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Bronx on the Brink of a Hotel Revolution?

by Jeff Coltin
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Jeff Coltin, WFUV News

The Opera House Hotel's opened to rave reviews, but will more hotels follow in the "forgotten borough?"

Business has been good for the Bronx's latest hotel.

"It's been wonderful," said Douglas Brookman, Director at the Empire Hospitality Group, which runs the Opera House hotel. "Not only has the neighborhood embraced the hotel, but we have really seen a wonderful mix of travelers visiting the Opera House Hotel."

It opened its doors in August in the old Bronx Opera House on 149th street in the heart of the South Bronx. 

In an area that's trying to shed its reputation for drugs and burned-out buildings, the Hotel's a relic of an even earlier era. The building that once hosted the likes of Harry Houdini and the Marx Brothers onstage is now hosting tourists in rooms - and they're loving it. The Hotel has 5 stars on all the major online rating sites.

But that's a rarity in the Bronx. Marlene Cintron, Executive Director of the Bronx Overall Economic Development Council (BOEDC), said the Bronx is the only borough without a full-service hotel—one that serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

"I don't think that's acceptable," Cintron said.

"We've got more parkland than any other borough, we've the most hospitals of any other borough, and we've got the most universities than any other borough. So what gives with all these hotels who haven't been beating down the doors?"

She says the borough's a stone's throw from Manhattan, and rooms are half the price. Things are looking up, though.  A Residence Inn from hotel giant Mariott is set to open early next year in the East Bronx.

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Business is good at the Opera House, but will more hotels come?

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