Inside the Beekman Hotel, luxury meets history

- A few years ago, New York was at risk of losing a beautiful piece of its history. One of the city's original skyscrapers was falling apart in the Financial District. Then someone saw its potential and renovated it. The building not only serves as a luxury hotel, it is also a portal into the city's past.

As soon as you walk into the Beekman Hotel, you get the sense that you're walking back in time. From the tile marble floor to the antique rugs flanking the reception desk, this place feels special -- and it is.

For starters, the site is historic. Prior to the construction of this building in 1881, the site hosted Shakespeare's first New York production of "Hamlet." Then it became Clinton Hall, where writers Edgar Allan Poe and Mark Twain honed their craft. It is also where NYU launched its inaugural classes.

Irish businessman Eugene Kelly built the current structure in 1882. It was renamed Temple Court.

The city designated the exterior of the building a landmark in 1998. Three years ago, the building was restored to its former glory. As a hotel, it has a lot to offer with 287 guestrooms, including two penthouse suites in the turrets of the building.

If you think of the Beekman as a beautiful piece of jewelry, then the atrium and skylight can easily be considered the crown jewel. Anyone who comes inside spends a lot of time looking up.

The Beekman is flanked by two high-end restaurants with a little something for everyone: Keith McNally's Augustine and Tom Colicchio's Fowler and Wells.

Whether you eat here or just come for cocktails, like Libby Duke, the Beekman is shaping up to be a new downtown destination. She works nearby and she and a colleague come for drinks every Wednesday night. They call it the "Midweek Beek."

Groundbreaking from the start, the Beekman is a unique slice of New York not to be missed.

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