A nine-storey Victorian atrium with a majestic pyramid skylight at the top. This is the first thing that strikes you as you enter The Beekman, a famous building that dates back to 1881. The historic monument in the city of New York, which officially achieved landmark status in 1998, is situated in the new downtown – an area that has recently been redeveloped –, near the Hudson River, and is surrounded by the most iconic attractions in the city, such as Brooklyn Bridge, the World Trade Center, South Street Seaport and City Hall. This masterpiece, which was one of the city’s first skyscrapers, returned to life last September. The building was returned to its former glory and it was converted into a hotel and residence. This giant operation involved the collaboration of a number of players on many different fronts. Firstly, Thompson Hotel, a company that specializes in luxury lifestyle for a select clientele, renowned for its portfolio of top-class hotels and now the manager of the complex. Next, Gerner Kronick + Valcarcel, Architects PC, the award-winning firm responsible for the delicate restoration work. The process involved both the external structure, built in the Queen Anne style that typifies certain London buildings and made from granite, Philadelphia red brick and burnished Dorchester stone, which had fortunately remained intact, and the internal structure, from which cast iron railings and balustrades were recovered, as well as wall supports in the form of dragons, also made from cast iron. Last but not least, Martin Brudnizki Design Studio (MBDS) took enormous care over the interior design, conscious of the need to preserve the beauty and memory of the place in all its 287 rooms, including 38 suites and 2 duplex penthouses with private roof terraces. “The main challenge,” the firm explains, “was to stay faithful to the building’s history, to honor its materials by giving it a new lease of life. Every project is devoted to functionality, to meet the needs of the guests, while being simultaneously luxurious. For example, every lighting fixture in the bedrooms, which also serves as a decoration, is dimmable and there is a rotating mini-bar, reminiscent of Victorian aesthetics, with a base that is hand-made from an antique table, with the addition of a thick patterned cloth and a silver tray as a top, which is bedecked with bottles and spirits.”
At the reception, in the middle of the breath-taking atrium that is bathed in natural light entering from ‘the crown’ (the skylight), there is an extravagant desk covered with kilim rugs, “a way of mixing old and new.” Rugs that date back to the period when the building was constructed.
And since The Beekman boasts an important cultural heritage, guests can also enjoy an art collection curated by Katherine Gass, which consists of 60 works by emerging American and international artists. Meanwhile, two talents have joined forces to delight the palate: chef Tom Colicchio and restaurant creator Keith McNally.
Client: Two Roads Hospitality
Developer: GFI Development Company
Management: Thompson Hotels
Architectural design: Gerner Kronick + Valcarcel, Architects PC
Interior design: Martin Brudnizki Design Studio (MBDS)
Furnishings: on design by Martin Brudnizki Design Studio (MBDS)