This is addressed to the Marriott management of the Algonquin Hotel.
Is the bottom line the only thing that counts in this world? Are some losses worth taking?
I cannot argue against any economic analysis that led to the decision to abandon the celebrated Oak Room in the renovation of the Algonquin Hotel and use the space for other purposes.
But surely a major hotel can find reason to keep open a fabled room, where so much talent has been showcased, for the value of the prestige it brings. The idea that every part of a hotel must make money, or not lose money, is shortsighted when measured against keeping the tradition of a famous supper club as part of the hotel’s overall appeal and image.
I’m sure that years of reviews and publicity concerning the Oak Room shows and stars appearing there have added to reasons why visitors would choose the hotel as a place to stay. The Oak Room, even though not doing the business it should, has added to the hotel’s overall cachet and reputation.
Particularly with an institution like the Algonquin, tradition is important. I found it sad some years ago when I interviewed an author of a new novel who was visiting New York and wanted to dine at the Algonquin, scene of the famous celebrity Round Table of bygone times. “Where was the Round Table,” she asked a waiter, who replied “What’s the matter, you don’t like a square table?”
Is that what we want to happen to the memories of fabled New York institutions?
There has to be a way of keeping the Oak Room Supper Club alive, and I appeal to the hotel management to have a greater vision than can be measured only in dollars. Please rethink the situation.