The Biltmore Hotel Is No More, But Its Sisters Live On
We devote more than enough ink to Manhattan Hotels, but what about the days when hotels first started tuning their cool? Thanks to an old tourist brochure from 1953, we're exploring back in the day versus today, for NYC hotels.
Back in the day:
Step off your train at Grand Central Station and right into your bed at The Biltmore Hotel, since it's adjoining the station along with its sister hotels The Commodore and The Roosevelt. But before calling it a night (room rates of $6-$8), how about unpacking your swimsuit for a dip in one of the first indoor swimming pools, or your smoking jacket for a highball and cigar at the Men's Bar. Relax before tomorrow's big meeting with a lobster and a pretty girl in the Madison Room; the Biltmore has it all.
The Biltmore today...
Oh yea, this place is totally history. Although it was built along with Grand Central Station and even opened on the same day in 1913, it was gutted in 1981 to become the Bank of America Plaza building, while GCT still reigns supreme. However, Wikipedia says that the hotel's piano and lobby clock (mentioned in books by F. Scott Fitzgerald and J.D. Salinger) are still down there in the Bank building's lobby.
The sister hotels fared better, with The Commodore becoming the current Grand Hyatt and The Roosevelt keeping its own name and history, albeit with a newly hopping rooftop bar.
[Scan from March 1953 edition of "The New York Visitor"]