Eight college students studying interior design got an inside look at a soon-to-be renovated and revitalized downtown Newark hotel, guided by an acclaimed interior designer.   

The interior designer students, all from Brookdale Community College in Middletown, recently toured the TRYP by Wyndham Hotel, which is under renovation in Newark’s central business district. 

The tour of the soon-to-be-refurbished hotel was led by Blanche Garcia, a certified Interior Designer with over 18 years of experience in residential and commercial design. Garcia, the owner of B. Garcia Designs based in Montclair, is a principal designer featured in the popular Travel Channel reality series, Hotel Impossible. Garcia is doing the interior design throughout the main level and guest rooms. 

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Garcia spoke about hospitality design at a recent student career day at the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) sponsored by ASID (American Society of Interior Designers). After the students showed strong interest in seeing the TRYP Hotel project in downtown Newark, Garcia arranged a personally guided tour so they could see what a hospitality project in the works looks like up close.

“The students got a firsthand glimpse into the transformation that will turn this location into a premier hospitality destination in Newark,” said Garcia, a member of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) as well as a “Green Design” LEED Accredited Professional through the United States Green Building Commission. 

The hotel is part of the Wyndham organization, a European-based, select-service urban hotel brand. The hotel will have a distinctly European sensibility, with an expanded open hotel lobby that will have unrestricted access between the hotel's front desk, business center, restaurant and bar.

The revamped hotel will have multiple lounge areas, a custom bar, sushi restaurant, gym, and a variety of guest room models; among them will be a family-style room with modern bunk beds and an exercise room for the business traveler.
Among the features and experiences Garcia is incorporating into TRYP Hotel in Newark are: 

  • the ability to take a selfie with a human-scale replica of Thomas Edison’s light bulb, which was first exhibited in nearby Military Park
  • a graffiti wall showcasing poetry from Wordstock, the nation’s largest poetry convention held in Newark 
  • plastic cherry blossom vines on walls and ceilings, in a nod to Branch Brook Park and the world-famous Cherry Blossom Festival held at the park every spring 
  • custom artwork pieces depicting the commuter culture and Newark as a transportation hub 
  • design elements throughout the hotel that pay homage to the building’s Art Deco history 

"The TRYP brand is about spaces that connect the traveler to the community so visitors get the flavor of the city that they are visiting," Garcia said. "Newark has so much to offer, and so it wasn’t hard to integrate some of that culture into the design of the hotel.” 

The TRYP Hotel is owned and being developed by The Berger Organization, a privately owned diversified real estate development and management company based in Newark. The Berger Organization is involved in the development and management of residential, commercial and hospitality properties throughout Newark, the rest of North Jersey and New York City.

Originally called the St. Francis Hotel when it was built in 1924, the soon-to-be renovated hotel is a piece of the chess board of Newark's downtown development.

The new Newark landscape includes the Whole Foods soon to open in the former Hahne's department store on Broad Street facing Military Park, as well as Dranoff Properties' $116 million project to build a 22-story luxury apartment building across the street from the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) and right behind the Robert Treat Hotel. The Dranoff project will result in the first high-rise apartments to be built in New Jersey's most populous city in 40 years.

The multimillion dollar refurbishment of the hotel, located at 24 East Park Street across from the PSE&G utility office complex, is putting nearly two dozen Newark employees to work as part of following the developer's economic development package with the City of Newark and the state Economic Development Association (EDA).

The hotel, formerly known at the Carlton Hotel and closed for renovation in 2011, was gutted by the end of 2014, and construction began in January 2016. 

“We’re very excited about the work Blanche and her team have been doing at the TRYP Hotel,” said Miles Berger, CEO of the Berger Organization. “Newark has much to offer business and leisure travelers, and there is rich history here to celebrate.”

The hotel is slated to open in early 2018, according to Berger.