Here’s what it’s like to stay at New York City’s No. 1 ranked hotel, which has a dynamite cocktail bar and beautiful decor March 10, 2018

The Beekman first opened in the late 1800s.

  • The Beekman, A Thompson Hotel, was ranked the No. 1 hotel in New York City by U.S. News & World Report.
  • We stayed at The Beekman recently to see if it lives up to the hype.
  • While the hotel is architecturally stunning, has a dynamite cocktail bar, and in-room Chromecast, a few lapses by the hospitality team took away from my experience.

Step into The Beekman in New York City’s Financial District and you will no doubt feel transported to a different era.

First opened in 1881, the Temple Court building that houses The Beekman was one of the city’s first skyscrapers. The stunning atrium that centers the building housed offices for lawyers, publishers, advertising agencies, and architects for decades.

Prior to the building of Temple Court, the location was home to the Chapel Street Theater, which held the first performance of Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” in New York in 1761, and Clinton Hall, a literary salon of sorts where poet Edgar Allan Poe worked.

That history rings through the building, embedded in the carpeting, the architectural design, and the art on the walls. It feels both old and new, a trendy location in a neighborhood that has long been known more for its brigades of suited financiers than its nightlife.

The hotel was recently named the No. 1 hotel in New York City by U.S. News & World Report, no doubt due to the chic Old World design and the high-end food and cocktails served at chef Tom Colicchio’s on-site restaurant, Temple Court.

Keep reading to check out our stay at The Beekman:

The Beekman is tucked down one of the winding alley-like streets of the Financial District. Its location feels very old New York. I’m talking 1800s old. It’d be easy to miss if it wasn’t for the black Beekman Lexus parked out front. One of the hotel’s advertised amenities is a courtesy house car service.

Look up and you can see the original landmarked building that has been on this location since 1881. That taller 10-story building next to it is a new addition that is also part of the hotel.

The lobby sets the scene of old meets new immediately. The tiling was chosen based on bits and pieces of the originals found throughout the development process. The carpeting on the lobby desk is from 1881, the same year the building was first constructed.

The check-in process is quick and painless. I was offered a complimentary newspaper in the morning. I opted for a copy of the New York Times.

The lobby has a bright, airy quality with lots of interesting furniture — hat tip to interior designer Martin Brudnizki — that was very inviting. I came down later to do some work and could definitely picture myself using the space on a business trip.

The hotel’s concierge service is offered by Les Clefs d’Or, a service provided at many high-end hotels. They pride themselves on meeting tough requests.

There are over 60 works of art selected by curator Katherine Gass spread throughout the hotel, spanning drawings, paintings, photographs, and sculptures. Most of the art was sourced from New York-based artists.

This piece by Patrick Jacobs, my favorite, is supposed to show what the area around the hotel looked like before architecture.

There are lots of seating areas dotted throughout the first floor to work or relax. The feel is very homey — if you were Sherlock Holmes.

There is a clear attention to detail in the interior design and architecture. I felt like at any moment a bespectacled man in a waist coat with a pocket watch would

If you’d like to work up a sweat, you can skip the elevator and walk up the staircase, which runs the length of the building. These beautiful moldings that are original to the building line the stairwell.

Don’t forget to look up. The nine-story Victorian atrium is the pièce de résistance of the entire hotel. It’s the atrium that launched a million Instagram posts.

Head upstairs to the top floor and you can get a look at the full atrium. The railings are all original from the 1800s, though they did have to be raised by 10 inches. People were shorter back then apparently.

The skylight is pretty spectacular. I’m don’t think I’ve ever been in a hotel with such a distinctive piece of architectural design.

The Beekman building has two “turret” penthouse suites with private rooftop terraces. The turrets are original to the building and were typical for the design of the period.

The interior of the turrets has been completely renovated. The atmosphere is that of a chic country cottage. Except this country cottage is sitting on top of a building in downtown New York.

The ceiling is 40 feet high and has this sparkling chandelier hanging from its apex.

The penthouse spans two floors. The lofted top floor is the bedroom, with a king-size bed and clawfoot bathtub.

The two penthouses typically for around $6,500 a night, depending on the season and availability. Having the bathtub in the bedroom is unique.

