New York City hotels are preparing guests for Hurricane Sandy by handing out safety information, distributing supplies and planning entertainment as their rooms are filled with stranded visitors and workers.
A New York City Police Department vehicle drives through a flooded area of the FDR Drive at 116th Street in New York. Photographer: Peter Foley/Bloomberg
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New York Marriott Marquis in Times Square asked guests to pull the blackout shades on windows, while the Four Seasons Hotel New York on East 57th Street handed out emergency bags with bottles of water and flashlights. The Four Seasons is sold out and the Marriott Marquis is almost full.
"At our big hotels, we've distributed a letter that is pretty specific and tells guests that when they're in their guest room to pull closed the blackout drapes," said Kathleen Duffy, spokeswoman for Marriott International Inc. (MAR)'s hotels in New York City. "The newsletter also tells guests what to do in case of a power outage, how the generators work and, first and foremost, to remain calm."
Hurricane Sandy, the largest tropical system recorded in the Atlantic, strengthened as it began making the transition to a superstorm that may push a wall of water ashore in the Northeast and lash the East with wind, rain and snow. Manhattan hotels are accommodating travelers along with employees of firms such as Morgan Stanley and UBS AG that are putting up some workers who are unable to commute.
Marriott is advising guests to stay off the streets, Duffy said. About 1,700 of the Marriott Marquis's 1,957 rooms were occupied on Sunday night, and management asked some housekeeping staff to sleep at the hotel to ensure service, she said.
"Ironically, the View restaurant is very, very busy," Duffy said of the revolving rooftop venue on the 47th and 48th floors of the hotel. "I think it's because all the smaller ones in Times Square won't be open."
The company closed the New York Marriott Downtown and the Ritz-Carlton New York in Battery Park through at least today following the mandatory evacuation of low-lying areas of New York City. The hotels' guests were relocated to nearby Marriott properties and The Ritz-Carlton, Central Park, Duffy said.
The staff of the Four Seasons Hotel New York held three meetings on Friday to discuss fulfilling supply requirements, keeping some workers overnight at the hotel to ensure service continuity and relocating guests who request rooms on lower floors, said Tiffani Cailor, the property's spokeswoman. The 52- story luxury hotel, which is sold out today, gave each guest a bag with two bottles of water and a flashlight, and is trying to keep customers entertained.