NEW YORK CITY-Taj Hotels Resorts & Palaces revealed that the Pierre, New York’s landmark hotel on Central Park and Fifth Avenue, will enter the second phase of renovation beginning Jan. 1. Estimated overall cost associated with the renovation program is $100 million.

All 200 guest accommodations, including the 11 Grand Suites with apartment-like quarters and private terraces, 41 suites and all guest rooms will be upgraded and renovated, as will the corridors, public areas, Cafe Pierre and the bar. Overseeing the design is James Park Associates, whose past projects include the Taj Lake Palace Hotel, Udaipur, India; Taj Exotica Resort & Spa, Maldives; Taj Exotica Resort, Mauritius, as well as the redesign of Singapore Airlines’ first-class cabins.

The first phase of the Pierre renovation was completed in January 2007 by Alexandra Champalimaud & Associates, and included the Grand Ballroom, the Cotillion Room and foyer. All banquet spaces on the second floor will remain open, fully staffed and operative throughout the second phase of renovation, and will remain accessible by a private entrance on 61st Street. Advance bookings for 2008 are very strong, according to general manager Heiko Kuenstle, with weddings, nonprofit charity events, Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, corporate events, holiday parties and financial conferences planned.

While banquet business continues as usual, the hotel will cease taking guest reservations Dec. 30 and the guest rooms and restaurant will not be open as of noon, Dec. 31. The Pierre will fully reopen in early 2009 and will begin taking reservations for the newly renovated accommodations in late 2008.

“As stewards of this hospitality icon, our goal is to retain the classic ambiance of the Pierre while adding a fresh look of 21st century elegance and technology that will appropriately transform the property,” notes Kuenstle in a prepared release. “We know our loyal guests will be pleased and we look forward to welcoming them back.

Kuenstle adds that “Taj has a 105-year history of luxury service and is dedicated to restoring this hotel to perfection. Sensitivity and taste are hallmarks of how Taj refreshes a classic, as can be seen in their acclaimed renovations of authentic Indian palaces.”

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