perfect Gift for The Holiday Season / Stanley Turkel / December 2011

Nobody Asked me, But...No. 81; AAHOA Strikes Back; Would You Believe Such a Study? Independent Franchisee Associations On The Rise; Quote of the Month / Stanley Turkel / October 2011

Nobody Asked me, But… No. 80; Impertinent Questions Still in Search of Pertinent Answers; Questions for 32,500 Franchised Hotel Owners; Quote of the Month / Stanley Turkel / September 2011

Nobody Asked me, But… No. 79; Relevant Brand Management?; Save the Belleview Biltmore Hotel; The Magical Americana of New York; Quote of the Month / Stanley Turkel / August 2011

Nobody Asked me, But… No. 78; AAHOA Chairman Hits a Home Run; Universal Franchisee Bill of Rights; HomeSpun; Quote of the Month / Stanley Turkel / July 2011

Nobody Asked me, But... No. 77: Public Relations Trumps Common Sense; Nobody Does It Better; Plaza Hotel’s Oak Room to Close; Pay Attention to State Franchise Laws; Quote of the Month / Stanley Turkel / June 2011

Nobody Asked me, But... No. 76: Empire State Building's 80th Anniversary and the Waldorf-Astoria; "Defying Time: 100+ Year-Old Hotels in New York"; Impertinent Question Seeking a Pertinent Answer; Wyndham Hotel Group Reports; Save the Belleview Biltmore Hotel; Quote of the Month / Stanley Turkel / May 2011

Nobody Asked me, But… No. 75: Blackstone Reportedly Prepping Hilton for Flotation; Things Are Seldom What They Seem, Skim Milk Masquerades As Cream; Quote of the Month; First Announcement / Stanley Turkel / April 2011

Nobody Asked me, But… No. 74: The Triumph of Public Relations; Helpful Hotels; Court Rules Holiday Inn Commits “Reprehensible Fraud”; Quote of the Month / March 2011

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 73: Impertinent Question Still Seeking a Pertinent Answer; The Fountain of Old Age; Quote of the Month / Stanley Turkel / February 2011

Impertinent Question In Search of a Pertinent Answer; Does The Industry Really Need Another Brand?; Hilton’s Hands Get Slapped in Starwood Settlement; China- Based Developers Buy U.S. Hotels; Quote of the Month / Stanley Turkel / January 2011

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 71 - Impertinent Questions Still Seeking Pertinent Answers; The Baseball Business…Where Next?; Quote of the Month / Stanley Turkel / December 2010

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 70 -John Q. Hammons, Impertinent Question, Quote of the Month / Stanley Turkel / November 2010

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 69 - Large Banks Creating Crisis For Hoteliers; Are Room Telephones Obsolete? / Stanley Turkel / October 2010

Impertinent Questions in Search of Pertinent Answers; The Best Franchise Website; Free Wi-Fi at Top of Amenity List / Stanley Turkel / September 2010

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 67 : Stanley Turkel's Review of Budget/Economy Hotels Following a Three Week Pennsylvania Road Odyssey / Stanley Turkel / August 2010

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 66 : Recognizing Three Hotel Industry Experts Whose Accomplishments Are Unique - Bjorn Hanson, Peter Greenberg and Richard Warnick / Stanley Turkel / July 2010

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 65: A Well-Deserved Compliment for Steve Rushmore; Impertinent Questions in Search of Pertinent Answers / Stanley Turkel / June 2010

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 64: Best Western Finally Makes a Move; Cuba, The Caribbean’s Hottest Destination / Stanley Turkel / May 2010

Nobody Asked Me, But - No. 63: Can Airlines Learn From Hotels?; Memo to Ian Schrager / Stanley Turkel / April 2010

Nobody Asked Me, But No. 62 / Do the Radisson Franchisees Agree with Carlson's billion-dollar Makeover Program? At Last: A Win-Win Victory for Tourism; Congratulations to the Harris Rosen Foundation / Stanley Turkel / March 2010

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