The Times Square EDITION closes permanently, Google’s new feature highlights hotels for COVID-19 first responders, and David Rockwell devises a restaurant kit of parts for socially distanced dining. All this and more in this week’s Five on Friday.
The Times Square EDITION to close this summer
After a much-hyped debut last year, Ian Schrager’s Times Square EDITION hotel will permanently shut its doors in August, reports Bloomberg. Operator Marriott International gave advance notice to employees and government officials this week. The possibility of closing the property had been in discussions since March, when COVID-19 started affecting tourism in the U.S., resulting in a cash shortfall for the hotel’s developer Maefield Development. The pandemic only exacerbated the hotel’s ongoing financial issues.
New York restaurants to spill out onto the streets
Though Grub Street reports that certain areas of California, Connecticut, and Rhode Island are allowing more outdoor seating at restaurants with well-distanced tables, New York has yet to make any such announcement. David Rockwell, however, has drawn up an appetizing proposal. According to Dezeen, the designer has created a kit of parts that allows for socially distanced dining. Included among the kit is a dining booth, sanitation station, wood decking panels to cover pavements, and plant-covered street fencing.
Hygiene will be a top priority when hotels reopen
With seven out of 10 hotel rooms in the U.S. currently empty, major brands are adapting to the rapidly changing reality and cleanliness will be at the forefront, according to NPR. Beyond deep-cleaning techniques, technology, like a digital key via smartphones, will allow for contactless interactions. At Hilton, which has partnered with Lysol and the Mayo Clinic on its CleanStay campaign, the visibility of cleaning will become more important than ever. Meantime, Marriott International will provide extra disinfectant for 12 major identified touchpoints, from door handles to thermostats.
Google introduces new feature guiding first responders to hotels
As hotel rooms sit empty, many properties are offering first responders and essential workers free or discounted rooms. To help identify these spaces, Google is introducing a new feature to Google Maps that shows which hotels have special rates and polices for frontline workers dealing with COVID-19, writes VentureBeat. For the initiative, Google is partnering with organizations and companies like American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) and Hilton to get a direct funnel for hotels offering special accommodations. Although the program is initially limited to the U.S. and UK, Google said it plans to expand it globally soon.
Finalists announced for the 16th annual HD Awards
Finally, some good news! We’ve announced our project and product finalists for the 16th annual HD Awards. This year above all else provides us the opportunity to honor the amazing work achieved by the people who continue to make hospitality great—from designers, architects, owners, developers, operators, and manufacturing partners. See the full list of finalists on our website, and join us on September 14th at Cipriani 25 Broadway in New York. Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, there has never been a more important time to celebrate the industry. #hospitalitystrong