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The historic St. Regis Sheraton Hotel -- birthplace of the "Bloody Mary" cocktail and a home-away-from-home for the rich -- will get a facelift to restore its French design, officials said.

The 20-story posh hotel at Fifth Avenue and 55th Street was closed in June as plans were made for renovations expected to take 14 to 18 months, the Sheraton Corp. said. John J. Astor built the St. Regis in 1904 in a rivalry with his cousin, William Waldorf, who built the original Waldorf Astoria hotel on 33rd Street, current site of the Empire State Building.

The St. Regis has hosted the world's wealthy and was home to impressionist artist Salvador Dali from 1966 to 1973. In 1934, a St. Regis bartender, Fernand Petiot invented the "Red Snapper" -- a cocktail now known as the "Bloody Mary."

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