The Staten Island Hotel


Photos courtesy of  The Staten Island Hotel.

Text: Copyright 2002 All Rights Reserved.

Hotel gets new lease on life

A $5M renovation for the Staten Island Hotel is complete

Sunday, October 13, 2002




The NASA official had rave reviews for the shower he took one recent morning at the Staten Island Hotel.

"I've stayed in major hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts in 49 of the 50 states, and my shower this morning was the best I've ever taken," declared Glenn W. Wright, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's director of small business development programs. Wright was at the newly refurbished Graniteville hotel to teach minority and women business owners how to sell their products and services to the space agency.

The showers and everything else at the hotel, a former Holiday Inn, are part of a $5 million renovation that began in 1994, and is now nearly completed, noted Stanley Friedman, 66, the general manager.


Room with King Size Bed.

All 187 rooms on nine floors have been refurbished, including two deluxe suites on the top floor, each of which contains a living room, dining room, choice of one or two bedrooms, a small bathroom and a master bath with a giant Jacuzzi.

"'Wow' is usually the comment I hear from people who haven't been here for a while," Friedman said.


Room with Double Beds.



Alma, in the Lobby.


Visitors pass through wide automatic double doors of the new glass entrance, an extension on the hotel's original front facade. While the extension narrowed the width of the driveway running along the front of the hotel, there's still room for two lanes of vehicles, plus a row of head-in parked cars.

Inside, the new lobby's reception area is brightened with beige ceramic tile, replacing the old maroon carpeting with a sleek new look.

One of the brightest renovation ideas was to remove the outdoor swimming pool, Friedman said. "Nobody ever used it because it was useless - completely covered by shade from 2 p.m. on," he complained.

Now the formerly useless space is a 40-by-100-foot long terrace off the new banquet hall. "We plan to enclose the terrace next year for year-round, all-weather use," Friedman said.

On the lower level, there is an equally large banquet room and kitchen, as well as a fitness-equipment room.


The Restaurant.


The restaurant, right off the lobby, is called Stanley's, named for Friedman, who's managed the hotel ever since an investor-friend, T. Gene Prescott, took Friedman's advice to take over the former Holiday Inn.

"I found this hotel in 1993," said Friedman.

The 10-story structure (nine floors in addition to the lobby level) had been in receivership for a year when it was purchased by Prescott, a principal owner of the Florida-based Seaway Group - which manages the Island hotel and four Florida hotels - and George Gellert, head of Atalanta Corp., a major importer of food from around the world, based in Elizabeth, N.J. purchased in 1994.  


Friedman's formula for success: "You have to earn the trust of the community and of the movers and shakers of Staten Island. I'm proud to say I believe we have done that with our contribution to the community," in projects that include donating hotel rooms and meals for three months to victims of the war in Sierra Leone, when they were on the Island to receive surgery and prosthetics.

In addition, for years, the hotel has donated free meeting space for the Staten Island Civic Association, and the 122 Precinct's Community Council.

Business groups meeting there weekly include the Bucks Business Network and the Staten Island Kiwanis Club.

Last Thursday, 38 cyclists from Holland, who had come to New York to donate money for World Trade Center victims, stayed free, thanks to the generosity of the hotel and a community organization.  

The Restaurant Lounge.

"The three most important things to be successful on Staten Island are community, community, community," Friedman says. "If you don't give back, there's nothing to get."

And having an upscale hotel helps, too.  

"Now that we have undertaken the elaborate and expensive renovations, anybody can recommend us without hesitation," he said proudly.


Publisher's note: Click here for Lee Shake's review of the Hotel.


Currently, he's looking forward to finishing the hotel project - refurbishing the two elevators and enclosing the outdoor terrace for year-round use - and for instilling his management team motto: "A customer is not an interruption to your business. It is your business."

The Banquet Room.