Volume 23, Number 6 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | June 18 - 24, 2010
Downtown Express photo by John Bayles
Hotel’s view in the eye of the beholder
BY John Bayles
The relentless noise from the construction next door is somehow inaudible, as long as one stays in their room. But should one desire the sought after bird’s eye view of Ground Zero and venture up to the north terrace, there are no double-paned windows to deafen the pounding of jackhammers that occurs virtually 24-7 at the site.
The World Center Hotel, located at 144 Washington Street has been open, softly, since the beginning of the year; the hotel had its hard opening last week and is the first new hotel to be built since 9/11.
“We wanted to do the grand opening when we actually had the club opened so people could get the full view,” said Cheryl Palmer, the hotel’s corporate vice president.
The View of the World Terrace Club occupies the hotel’s 20th floor. It’s a private club and restaurant with exclusive access for hotel guests and private members. Since the hotel opened, some have been critical of the unfettered view it offers of Ground Zero and Palmer understands.
“It’s an emotional area – and the emotions run the gamut of it being very sad and disturbing for some folks and then for others, it can be inspiring when you think of the rebirth,” said Palmer. She added that standing on the terrace offers a chance for reflection.
But she also said the hotel has been very transparent about both its vicinity to the site and the view. “The rebuilding is palpable in Lower Manhattan, and the World Center Hotel offers an accessible view of the new World Trade Center for those individuals who want to experience the rebuilding up close,” said Palmer in a the press release announcing the hotel’s grand opening. “We believe people who stay in the hotel are making a personal choice,” she added.
The hotel also has a south terrace that offers another view of the city, particularly of the Hudson River and Battery Park City and that is considerably less noisy.
Views aside, the hotel is a state-of-the-art building geared for both the business traveler and the weekend visitors, with 169 rooms ranging from single studios to two room suites.
“It’s balanced between business and leisure,” said Palmer.
Rooms have alarm clocks with iPod docking stations, a touch screen climate control system, and floor to ceiling windows. Other amenities include two meeting rooms, automatic room occupancy sensors, and complimentary chilled bottled water stations on every floor.
The hotel has built partnerships with both the 9/11 Memorial Museum and the South Street Seaport, as well as the Downtown Alliance. Palmer said she hopes to offer not only a view of the rebuilding of Lower Manhattan but to be part of the area’s rebirth as well.