With most hotels in New York currently so crowded with resident refugees that they’re turning down pre-booked marathoners from out of state, it’d be hard for even Mayor Bloomberg to blame you for checking out the listings on AirBandB.com. But the year-old Midtown hotel Sanctuary is bending over backward to provide accomdations, according to owner Brandon Freid, going so far as to keep all the employees sleeping in the 111-unit building in order to provide 24-hour service.
“I’ve had every friend I’ve ever known since childhood calling me up for rooms,” Mr. Freid told The Observer by phone from his 47th Street location. “I’m staying here, because I live downtown without electricity. I have my family staying here. My staff has been amazing–most have been staying at the hotel so we can keep running around the clock.”
In addition, Sanctuary called up Fox News, NBC and several other major outlets to generously offered to house their employees at a corporate rate. “We’ve offered them reduced prices for food and beverages, late checkout times, and full access to our services like wifi and the gym.”
When asked if keeping employees on the premises 24 hours a day to provide these around-the-clock services has impacted the already booked-to-capacity hotel’s ability to offer sanctuary to new guests, Mr. Freid acquiesced: “We have had a little shortage in space, but it helps to keep our people in the hotel.”
“Plus, we’ve had staff members sleep three, four people to a room with one or two beds.” This way, Sanctuary (which never lost power during Hurricane Sandy) has been able to provide 24-hour food service to guests at a time when “most restaurants are closed.”
Some of the staff are so eager to help out that they “have a hard time leaving,” said the hotelier.
“It feels weird for them to go home after spending the last couple days here.”
As for the New York marathoners vs. city residents, Mr. Freid said the issue hasn’t come to his attention. “Our first priority is people who are stranded and the people coming to help out,” he said. In addition to all the extra persk, Sanctuary hasn’t been charging for cancelations, though, as he noted, “most people are just rebooking for a week later.”
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