You Can Stay Where “The Bathtub King of Pittsburgh” Once Ruled
The boutique Industrialist Hotel is set to open in Downtown’s The Arrott Building by early May.
Built in 1902 and standing 18 stories high, The Arrott Building on Wood Street Downtown was, in its prime, a testament to the extravagance of its day and its owner — the Bathtub King of Pittsburgh, James Arrott.
Topped with howling masks along its cornices, the brick- and terracotta-striped skyscraper acted as headquarters to Arrott’s American Standard company — which produced iron-enameled bathtubs — as well as his separate insurance business.
Since the 1970s, following a failed attempt to convert it into 100 apartments for senior citizens, the office building has sat mostly empty, save for a Subway restaurant on its bottom level.
However, the grand bones of the building, which was added to the Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation Historic Landmarks list in 2000, remained intact — and formed the basis for a new boutique hotel.
Part of HRI Properties and Marriott International’s Autograph Collection, The Industrialist Hotel, named in honor of Arrott — as well as the other early entrepreneurs who shaped Pittsburgh — is set to open in early May.
General Manager Robert Brashler says the 124-room hotel, which includes three luxury suites, was inspired by Pittsburgh’s history as a steel capital. As such, the hotel’s upscale, Beaux-Arts-inspired design by New York-based Stonehill Taylor features a mix of cool grays and bright oranges reminiscent of a foundry’s smoke and molten metal.
As for the Arrott Building’s original grand, Italian marble-filled lobby designed by celebrated architect Frederick Osterling? It’s still there.
“All the marble, all the brass, all the intricate plaster work has been preserved and restored,” Brashler says. “It’s very ornamental. When you walk into the lobby, it’s decked out. It definitely showcases the success of American Standard.”
Along with the de rigueur fitness center, boardroom and lobby bar, the hotel also includes The Rebel Room, a modern American-fare restaurant helmed by chef Gavin Hetrick, who most recently oversaw Southern Tier Brewing Company’s Pittsburgh taproom and spent time as executive sous chef at Downtown’s Revel.
“It has an upscale neighborhood eatery feel,” Brashler says of The Rebel Room. “It’s a very lovely space to be in.”
In a unique twist, The Industrialist’s second-floor lobby and lounge will host a DIY-workshop-meets-bar featuring a daily “maker menu” in partnership with local Pittsburgh businesses.
Already on the rotating schedule are events featuring leather making — where guests may create a key fob, card holder or luggage tags — candle making and the creation of custom stationery. A “Maker Hour” is set to take place from 5 to 7 p.m. daily.
“The maker space has a large communal table and some low seating where people can spread out and make their crafts,” Brashler says. “Once the environment permits more of a social thing, we’re going to incorporate food and drink into the Maker Hour.”
Construction on the hotel started in 2020. The Industrialist originally was supposed to open last October but was delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Brashler says.
“We’re now in the last push to get everything ready,” he says.