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Garden City Hotel to get makeover for 'simplicity and elegance'

The opulent Garden City Hotel will get a

The opulent Garden City Hotel will get a gradual makeover with "simplicity and elegance," said Morris Moinian of Fortuna Realty Group of Manhattan, who leads the group acquiring the 280-room, nine-story property. Photo Credit: Jennifer S. Altman, 2009

The landmark Garden City Hotel will get a new look and a new full-service spa in 2014, and it will remain open throughout its gradual renovation, its soon-to-be owner said Wednesday.

The opulent hotel's new design will be marked by "simplicity and elegance," said Morris Moinian of Fortuna Realty Group of Manhattan, who leads the group acquiring the 280-room, nine-story property from the Nelkin family.

The guest rooms and lobby will be remade, but the ballroom is already in "impeccable shape," he said.

The aim is to compete with "the InterContinentals, Four Seasons or Ritz-Carltons of the world," Moinian said.

Marcello Pozzi of MLLO Design in Los Angeles, who was designer and architect for Mr. C Hotel in Beverly Hills, will redesign and renovate the hotel, along with furniture-maker Tedeschi USA, an Italian firm with offices in Manhattan, Moinian said.

The work will proceed floor by floor so there will be no disruption to guests, he said. The renovation is expected to take about 10 months.

It can be complicated to keep a hotel running during a renovation, but most choose to do so, said Steve Rushmore, president of HVS, hotel consultants in Mineola: "This way you keep your employees employed and the hotel operating."

Rushmore said when he visited the hotel about five to eight years ago, the guest rooms had heavy draperies and bedspreads and a 1970s or '80s look.

"They certainly needed a sprucing up," he said.

Even so, he said it remains "an icon for Long Island."

Some rooms were partially renovated six years ago, Moinian said.

The property will keep its name, despite earlier speculation that it might take on the "flag" of a hotel chain, Moinian said. "We have grown to learn that the name Garden City Hotel has a tremendous following," he said.

Moinian said his group is in contract to buy the hotel and he expects to close within four to five weeks. The purchase price hasn't been disclosed.

The luxurious hotel's guests have included presidents, foreign heads of state and world-famous entertainers.

The original building debuted in 1874. It was rebuilt twice by renowned architect Stanford White, and the Nelkin family did a renovation of their own. A hot spot during the Roaring '20s, it was Charles Lindbergh's hotel of choice the night before his trans-Atlantic flight in 1927.

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