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Historic Murray Hill Hotel Opens to Public After $25M Renovation

By Mary Johnson | December 24, 2012 10:46am

MURRAY HILL — A landmarked hotel on East 39th Street in Murray Hill that was the first in the nation to outfit guest bathrooms with telephones, and to install color televisions, has reopened to the public after a $25 million renovation brought the property back into the modern day.

Half of that $25 million went toward updating The Tuscany’s dated heating and piping systems. The other half went toward the design and remodeling, which interior designer Jeff Lincoln said was intended to unite Old World glamor with sophisticated modernity.

“This is a pretty storied New York property,” Lincoln said of the structure.

It was built as an apartment building in 1928 by Henry Mandel, who was one of the most prominent developers in New York at the time, but it has been a hotel since the 1930s. The coffee shop in the hotel’s lobby was once one of Audrey Hepburn’s favorite haunts.

The goal of the just-finished overhaul, Lincoln said, was to "stop people and alert them that there’s something new."

The hotel, which was purchased in 2010 by the St. Giles Hotel Group, has been gut-renovated, from its lobby — which is now covered in a rare Tuscan travertine marble — to its 124 guest rooms, where oak and leather are accented by flashes of red.

“Red is our signature color,” said Adeline Colon, director of group and entertainment sales for the St. Giles Hotel Group.

“There was never a theme to The Tuscany,” Colon added. “So what we’re trying to do is bring back that European feeling to the name.”

The hotel’s 17th-floor penthouse is still under construction, but when it is completed in early 2013, it will feature a wraparound terrace that offers unobstructed views of the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building.

The hotel is still looking for a restaurant to fill some of its ground-floor space, but in the meantime, it will offer guests 24-hour room service, in addition to free Molton Brown products in each room, free wifi and, true to its cutting-edge roots, a 46-inch color, high-definition television in each room.

Rates for the hotel, at 120 E. 39th St., start at $269 per night, but hotel representatives said that is a special offer and that rates will increase after the offer ends.