A stunningly renovated 19th-century skyscraper is now one of New York’s hottest hotels: Stepping back in time at The Beekman and being wowed by its nine-storey atrium and lavish decor
- The renovation of The Beekman, in the Financial District, caused a real stir in hospitality circles
- Over the years it housed architect and law firms and in 1998 the façade was declared a New York Landmark
- In 2014 Thompson Hotels bought it and spent two years turning it into a glamorous 287-room hotel
Once upon a time. Now.
When you receive your room key cards at The Beekman hotel in New York, these are the words written on the cardboard pouch they’re placed inside. And I can’t think of a better way of summing up what it’s like to stay at this utterly wonderful hotel.
It’s a 19th century time capsule that’s been beautifully renovated and that harbours quite possibly one of the world’s most stunning hotel atriums – a nine-storey affair capped by a pyramidal skylight that also features magnificent Victorian wrought-iron railings and balustrades, ornamented with flowers, dragons and sunbursts.
The Beekman is a 19th-century time capsule that’s been beautifully renovated and that harbours quite possibly one of the world’s most stunning hotel atriums – a nine-storey affair capped by a pyramidal skylight (pictured)
The atrium features magnificent Victorian wrought-iron railings and balustrades, ornamented with flowers, dragons and sunbursts
On the ground floor is a bar and casual restaurant filled with guests frequently gazing upwards in awe.
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The renovation of The Beekman, which sits in the Financial District at the foot of Brooklyn Bridge, caused a real stir in hospitality circles, and it’s now most definitely one of New York’s, if not America’s, hottest hotels. An architectural sensation you can stay in.
The building, erected in 1883 and originally called Temple Court, was one of New York’s first skyscrapers.
On the ground floor of The Beekman is a bar and casual restaurant (pictured) filled with guests frequently gazing upwards in awe
In 2014 Thompson Hotels bought The Beekman and spent two years turning it into a glamorous, lavishly furnished 287-room hotel with the help of renowned interior designer Martin Brudnizki. Pictured is the jaw-dropping lobby
Over the years it housed architect and law firms and in 1998 the façade was declared an official New York City Landmark.
But it fell empty in 2001.
In 2014 Thompson Hotels bought it and spent two years turning it into a glamorous, lavishly furnished 287-room hotel with the help of renowned interior designer Martin Brudnizki.
Original features have been faithfully restored throughout, such as the aforementioned atrium and the stunning mosaic marble flooring in the lobby.
To step inside is like stepping back in time – with all the mod cons. Wi-Fi, flatscreen TVs, they’re all present and correct.
Our room – a one-bedroom suite – is beautiful, with aged oak floors, sumptuous bed and marble bathroom with rain shower, plus a 1920s-style lamp with golden tassels.
Ted’s room – a one-bedroom suite (pictured) – is beautiful, with aged oak floors and a sumptuous bed
The one-bedroom suite also had a marble bathroom with rain shower, plus a 1920s-style lamp with golden tassels
And the hotel was doing so well… until this: Ted understood the sentiment behind this welcome message but felt that it wasn’t in keeping with the enticing olde worlde feel of the property
If you’ve got cash to splash, then The Beekman’s amazing turret penthouse suite (pictured) might tempt you
An isolated outbreak of tackiness did occur in the bedroom, though – a welcome message on the TV screen that declared that I was ‘now part of the storied history of one of New York’s most exceptional landmarks’.
The message is a nice thought but could it not be tastefully written on a card instead, perhaps with an image of the original building?
It just seemed out of step with the olde worlde vibe.
One of the highlights of our stay was a meal at the hotel’s Temple Court restaurant, run by celebrity chef Tom Colicchio.
Ted enjoyed an amazing meal at the Temple Court restaurant (pictured), which is run by celebrity chef Tom Colicchio. This is also where breakfast is served
The building (pictured), erected in 1883 and originally called Temple Court, was one of New York’s first skyscrapers. In 1998 the façade was declared an official New York City Landmark
Rates at The Beekman start from £250. Visit www.thebeekman.com.
Delta flies twice daily between London Heathrow and New York-JFK. Fares start at £100 plus £174.22 taxes for Main Cabin and £1,714 plus £268.22 for Delta One.
Ted used Uber for his onward journey from JFK. Uber is available in over 600 cities across 65 countries.
Here my girlfriend and I opted for the tasting menu accompanied by a matching wine flight.
