Since 1874, The Garden City Hotel has been a Long Island landmark, an iconic retreat beloved for its timeless elegance and modern-day comfort. Spacious guest rooms, luxurious suites, first-class culinary team and genuine hospitality are hallmarks of this historic hotel located just 15 miles from Manhattan.
140 Years of Style and Service
Visionary Alexander Turney Stewart founded the Village of Garden City in 1869 on 7,170-acres of land outside of New York City. It was intended to be the ideal place of residency with no expense spared in its development. The Garden City Hotel was to be the focal point of the community and was designed to attract the attention of the world's elite.
In the years that followed, from our post-Civil War beginning to the Roaring Twenties and the dawn of suburbia to the new millennium, the hotel became the preferred destination of generations of A-listers, from the Vanderbilts and Astors to the Kennedys and Clintons. Today, The Garden City Hotel remains a Long Island landmark, synonymous with first-class service and timeless luxury.
The Garden City Hotel was built in the Victorian style by Alexander Turney Stewart and opened to great fanfare on July 30, 1874. Stewart personally managed the hotel until his death in 1876. At that time, his wife Cornelia inherited the project and honored his memory until she was laid to rest at the Gothic Cathedral of the Incarnation in 1886.
1886 – 1897
The hotel was willed to Cornelia Stewart's family, who formed The Garden City Company to facilitate operations at the hotel. Her brother-in-law, renowned architect Stanford White, was elected to the board of The Garden City Company and his famous firm McKim, Mead and White was contracted to redesign the hotel in the Dutch Colonial style. A distinguished cupola, fashioned after Philadelphia's Independence Hall, surmounted the entire structure and the eastern and western wings were added. This second incarnation of The Garden City Hotel was opened to the public in 1895. A nine-hole golf course was unveiled in 1897, which later became the Garden City Golf Club.
1899 – 1901
On September 7, 1899, the Garden City Hotel was consumed by flames and burned to the ground. The fire originated in the attic and was most likely caused by a defective flue. The hotel was evacuated immediately and no one was injured. The high-end appointments were destroyed, save for several paintings that were originally part of Alexander Turney Stewart's private collection. The hotel was rebuilt in the Georgian Revival style, and this third and most famous incarnation was also designed by McKim, Mead and White, and opened on the same site in 1901.
1904 – 1910
William K. Vanderbilt, Jr. organized America's first international road race, the Vanderbilt Cup Races, to encourage American automobile manufacturers to challenge European quality. The races were held from 1904 to 1910 and were the greatest sporting events of their day. The events drew huge crowds of over 250,000 spectators and The Garden City Hotel was the center for the who's who of the racing scene.
The architectural firm of Ford, Butler & Oliver accepted the task of enlarging the hotel by extending the wings on either side in the Georgian Revival style. The addition allowed the hotel to increase its capacity.
One of the most notable events associated with The Garden City Hotel occurred on May 20, 1927, when Charles Lindbergh spent the night before his historic trans-Atlantic flight. The event is honored with an annual anniversary celebration and festivities at the hotel.
1930 – 1947
The Great Depression brought an end to the Gatsby-era excess at the Garden City Hotel. It wasn't until after World War II that the community around the hotel began to grow and flourish as a residential suburban village.
1948 - 1959
The Knott Hotel Corporation purchased the hotel in 1948, expanding and redecorating it. The revitalized hotel attracted vacationers, business executives and world leaders, including a 1959 visit by presidential-hopeful John F. Kennedy and his wife Jacqueline.
The Village of Garden City celebrated its 100th anniversary in February 1969 with a large reception at The Garden City Hotel. The crowds who gathered to rejoice in the memory of A. T. Stewart found it fitting to celebrate at the very location he deemed the crown jewel of the village.
1971 – 1973
The hotel was bought by builder Michael A. Forte and closed in 1971 before being torn down in 1973. Spectators gathered to watch the impending devastation of the village's longtime symbol of elegance as a wrecking ball destroyed the historic building to make way for a new structure. However, Forte was undercapitalized and the hotel was never reconstructed. The loss of the historic landmark was a traumatic experience for the community. Many bystanders took bricks from the rubble as a memento of the hotel, its grandeur and all it symbolized for the Village of Garden City.
The Garden City Hotel is proud of the rich history that formed the foundation for its commitment to excellence. Today, The Garden City Hotel is recognized as a leader on the Long Island dining and lodging scene and top rankings from best food to best service are earned year-to-year. The luxury hotel is one of 185 members, internationally, of the Preferred Hotels and Resorts Group and the only hotel on Long Island to meet the highest standards of quality and extraordinary service that earned it Preferred Standard of Excellence status.
The 272-room hotel with 16 suites, four of which are penthouse suites, has 25,000-square-feet of meeting and event space including the legendary Grand Ballroom, spacious meeting rooms, and Polo Steakhouse, a classic American Steakhouse. The hotel remains a sought-after address, welcoming luminaries from the worlds of business, politics, sports and entertainment with the same sophistication and elegance it did nearly a century-and-a-half ago.
The late Myron Nelkin purchased the site and rebuilt and opened the fourth incarnation of The Garden City Hotel on May 20th, 1983. The hotel remained under the ownership and care of the Nelkin family until September 20th, 2012.
2012 to the present
Morris Moinian and The Fortuna Realty Group took ownership of The Garden City Hotel on September 20th, 2012.
In 2014, all 272 guest rooms and suites were completely redesigned under the direction of Italian Designer, Marcello Pozzi.