While a slow and financially painful recovery from Covid-19 has been forecast for the hospitality industry, the new owner of what was The Time Nyack Hotel has rebranded it using a boutique concept from the Hyatt chain and anticipates a bright future.
The American Hotel & Lodging Association reported that hotels were one of the first industries affected by the pandemic after travel ground to a virtual halt and it will be one of the last to recover. Its recent report characterizes the impact of Covid-19 on the travel industry as being nine times that of the economic shock after the terrorist attacks of 9/11.
It said following the low of 14.5% room occupancy in April of 2020, 2021 is expected to see occupancies rising to 52.5%. Business travel is not expected to return to 2019 levels until 2024, with group and meeting demand down by 85% from prepandemic levels through next month and increasing in May to the point that they’re only down by 75%.
An entity associated with Juniper Capital Partners had acquired The Time Hotel in a sale approved last year by U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Robert Drain, whose courtroom is in White Plains. Drain accepted the group’s $18.5 million bid for the property.
In addition to adopting the name Hotel Nyack for the 133-room facility at 400 High Ave., Juniper Capital appointed Real Hospitality Group Inc. to oversee operations. In addition, it has joined the Hyatt Joie de Vivre boutique hotels collection. While Hyatt has its name on approximately 500 hotels around the world, it has only 13 Joie de Vivre hotels in eight U.S. cities. Hyatt uses the French phrase to position Joie de Vivre properties as places to stay and “celebrate the joy of life.”
“When we bought it we were looking at how we could stabilize it and get it back on track,” Justin Bain, director of brand management for Juniper Capital told the Business Journal about the property.
“We think the hospitality industry is going to come roaring back and we think there’s no better time than now to reposition it, put a world-class brand like Hyatt on it that will bring us great brand leadership.”
When the rebranding was announced, village and county officials were quick to agree with the notion that the pandemic shouldn’t be a deterrent to moving ahead with efforts to make the property more attractive and profitable.
“Having a modern, well-operated and updated hotel so close to downtown Nyack is essential to the economic prosperity and continued revitalization of the village,” Nyack Mayor Don Hammond said.
Rockland County Executive Ed Day recalled that the building had been an industrial site before being converted into a hotel.
“It’s been exciting to see the property’s transformation from factory warehouse to chic hotel to the just-announced update,” Day said. “Hotel Nyack’s evolution reflects the growing energy of the village of Nyack itself and the entrepreneurial spirit of Rockland County as a whole.”
The hotel features an outdoor pool, fitness center, meeting space, ballroom, restaurant, free parking and invites visitors to bring their pets for an extra fee.
Bain said that with New York state restrictions on catering facilities and group gatherings being eased new business is building.
“We actually have been getting requests from a lot of groups during the whole pandemic, just smaller groups, 10 or 15-person groups that wanted to come in for dinner in a private dining room or private space. That was challenging to do. We couldn’t accommodate all of them. You have pent-up demand. There’s an opportunity now, not just with our hotel but with all venues and hospitality space,” Bain said.
“There have been no weddings, there have been no corporate gatherings, there’s been nothing, so the industry has been turned on its head but we’ve slogged through it and I think that we’re going to come out on top. We’re going to push forward and do what we can and optimize where we can and fit groups in wherever we can as the government allows us to do so.”
Bain said the Hudson Valley offers great opportunities for people looking to get out of their apartments and houses for recreation.
“Think about New York City. You have all these people that have been locked inside of their apartments and condos and such inside the city and they just want to get out into nature, they want to get outside the city, and I think the Hudson Valley, with Nyack being just over the bridge, is a great opportunity,” Bain said. “Bringing Hyatt on board is going to give us a big leg up.”
He pointed out that Hotel Nyack is participating in the World of Hyatt loyalty program.
“We’ll continue to leverage Hyatt promotions in order to push the property as far as we can and then we’ll look to do some of our own programming and events,” Bain said.
“I think that the industry is not going away. Hospitality is going to be around forever and the brands that continue to innovate and do things in smart ways will thrive.”