By Terry Trucco
Talk about savvy product placement. One of the first sights on screen during the much balleyhooed season finale of “Glee” this week was the lobby of the Intercontinental New York Times Square, the 36-story glass skyscraper that opened last July. A polished hotel staffer, uniformed in a navy blue blazer, smiles as Will Schuester (Matthew Morrison), the Lima, Ohio high school glee club advisor, checks in and says, “Welcome to the Intercontinental New York Times Square,” just in case viewers don’t recognize the hotel on their screen.
And just like that, one of New York’s newest hotels moves a step closer to hospitality’s big guys for whom on-screen appearances are like breathing, an august group that includes the Waldorf=Astoria, The Plaza and The Roosevelt.
An explainer if you’re not a Gleek (we took a crash course). The finale
follows the William McKinley High School glee club to New York where it competes in the Nationals, a cutthroat high school show choir competition. Among the Intercon’s big moments are shots of the kids in the hotel’s modern, sleeked down rooms, one for the boys and one for the girls (the pillow fight looked fun), and a shot of two kids trying to score a drink at the bar before Mr. Schuester removes them. The takeaway: the InterCon’s rooms look generic but inviting and large by New York standards; not many hotels could fit two beds, several rollaways, a sofa and six teenagers in one room.
How did the new kid on the block, albeit hardly an unknown brand, make it onto the big screen before its first birthday? Apparently the Intercontinental’s Times Square location helped. No doubt those big rooms did, too. The cast and crew also stayed at the hotel during filming.
The 611-room hotel, which perches above a popular branch of Shake Shack, celebrated its TV appearance with a low-key party in the lounge of CaVa, Todd English’s stylish brasserie just off the lobby. As a large flat-screen TV broadcast the show, guests received yellow souvenir T-shirts (“I got Gleeked at InterCon NY), sipped $14 alcoholic and $7 non-alcoholic slushies, a Gleek signature, and nibbled stylish $5 small plate offerings (asparagus frites, baba ganoush, Provencial flatbread) that had more to do with CaVa’s skilled kitchen than the show. Fortunately, guests refrained from singing along with cast members, thanks, perhaps to the alcoholic slushies which, while refreshing, were not very strong.
Though the show is over for the season, the InterCon is offering a Gleekend package through the end of the year. With rates starting at $399 a night, two-night minimum, it includes a standard room, daily breakfast for two at CaVa, two Glee slushies, two Glee T-shirts, a map of the sights the Glee characters saw in New York and a framed photo of the cast shooting the episode at the hotel.