While it was a little chilly when I stayed in February, this rooftop terrace has to be a huge selling point for the penthouse during the summer months. It has a great view of the neighborhood.

Back downstairs, this green wainscoting and patterned wallpaper in the guest room lobby wasn’t for me. It gave off a dingy vibe.

I stayed in a “Superior Queen,” the hotel’s entry-level room. The room has a narrow, recessed entryway with a large wooden armoire for storing your luggage and clothes — or for stepping into Narnia.

The room is a bit tight, particularly for a high-end hotel. But I suppose that’s what you get with a 19th-century New York building. While the nightly rate fluctuates depending on season, it’s usually around $300 to $400.

There are some thoughtful modern additions. That retro-looking alarm clock is actually a Bluetooth speaker system. And Wi-Fi is (thankfully) free and speedy.

I can report that the bed was exceptionally comfy. The perfect balance between firm and soft. I slept well. That said, the heat dried out the room so much that it triggered a migraine the following morning.

The mix of old and new extends throughout the decor in the room. The desk and the art above it were tastefully modern, while the other pieces in the room called back to the 1800s-era style.

While I rarely take anything from the minibar — it’s far too overpriced — the selection of snacks and drinks felt so curated that I was tempted. The bottom of this cart is covered by a fabric skirt and opens up to reveal even more tempting snacks.

My happy experience at the hotel was interrupted when I found this pair of tights lurking next to the armchair. I’m not squeamish by any means, but failing to spot that while cleaning made me wonder how well the rooms are turned over.

The bathroom is bright and modern looking, with marble covering most of the surfaces.

I decided to head down to the Bar Room, the bar at famed chef Tom Colicchio’s Temple Court. It’s hard not to stop at every floor and have a look down through the atrium.

When you step off the elevator, the view of the Bar Room is blocked by this gorgeous bookcase-cum-wall. I could have probably spent an hour looking through the many whimsical knickknacks spread over the shelves.

The bar was bustling at 10 p.m. and a mix of indie and neo-soul music — think: Anderson .Paak and Phoenix — was playing over the speakers.

This was the Bar Room during the day, which was full of the business lunch crowd. At night, every single one of these seats was taken until closing time. The crowd seemed a mix of business meetings, after-work drinks, and date nights.

The Bar Room could also double as a mobile office on a business trip. I saw more than a few people spread out on laptops when I stopped in during the daytime.

The lamps that lined the bar reminded me of the desk lamps in a Victorian-era office building.

The bar calls back to the building’s literary history often, like with these framed portraits of literary figures. This piece by painter and photographer Cathy Cone, called The Temple Courters, was commissioned specially for the hotel.

There’s a long list of cocktails (all $18), many of which are named after literary figures. The menu is unique. Anyone ever had a mezcal-based Oaxacan Old Fashioned?

I kept it simple with a “Rob Roy,” the bar’s take on a Manhattan. It was made with Pig’s Nose 5 Yr., a smooth, sweet scotch whisky. It hit the spot.

I didn’t have time to eat on the restaurant side of Temple Court this time, but the New York Times’ restaurant critic Pete Wells called the cooking “spotlessly correct” for its interpretation of Gilded Age “robber baron dishes” like duck à la orange.

When I went upstairs, I found that “turn-down service” had just passed through. I settled in for a few TV shows streamed from my computer to the Chromecast, a streaming device that lets you watch Hulu, Netflix, and the like. A small, but amazing convenience.

I awoke the next morning running a bit late, thanks to the aforementioned migraine triggered by the dryness of the heat. There was no complimentary newspaper outside my door, but the pressure and temperature of the shower however were perfect and the rain shower-head was luxurious.

The gym has Peloton bikes with streaming classes, which is the new hip (read: pricey) exercise bike showing up everywhere. Each bike costs $1,995.

Complimentary headphones for working out is a nice touch.

Overall, the hotel is uniquely designed and architecturally stunning, with some excellent technological touches I hope become the norm (Chromecast everywhere, please). However, a few lapses disturbed the luxury feeling one expects from such a high-end hotel, and the rooms feels a bit undersized for the price.

Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider

 

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