The Grand Hotel was built in the French Second Empire style and included a total of eight stories, including two inside the mansard roof. Like many of the Paris apartments it emulates, the building features a cast iron ground floor with large windows.
Higgins planned for the building to be a residential hotel. Consequently, the hotel was built without kitchens or dining rooms, as residents would eat in a communal dining room. Later, as the theater district moved closer to Times Square, it made economic sense to convert the property into a traditional hotel with a restaurant.
Over the course of the twentieth century, the hotel and the building's fortunes declined. By the 1980s, the building was a single occupancy hotel whose owners painted over the marble facade in violation of landmark laws. The ground floor was divided into leasable storefronts in the 1950s. In recent years, preservationists were able to remove the paint without damaging the marble and significant restoration work has helped to preserve the building's facade.