And it was highly impressive, with our taste buds tickled by sablefish mousseline, butter poached prawns with pea ravioli, Snake River Farms wagyu with morel mushrooms and ramps and olive oil parfait.
The wines included a delightful riesling from New York producer Hermann J Wiemer and a superb chardonnay from the Presqu’ile Winery in Santa Maria, California.
The waiting staff were top notch. Every one of them had good knowledge of the menu and the sommeliers passionate about what they decanted, offering well-articulated descriptions as they poured.
The next morning we were back in Temple Court, this time having breakfast and wistfully wishing that once upon a time could last forever.
Inside Delta’s £3k business class cabin from London to New York – then returning in economy (and missing the posh-seat perks from the gourmet pork sandwiches to Hi-Fi headphones)
It’s the age of the wow factor when flying business class these days with airlines offering the likes of double beds and bars when you turn left.
Delta Air Lines doesn’t have either, but it does serve one of the most downright delicious Cuban pork sandwiches to those paying top whack on its flights. It contains pork loin, smoked ham and Swiss cheese and eating one is a messy moment of magic at 38,000ft – so good it’s almost worth classing as a ‘wow factor’.
I tackled one while flying in Delta’s business class cabin (the carrier calls it ‘Delta One’) from London Heathrow to New York on an A330-200 recently – and I flew economy on the way back a week later to see what the difference is between a £700 ($930) ticket and a £3,000 ($4,000) ticket. Quite a bit, it turns out.
The high life: Ted flew in Delta’s ‘Delta One’ business class cabin (pictured) from London to New York
One of the highlights of flying Delta One from Heathrow arrives before you take off – having access to the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse (Virgin is a codeshare partner with Delta).
This is a top-tier lounge experience that’s akin to being inside a swanky five-star, cocktail-bar harbouring hotel.
I was with my partner and our ten-month-old baby and we were a bit stressed because she was in a tantrum-y frame of mind, but the excellent Clubhouse staff soothed away our worries with prompt deliveries of Eggs Royale/Benedict, juices and coffees. All complimentary.
Once on board I didn’t get to turn left because my Delta One seat – 9J – was on the right-hand side as you enter, just in front of the main cabin.
The seats are laid out in Herringbone style so those by the window – such as mine – are gloriously private, pointing away from all the other passengers.
All smiles: No wonder Ted is beaming. He’s enjoying a movie here using Hi-Fi headphones by LSTN
I sipped a welcome glass of bubbles (I’m fairly sure it was Prosecco, despite Champagne being on the actual wine list) and took in my luxury lair.
I quickly opened the amenity kit, by fancy bag maker Tumi, which contained hand lotion and lip balm by Kiehl’s, Crest toothpaste, a toothbrush, mouthwash, ear plugs, a plastic pen, an eye mask, a pair of socks and ‘ultra soft’ tissues. I’m never that fussed by amenity bags but I know that many find them a profoundly joyful perk.
Then it was time to gleefully fiddle with the buttons for manoeuvring the seat.
In all there are 12 separate movements available – impressive – and three further buttons that recline the seat in one go, bring it back upright and turn it into a lie-flat bed.
Though others I’ve experienced have a massage function, too.
On approach to New York, Ted was served this mouthwatering Cuban pork sandwich. A food ‘wow factor’
The main course was marinated chicken thigh with creamy potato leek ragout and sugar snap peas (pictured). Scroll down to see a picture of the chicken dinner offered in Delta’s economy class cabin on the return journey
Still, I was able to make myself extremely comfortably and my 5ft 10in frame had plenty of space in which to stretch out.
And while storage space is somewhat lacking, I loved the way the structure cocooned me. I was cosy within seconds after bringing up the aisle-side armrest (Delta One seats on its newer A350 planes even have a privacy screen).
It’s hats off for the five-course meal and wine, too.
On top of the aforementioned pork-based baguette bonanza I feasted on prawns with cucumber relish (very refreshing) marinated chicken thigh with creamy potato leek ragout and sugar snap peas (tender, nicely cooked meat) and an ice cream sundae and a chocolate ganache (truly delicious).
All this was accompanied by a glass of Guigal Cotes du Rhone red wine, Nisia Old Vines Verdejo Rueda white wine from Spain and a tremendous glass of port.
