When History Meets Luxury: The Beekman Hotel in New York City
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To The Point
The Beekman is a historic hotel in the heart of Manhattan’s Financial District. Pros: gorgeous decor, lots of character, friendly staff and comfortable beds. Cons: only so-so room-service breakfast, bar noise filtering into guest rooms.
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The Beekman, a Thompson Hotel, is a part of New York City’s vast history. Although the hotel opened in 2016, the once-abandoned building dates back to 1883 and now holds landmark status in the city of New York.
Naturally, a building with such an immense storyline intrigued me, so I booked a three-night stay there to see firsthand how the Thompson Hotels group merged the building’s storied history with modern luxury.
I booked my stay on Hotels.com using my Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card to get 10x miles on purchases made at Hotels.com (ends Jan. 31, 2020). I got a great rate, especially considering the United Nations General Assembly was in session. I paid $280 plus tax per night for a superior queen room, though I did end up getting upgraded to a larger room.
Recently, Hyatt announced that it’d be acquiring Two Roads Hospitality, a group that manages a portfolio of brands including Thompson Hotels in 2019. Hopefully, this news means that World of Hyatt members will be able to redeem points for stays at The Beekman starting next year — if it works out as expected, this will be a fantastic property at which to spend the relatively easy-to-acquire Hyatt points.
The site once was home to a theater that famously put on “Hamlet” in 1761. The current building, completed in 1883, was considered one of Manhattan’s first skyscrapers (with just nine floors).
The famous atrium was, and still is, one of the building’s most iconic features.
The building was abandoned in 2001, even though it was declared a landmark in 1998. The Thompson group later bought it to create The Beekman Hotel, keeping the history alive with the help of Swedish designer Martin Brudnizki. The hotel had 287 guest rooms, including the two special penthouse suites in the turrets of the building.
The Beekman also featured an art collection chosen by the hotel’s own curator, Katherine Gass, with over 60 paintings, photographs, prints and more installed throughout the hotel.
Within walking distance from the Brooklyn Bridge, One World Trade Center, Wall Street, and more, the hotel’s location in the Financial District was ideal for both business and leisure travelers. With several subways close by, it was easy to get to other areas of the city. The Beekman was also surrounded by a variety of restaurants, shops, drugstores, bars and tourist sites.
I was pretty excited for my stay at The Beekman, and walking into the lobby didn’t disappoint. After a friendly doorman took my bags and ushered me in, I felt like I had stepped back in time. Dark and mysterious, the lobby gave off an understated yet regal air, with low-hanging, opulent chandeliers and Victorian-looking furniture.
I was greeted at the check-in desk by a smiling staff member who told me I’d been upgraded to a deluxe king room — before I could even ask for an upgrade. He also mentioned that I could reserve free rides to anywhere less than a mile away using the hotel car. I didn’t end up taking advantage of this, because anywhere less than a mile I just walked to, but it was still a nice touch. I was also told I could get a white-noise machine in my room if I wanted, which I politely declined. However, I later learned why the front desk offered it.
Once I was assigned to Room 515, I headed to the elevators. I gasped when I looked up — the atrium area overlooking the Temple Court Bar Room was absolutely breathtaking. Gilded railings lined the swirling carpets, and arched doorways towered above the jewel-toned bar below.
My room was definitely the most unique spot I’ve stayed at in Manhattan. I usually end up at either an SPG or Hyatt property or the occasional trendy millennial hotel, so I definitely hadn’t experienced staying in a spot with so much character and thought put into the opulent, modern rooms.
I also hadn’t stayed anywhere in Manhattan with such noteworthy history.
Walking into my room was like entering a time warp, but one with the comforts and amenities of the 21st century. The space, though clean, comfortable and fresh, had many touches that nodded to its history. Upon entering, I faced a beautiful, Art Deco mirror and ceiling light fixture.
Heading into the room, I noticed the variety of lamps and light fixtures placed around the space. A desk and vintage leather chair were next to a large TV.
The desk, though cool, didn’t look like it would be comfortable to work on for long, though, and the maroon leather chair was definitely not ergonomic.
