Thanks to its international airport, Newark, N.J. has plenty of midscale branded hotels serving frequent flyers. But the new 101-room Tryp by Wyndham Newark Downtown, developed by East Park Street Hospitality Urban Renewal, is something different, and could attract visitors on its own strengths rather than those of the nearby United Airlines hub.
The building was once known as the St. Francis Hotel, which opened in 1924, and its heritage is commemorated through Blanche Garcia's Art-Deco inspired design. Many of the structure's historic elements, such as the mosaic tile floor, were preserved and augmented with modern features.
For a true taste of the neighborhood, the hotel displays local historic artifacts along with scenes from the city and murals of Newark natives—including Frankie Valli, Queen Latifah and Shaquille O'Neal—featured on each floor's elevator bank and in designs within the guestrooms. Playful touches include royal chairs with 3D crowns and an optical illusion mural in the lobby men's room that comes to life only when photographed.
Garcia also paid homage to Newark's role as a commuter hub, with transit-style cartoon wallpaper; a laser-cut grid of the city of Newark; and a deco-style copper leaf art piece highlighting different modes of transport, created by local painter Tim Murphy and framed by HGTV's Shaun Killman.
Murphy and Killman created much of the art throughout the hotel, including Murphy's hand-painted custom ceiling mural.
While the hotel celebrates Newark's heritage, it also includes numerous modern elements, including Killman's human-scale replica of local resident 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; and plastic cherry blossom vines on walls and ceilings, in a nod to Branch Brook Park and the Cherry Blossom Festival held at the park every spring.
"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 told Tap Into Newark over the winter. "Newark has so much to offer, and so it wasn’t hard to integrate some of that culture into the design of the hotel.”
Photo credit: TRYP by Wyndham Newark Downtown