The Delta One seats cocoon passengers nicely, as you can see – and the 15.4in entertainment screen is very good. It’s even bigger on Delta’s A350s – 18 inches
The wine list is by master sommelier Andrea Robinson, who certainly seems to have earned the fancy job title.
The service, meanwhile, from clearly very-well drilled staff, was consistently gracious and attentive throughout.
The icing on the cake was the generously dimensioned entertainment screen – it measures 15.4in (the screen sizes are even bigger – 18 inches – in the A350 Delta One cabin).
And there really is no need to take your own headphones if you’re flying Delta One because your ears are treated to Hi-Fi quality sound thanks to a free pair of LSTN headphones, which have an eye-catching hipster faux-wooden veneer.
The extra icing on top of the icing was the Wi-Fi. I paid £20 for access that lasted for the duration of the flight – the free service option only permits messaging via WhatsApp, iMessage and Facebook Messenger – and was amazed by how fast it was.
I landed with a post-pampering grin and it wasn’t about to be wiped off my face by the dreaded U.S customs experience, because we were escorted through by a Delta agent.
This service costs around $250 and means you’re whisked to the front of the queue and given help with luggage. We were told that celebrities and royalty use this service regularly.
We had a car seat, buggy, travel cot, a huge heavy suitcase and two carry-on bags, so this was a truly golden moment on the journey.
Our agent, Derek, once we’d emerged into arrivals then helped me make an Uber booking and even assisted with loading the luggage into the car.
On the journey back – an overnight flight that took off on a Saturday and landed at Heathrow on Sunday morning (my girlfriend took our one business class seat) – I was in economy on get-baby-to-sleep duty.
On the return trip to London Ted sat in the ‘Comfort+’ section, pictured. This is the top tier economy seat on Delta flights
Before we boarded we put her in her pyjamas in the moderately stylish – but antiseptically lit – Delta One lounge (Sky Club), charged our phones, shared a complimentary glass of sauvignon blanc and nibbled some pasta from the buffet.
Our 10-month-old got a lie-flat bed in both directions in the form of a bassinet that was attached to the economy/first-class divider at the front of the main cabin (the bulkhead).
So she was sorted.
Dad had more of a struggle.
My seat was the top economy seat, which we paid £714.20 for – known as a Delta Comfort+ seat.
It comes with some handy extra touches – priority boarding and extra legroom, for instance.
I could actually stretch right out.
The fodder was also pretty good. For dinner I opted for seared rosemary chicken breast fillet with oven roasted red-skinned potatoes, broccoli florets and petite Parisian served with salad, bread and dessert.
I chose red wine to quaff with it.
Verdict? It wasn’t as tasty as it sounds in writing but the chicken was very succulent indeed and the red wine, for an economy offering, really not bad at all.
Other pluses in Comfort+ included a comfortable seat, a fairly decent entertainment screen (nine inches) and the service, while not Delta One style, was admirable. I felt well looked after.
You’ve seen the business class chicken dinner, now behold the economy version. Plus points were the wine and the quality of the chicken. But the tray it was served on slid alarmingly around the tray-table, Ted writes
I was given a pillow and blanket, too – standard economy quality though, no-where near as luxurious as the slumber-baiting Delta One offering by Westin Heavenly – and an amenity kit containing toothpaste, an eye mask and earplugs.
You get a ‘hot towel’, too. Though technically it’s a warm serviette. In Delta One you’re given an actual hot towel, naturally.
Niggles, however, presented themselves. The cabin seemed quite hot to me and the air vent above me was hard to reach from a sitting position and I couldn’t really feel the air flow.
The meal was tricky to tackle, too, because it came on a tray that slid alarmingly around the fold-away table.
And the free earphones, sorry Delta, were diabolical, producing a thin, tinny sound.
But then, I’ve yet to experience economy class earphones offered by any airline that weren’t.
And that’s why I always pack in-ear Sennheiser’s. So all was well on the sonic front.
The other downside to the return flight was more troubling – I didn’t get a wink of sleep. I never can sleep sitting up though so Delta remains blameless for this. And I forgot my travel pillow.
About an hour from London breakfast was served but my baby daughter woke up and needed feeding just as it arrived so I’m afraid I can’t comment on it other than to say that it looked nice and the coffee, which I gulped down as the wailing threatened to crescendo, was smooth.
My partner, meanwhile, had clocked up four solid hours sleep on her lie-flat bed and slept so soundly she missed breakfast.
And maybe that tells you all you need to know about Delta One. Dreamy.
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