Nevertheless, it was a space that inspired creativity, somewhere I could write a love letter or poetry. (Neither of which I’ve ever written, but I considered it here.)
My focus, though, went directly toward the antique bar cart that sat on the other side of the television. The thick tapestry that skirted the cart made the piece really special.
A fringed lamp shone down upon a carefully curated collection of snacks and drinks. This was definitely the coolest minibar I’d ever laid eyes on.
A gigantic wooden wardrobe with beautiful brass handles was sandwiched between nice artwork.
A safe, slippers, robe, iron, ironing board and hangers were all inside the closet.
The bed was large with soft, sateen sheets and a leather headboard. It sat on a bright turquoise rug and was flanked by two unmatched bedside tables and lamps.
A vintage-inspired radio/alarm clock/music player sat on one side of the bed, and a small ottoman with a turquoise velvet cushion was at the end of the bed.
The only negative to the room was that there was barely any natural light.
The two large windows faced a courtyard, meaning the room got barely any daylight and there was no view. But the room was so lovely I really didn’t mind the lack of view. I also wasn’t dealing with any street noise. Plus, the low light seemed to fit the vintage vibe of the room just right, and there was plenty of interior lighting. The windows came with manually operated blackout shades, which made the room extra dark at night.
The bathroom was bright, new and spotlessly clean. Even the fixtures had a bit of character: a wood-and-metal sink fixture covered in white marble, cool pearl tiling and a gigantic rainfall shower.
The bathroom had a powerful hair dryer, a magnifying mirror and amenities by D.S. & Durga.
The thermostat was by the bed, and the A/C was silent as could be. I also loved the whimsical touches in the room, like the creative do-not-disturb sign.
Truly, the room made me not want to leave, and I can’t say that about many other New York hotels, especially with a whole city out there!
Food and Beverage
Temple Court by chef Tom Colicchio was the American restaurant on site, but I chose to test out the French restaurant Augustine, opened by Keith McNally, the man behind Balthazar in both New York and London.
I loved the trendy vibe and the low lightning, though it didn’t fare well for food photography.
I ordered a carafe of French red wine and the cheese souffle, made with aged Gruyère, Parmesan and horseradish fondue. The wine paired perfectly with the fluffy, light cheese dish.
My main course was the branzino with roasted cauliflower and, of course, a side of pommes frites. The fish was cooked just right and had a savory, light flavor. Dessert was a scoop of brown-butter ice cream, creamy and delicious. Service was excellent, if not overzealous, with servers constantly asking if I needed anything.
I highly recommend eating at the restaurant (either when you’re staying there at the hotel or not), but just make sure to make a reservation, as it’s unlikely you’ll get seated without one.
The hotel was also home to Alley Cat, an “amateur theater,” which seemed like a fancy name for a nightclub. I didn’t make it down there, but I was able to check out the scene at the Temple Court Bar Room, which was crowded and lively late into the night.
I ordered room service one morning for a coffee and scrambled eggs. Both items were just average, the eggs flavorless and my latte cold. This was really the only disappointing thing about my stay. When you’re paying almost $30 for eggs and a coffee, they really should have been above and beyond.
The hotel had a two-floor gym with modern workout equipment, but it still kept with the vintage decor of the hotel, which was fun.
The staff did an evening turndown service, leaving water and chocolate on the bedside tables, placing a small card with the upcoming forecast and pulling the blackout shades down.
When I arrived back around 1am the Saturday evening before I checked out, I was able to hear the beat of the bar music in my room. I mentioned that I heard some noise in my room during my checkout. The staff was extremely apologetic and took $50 off my bill for the inconvenience. Looking back, I should’ve asked for that white-noise machine that was offered to me at check-in, but that didn’t occur to me until the next morning.
The Beekman is a tantalizingly old-fashioned treat in a city covered in cookie-cutter hotels. If you love history and a little bit of flavor, you’ll enjoy staying (or even just dining or drinking) here. The staff was excellent, the decor stunning and the rooms, especially the bed and shower, both charming and comfortable. I would happily stay at this hotel again, though I’ll skip the room service and request a high floor for a quieter stay.
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