The South Bronx Gets Its First Boutique Hotel


Empire Hotel Group expanded beyond Manhattan for the first time this weekend, giving the Bronx its first boutique hotel with the Opera House.

The 60-room lodging, located in the former Bronx Opera House, opened yesterday at 436 East 149th Street in the Melrose neighborhood.

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The old Bronx Opera House
The old Bronx Opera House

The local blog Welcome2TheBronx reports that the Opera House is the borough’s first luxury boutique hotel. Sixteen of its 60 units were booked yesterday, a decent figure for a new hotel in uncharted territory during the sluggish dog days of summer. The hotel is about one-and-a-half miles from Yankee Stadium. Weekend rates start at $140.

Empire Hotel Group adds the Opera House to a collection spanning the Upper West Side (The Lucerne, Newton and Belnord) and Midtown (The Pearl and Belvedere Hotels; the American and Travel Inns). While none of these could be considered part of the boutique hotel vanguard, the South Bronx opening still represents a step forward for the notoriously dicey and overlooked area.

Stylish, independent hotels have come to represent the reemergence of once-decrepit neighborhoods like the Meatpacking District (the Gansevoort and Maritime Hotels), the Lower East Side (The Hotel on Rivington) and the Williamsburg waterfront (The Wythe Hotel).

The developer Jay Domb purchased the East 149th Street property in 2007 for $2 million.