The Wall Street Hotel
Financial District, New York City
Elegantly Posh, $$$
If a tree grows in Brooklyn, a pearl has newly emerged on Wall Street.
New York City’s Financial District is continually trying to its shed banker-dominated ethos to become a vibrant and contemporary neighborhood in its own right — all the more so now that office towers don’t hold the same appeal they once did. A winning neighborhood formula starts with essentials, like apartment buildings and decent grocers, and adds extras, like destination restaurants, cultural offerings, attractions, and — why not? — a cute nickname. Another essential ingredient is a hotel that can draw visitors and locals. And with the opening of The Wall Street Hotel, FiDi has added a jewel to its crown.
The hotel is the first American foray for The Paspaley Group, the Australian, family-run company that’s been in the pearl industry for more than a century. They may have looked high and low to find a perfect location, but it’s hard to imagine an address more destiny-bound than the Tontine Building at the corner of Pearl and Wall Streets.
If you’re low on your early New York history, you might not know that the waters of New York harbor were once teeming with oyster beds. Until they were harvested to the point of depletion, those bivalves — some almost a foot in length — were a great (and cheap) food source and, when crushed, a handy (and shimmery) paving material for the area’s streets. (Pearl Street was built on the site of a Lenape shell pile.) In the centuries to follow, the Tontine Building functioned as a coffeehouse, trading post, hotel, and, in the 20th century, the headquarters for the world’s biggest importer of mother-of-pearl made from Australian oysters. Really, the Paspaley's almost couldn't go anywhere else.
So they dug into their current project, converting the shell they found into a stylish and elegant hotel that reflects both the area — most strikingly, a mural in the sumptuous lobby bar that envisions a playful NYC skyline — and the company's Australian roots — the Aboriginal art pieces commissioned for the rooms have travel themes interpreted by the artists. Pearls are of course a motif, as seen in the oyster-shaped keychains behind the reception desk, in the pearlescent room palette (creams, blues, aquas), in the shell tile patterns, and, of course, the seafood towers served at Le Marchande, the in-house restaurant. A diamond in the rough? Hardly. A well-formed pearl in the harbor.
At a Glance
The Vibe: Restrained, lively elegance, with a subtle seafaring edge.
Standout Detail: The lobby bar, Lounge on Pearl, is a cozy and sophisticated destination full of visual candy: patterned textiles on the sofas and chairs and a wraparound mural that envisions a real and imaginary NYC skyline and waterside.
This Place Is Perfect For: Well-heeled guests who need to be in the Financial District but are allergic to all aspects of banker bro culture.
Feel-Good Factor: The Australian Aboriginal artwork commissioned for the hotel is the result of a partnership with the APY Art Centre Collective, which supports artists and cultural custodians in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara lands in central Australia. The hotel is also an official partner of Billion Oyster Project, the nonprofit working to restore oyster reefs throughout New York Harbor to help replenish the waterways and create a healthier aquatic ecosystem in the area. (Read more about BOP on Fathom: Heroes on the Half Shell: How Oysters Will Save the Planet.)
Rooms: 180 rooms, including four suites, are spacious, decorated in warm shades of whites and blues. Seriously: you’ll feel like you’re living inside a cozy oyster shell, if oyster shells came with Smart TVs, Bang & Olufsen speakers, heated bathroom floors, and Acqua Di Parma toiletries. Connecting rooms are also available.
Food + Drink: Lounge on Pearl serves an all-day menu of snacks (mushroom spring rolls, Carolina shrimp cocktail), salads, and a club sandwich. The in-house restaurant, La Marchande, delivers a fresh take on a French brasserie, with lighter fare (tartares, carpaccio) and Asian influences (miso, shiso). Because both restaurants are overseen by chef John Fraser (a longtime Fathom favorite), vegetables enjoy their turn in the spotlight (the “steak” is maitake with a vegan au poivre sauce). The Industry Table, an initiative at all Fraser restaurants, allows the dining industry to enjoy the meal at significantly reduced rates.
Also On Site: In addition to the restaurant and ground floor lounge, the hotel has a spacious, well-equipped gym that’s open 24 hours every day. The top floor, available for private events, includes a bar, capacious and flexible space, and a rooftop terrace. The private dining room is an intimate space notable for its massive tapestry.
What to Do Nearby
We're not talking about Wall Street bankers, right? So let's steer you to more interesting attractions nearby: Overstory bar on the 64th floor of the landmarked Art Deco building 70 Pine, as well as Crown Shy restaurant on the ground floor. South Street Seaport has become a downtown HQ for top NYC chefs: Andrew Carmellini at Carne Mare, David Chang at Momofuku Ssäm, and Jean-Georges Vongrichten, who's behind The Fulton and Tin Building, which is like a French Eataly. Ipic and Alamo Drafthouse offers a big-screen movie-and-dinner experiences a step up from Netflix on your sofa. Head to the tip of Manhattan to visit National Museum of the American Indian and The Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust for permanent and rotating exhibitions. When the skyscrapers get too much, find an unexpected spot of greenery at 55 Water Street at The Elevated Acre or escape to a day spa in the city, QC NY Spa on Governor's Island, a quick ferry ride away.