Think for a second: When’s the last time you heard any welcome news—news really worth celebrating—out of New York City’s Financial District? (Here’s a hint: it was likely back in the days when Lehman Brothers was considered a bastion of solvency.)
Once the epicenter of Manhattan’s high-rolling, fat-cat corporate culture, Wall Street has lately been in serious need of a boost. That’s why the opening of the Andaz Wall Street hotel earlier this month couldn’t have been better timed; finally, in their hour of need, both weary business visitors and beleaguered hometown financiers were granted a new sanctuary.
Though just three blocks from the New York Stock Exchange, the hotel (one of the Hyatt group’s small collection of boutique properties) appears to occupy its own cool, stress-free planet. Guests entering the spacious, David-Rockwell-designed lobby—with its bamboo-slatted walls, soaring windows, and curved marble staircase evoking a Richard Serra sculpture—are met by the serene vibe of an art gallery, along with warmly welcoming staffers (who can check you in while you lounge on a sleek leather couch or fix yourself a cappuccino at the free gourmet snack larder). Upstairs, the same airy, clean-lined aesthetic echoed in the 253 rooms, which are minimalist in a decidedly sexy way: swooping, plush nubuck chairs wide enough for two; slick platform beds with crisp white linens begging to be mussed; and extra-deep tubs viewable through a glass wall to the bedrooms. Even a day filled with packed commuter flights and irate shareholder meetings, it seems, could end well here.
There are plenty of indulgences here for the local crowd, as well. The hotel’s small spa offers quick, on-the-go facials and massages to nonguests (staffers will even give your shoes a fast shine while you’re blissing out in a treatment room); and the slick-yet-earthy Wall & Water restaurant (where the floor is make from recycled oak wine barrels, and the seasonal menu features Hudson Valley produce) promises an elegant, locally-sourced alternative to the neighborhood’s hoary client-dinner venues.
Perhaps best of all, though—because in these sobering times, who doesn’t need a drink?—is the Andaz’s newly unveiled cocktail lounge, Bar Seven Five. Here, beneath fabulous glass-teardrop-shaped ceiling lights, those needing liquid refreshment can gather at a series of black-lacquered communal tables, and partake in the artisanal libations created for the hotel by Alchemy Consulting (the team behind Chicago’s super-hot Violet Hour). This is no ordinary Jack-and-Coke wateringhole—rather, it’s where you can rest assured that the applejack in your signature 75 Smash (made with lemon, mint, and Fee Brothers’ bitters) comes from Laird’s, the oldest distillery in the U.S. The juices here are all fresh-squeezed, the syrups (like the ginger variety used in the classic Moscow Mule and Dark & Stormy) are homemade; even the humble seltzer—infused here with lemon, lavender, and neroli extracts—is created in house. As interim bar manager Troy Sidle explained, while demonstrating the proper way to pour a Tom Collins, “this is our way of tapping into Wall Street’s belle époque—of bringing the old Wall Street back.”
We’ll toast to that.
Guest blogger Sarah Gold is a freelance writer and editor, and a frequent contributor to TravelandLeisure.com