One of our favorite travel activities is checking-in to a hotel that provides enough amusement that one can while away 48 hours and barely have to leave the premises. It’s especially appealing, of course, when it’s a hometown “staycation” (Something about staying in a hotel in your own city…)
To wit, the glamorous Beekman, A Thompson Hotel, which after a couple of years of fevered anticipation, opened last August, just around the corner from City Hall. An early skyscraper, the original 5 Beekman debuted all the way back in 1883, finally receiving Landmark status 115 years later. And history now just permeates its walls and halls. And best of all, while most new NYC hotels can’t seem to blab loudly enough about their in-room iPads or trendoid rooftop bar, the Beekman instead feels utterly, elegantly discreet.
Not that there isn’t a perpetual buzz surrounding this class-act of a hotel. Indeed, its Tom Colicchio restaurant Fowler & Wells became the much more dramatically titled Temple Court a few months ago to rapturous reception. And two spectacular new “Turret Penthouse” suites were just unveiled in October.
But still and all, there is a keen sense of specialness from the moment one enters, which, like all the most storied hotels, stays with you long after.
Here’s what made us fall in love with The Beekman.
New York City has a dreadful habit of unsentimentally tearing down its history, to feed its insatiable appetite for the new (and, when it comes to architecture, mostly bad). But The Beekman revels in its glittering past, while not asking you to trip over it, should that not be the reason you chose to stay here. Built around a soaring, exquisitely restored nine-story Victorian atrium, there is a sense of drama with virtually every step you take. Make sure to spend time taking in the so many breathtaking details.
The Art Collection
Hotels all tend to go on and on about their art collections these days. But The Beekman’s is the real thing, having been graced with a curatorial touch from the outset. Indeed, works were thematically commissioned with dazzling results: Cathy Cone’s surreal Temple Courters portraits; Jane Hammond’s cleverly butterflied map All Souls (see image below); David Scher’s provocative, neo-gothic Bladder Day Saints; and Richard Barnes’ haunting photographs of a pre-construction Beekman. You could make a morning of communing with all of the fascinating art on display.
The Seeing + Being Seen
There’s a great international energy here, a real sense that the world has just checked in. And rather than the usual halls stalked by Instagramming reality stars, you’ll likely rub shoulders with Anna Wintour, Daphne Guinness and Diane Von Furstenberg. We even “bumped into” Kristen Wiig on the elevator.
In New York City especially, splashing out on public spaces while making rooms an afterthought seems rather habitual and, in most cases, a detriment to one’s stay (boring rooms can be so soul-sucking). But the Beekman flaunts some of the handsomest chambers in Gotham – with coffered ceilings, elegant color schemes, plush furnishings and generous windows framing the spectacular surrounding FiDi edifices.
The Turret Penthouse Suites
From Martin Brudnizki Design Studio (also responsible for The Ivy in London, Soho Beach House Miami and Matsuhisa St. Moritz), these incomparable suites flaunt Beaux-Arts chandeliers dripping from 40-ft. ceilings, stone fireplaces, aged oak floors, free-standing soaking tubs, Bang & Olufsen speaker systems, in-room wet bars, dedicated dining areas (plan to have a swanky dinner party sent up by Temple Court), as well as private terraces w/ truly epic views of the Woolworth Building and One World Trade Center.
Despite being downtown’s godhead restaurateur for more than three decades, Keith McNally never really did hotels. So his decision to partner with the Beekman was surely a solemn and serious one. And for McNally disciples, Augustine doesn’t at all mess with success, offering a postcard-perfect French brasserie atmosphere. (Perhaps a tribute to the late and still-very-much-mourned Pastis?) Lunch on duck confit salad, moules a la citronnelle or the grilled fish of the day; in the evening, prop up the bar with a Normandie Martini and a rotisserie duck a l’orange or a killer filet mignon au poivre. Comment très parisienne!
The Bar Room
Lorded over by his gothicness Edgar Allan Poe, The Bar Room is quite the cosmopolitan scene every evening – and for good reason. The culturati come here to sip debonair cocktails with names like Sir Marc Isambard Brunel and Pierre Charles L’Enfant with a spectacularly dizzying view up through the historic atrium. If you seriously need to impress someone, this is unquestionably the place to do it.
Tom Colicchio’s restaurant at the Beekman was originally called Fowler & Wells – which perhaps sounded a bit too Brooklyn hipstery for such a grand space. Now majestically rebranded as Temple Court, it’s hard to know what to be more in awe of: the food or the surroundings. We kid you not, that the vegetable-focused dishes are so exquisitely delicious, you just may leave totally rethinking your carnivorous ways. The special Autumn Vegetable Tasting Menu is truly the way to go, and features deceptively simple creations like eggplant napoleon, heirloom bean salad with kohlrabi & black truffle, and sweet potato agnolotti with chestnuts, leeks & black truffle. Two steps above perfect.