Basquiat paintings alone do not a hip hotel make.
The Gramercy Park Hotel’s well-documented troubles came to light last May when Crain’s reported that developer Aby Rosen and hotelier Ian Schrager were having trouble repaying a $140 million loan they’d taken out for the celebrity-magnet’s initial development. In December, it was reported that Mr. Schrager would be unloading his stake in the Gramercy Park Hotel to Mr. Rosen for around $20 million, and that famed Manhattan restaurateur Danny Meyer–who already operated the G.P.H.’s critically acclaimed Italian dining destination Maialino–would be expanding his role in reworking the hotel’s food and beverage operation.
Around the same time, Nur Kahn–who in his capacity of “artistic director” established the hotel’s Rose Bar as one of the most exclusive and celebrity-packed nightlife destinations in town–also left after four years. Many nightlife writers predicted his departure would herald the end of Rose Bar’s nightlife domination.
Mr. Rosen admitted to The New York Times that the split with Mr. Schrager, while amicable, was due in no small part to a battle of clashing egos. Mr. Rosen also made news for a reported dispute with Peter Brant, a partner in the Seagram Building, who is now said to be selling his share.
Now, the Transom hears that a new battle has flared, this time with Mr. Meyer.
We’re told that in light of Rose Bar’s failure to bring in star-studded crowds in a post-Kahn era, Mr. Rosen has pushed Mr. Meyer to court celebrities at the restaurant as a way of raising the hotel’s diminished profile. Mr. Meyer’s restaurants are famously hospitality-driven and consistently hailed for their democratic accessibility in a city where a 7 p.m. reservation often seems harder to obtain than a winning lottery ticket.
Transom hears that one result of the dispute has been Maialino cocktail maestro and Gramercy Terrace general manager Kevin Denton’s taking a diminishing role in G.P.H. operations to go work on other projects of Mr. Meyer’s. Representitives for Mr. Rosen and Mr. Denton, the former head bartender at Tabla, did not return requests for quote on the matter. A representitive for Mr. Meyer had no comment.