By Terry Trucco
For years the lobby at the Belleclaire bothered me.
The Belleclaire was the W of its day, as cool as they came in 1903. The hotel occupies a spooky/gorgeous brick and limestone pile architect Emory Roth appears to have dreamed up in a hallucinogenic haze. Carved Roman goddesses gaze down from the balconies. Mark Twain and Maxim Gorky signed the guestbook.
But times change. The hotel lost its cool, spiraled downward into the ranks of Single Room Occupancy and bubbled up as a budget hostel. In 2008 came a clean sweep. The Belleclaire refurbished its rooms (wood floors, red tufted leather headboards, new bathrooms), opened a fitness center and raised its aspirations (the rates went up, too). (more…)