Untapped New York Insiders recently gained exclusive access to the roof of Hotel Belleclaire on a members-only tour where they got to learn about the building’s architect Emery Roth, find out what’s coming in the next round of renovations, and enjoy food and drinks from the newly opened hotel restaurant, Allure. See photos from the experience, and learn how you can join our next Insiders adventure, below! You can also watch the entire tour in our Insiders on-demand archive which contains more than 200 recorded webinars and livestreams.
Our tour began a few blocks from Hotel Belleclaire at another distinct Upper West Side building, The Saxony. Here, our Insiders met up with architect Emery Roth’s great-granddaughter Robyn Roth-Moise to learn about how these big apartment-hotel commissions skyrocketed the young architect’s career. While admiring the ornamentation outside The Saxony, the doorman became curious about what our group was up to. Once we explained, he excitedly welcomed us into the lobby to share a bit of his knowledge of the building and show us historic photos and sketches of the structure. It was a wonderful New York City moment and an unexpected perk of the tour!
Next, we stopped by The Myron Arms and Jerome Palace, twin Italian Renaissance-style apartment buildings on Broadway and 82nd Street and 83rd Streets. Here, Robyn revealed that the buildings were named for two of developer Sam Minskoff’s sons. Nearby, we got a glimpse of the apartment building where Emery, and later Robyn’s dad, Richard Roth, Jr. lived. Then it was onto the Belleclaire!
Hotel Belleclaire was opened in 1903 as an apartment hotel. Popular in the late 1800s and early 1900s, apartment hotels offered upper-middle-class families a respectable middle ground between apartment living and owning a home. Outside, we admired the Art Noveau and Secessionist-inspired decorative design. Robyn pointed out where the original entrance used to be Broadway and where it moved to on the 77th Street side during the 1920. The 1920s brought many changes to the hotel, including a renovation of the first-floor facade which was converted into glass-covered storefronts.
Hotel Belleclaire has undergone a massive renovation over the past decade. Though many changes have been made to update the spaces, there are a few original details that have been worked into the interior design such as the lobby’s hand-laid mosaic floor, a grand skylight, and original wood doors. Hotel Belleclaire obtained landmark status in 1987.
Inside the hotel, our group met General Manager, Robert Falco, who took us up to the top-floor conference room. There, Falco had laid out a display of historical images including portraits of Emery Roth, photographs of the architect’s buildings, and early sketches. The top floor will be part of the hotel’s next phase of renovation which entails transforming the conference space into a rooftop restaurant and bar.
Though it was a rainy day, Insiders braved the cold and wet to step outside onto the roof. From the top of the building, the group looked out over the Upper West Side to the Hudson River, looked up towards the building’s water tower (a rare sight since Roth typically hid the water towers on his buildings), and glanced down at the slate mansard roof, original lion head ornamentation, and skylight that hangs above Allure. Just below us was the gorgeous West End Collegiate Church, built in 1892. Through the clouds, we also caught a glimpse of other Roth designs in the distance like the Eldorado.
Up on the roof, Insiders got a close-up view of the circular platform where Hotel Belleclaire’s missing cupola once stood. This original decorative feature at the corner of the building was removed in the 1950s, though it is unclear exactly when or why. There are still metal remnants of the cupola’s support structure.
After taking in all of the sights from the roof, Falco brought Insiders into some of the hotel’s renovated suites. The hotel has 258 guest rooms and retains a few of its permanent residents from the days when it was an apartment building!
Though we got a little wet, it was well worth it to explore this historic, early Emery Roth design! Insiders got to warm up and socialize with some appetizers and cocktails inside Hote Belleclaire’s brand-new restaurant and bar, Allure. Justin highly recommends the Smoked Old Fashioned!
Use code JOINUS to get your first month free when you become an Untapped New York Insider! As an Insider, you gain access to member-exclusive in-person and online experiences, plus access to our archive of over 200 recorded webinars and livestreams, including the tour of Hotel Belleclaire!
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