The Graduate Roosevelt Island hotel is expected to open in 2019. The boutique Graduate brand has hotels in locations where there’s a strong identification with a university, and the Roosevelt Island site will be located at the gateway to the Cornell Tech complex, which is being built by Cornell University. The first phase of Cornell Tech is scheduled to open in September.
The Graduate Roosevelt Island hotel will be a new build with 196 rooms and will offer unobstructed views of the Manhattan skyline. There are no other hotels on the island.
The Graduate brand has hotels in six locations including Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Madison, Wisconsin, with a seventh opening soon in Berkeley, California. While the properties are not explicitly themed on local universities, they do incorporate references to them. Room key cards, for example, are designed like student identification cards. The Graduate in Oxford, Mississippi, home to the University of Mississippi, has famous Ole Miss grads like Eli Manning pictured on the key cards.
The hotel will include a restaurant, rooftop bar and meeting and event space. The decor will also reference Roosevelt Island history. Over the centuries, the island — once known as Welfare Island — has housed a prison and hospitals. Still standing is a now-abandoned smallpox hospital from the 1850s known as the Renwick Ruin.
Today the island is home to more than 11,000 people. It’s famous for its aerial tramway which crosses the East River, connecting it with Manhattan. The tram was the setting for a scene in the “Spider-Man” movie. The island is also connected to the rest of the city by subway and a bridge. The hotel and campus will be walking distance from the tram and subway.
Other Roosevelt Island attractions include Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park, designed by famed modernist architect Louis I. Kahn.
The main Cornell University campus is located in Ithaca, New York, about 230 miles from New York City.