The Beekman hotel, New York: Temple Court transformed

When Temple Court was unveiled in Lower Manhattan in 1883, its most dazzling feature was a soaring nine-storey atrium topped by a pyramidal skylight. The red brick Queen Anne-style building was a replica of a London property of the same name and featured Victorian cast iron railings, balustrades and turrets.

When Thompson Hotels unveiled its plans to transform the decaying property into a luxury hotel, the biggest challenge was preserving this architectural legacy. They brought in New York architects Gerner Kronick + Valcarcel who, together with interior designer Martin Brudnizki, have graciously returned the property to its former glory.

All 287 rooms have custom-designed oak beds and leather headboards with sateen Sferra linens. Bathrooms are smothered in Carrara marble and feature exclusive toiletries by Brooklyn-based perfume house D.S. & Durga. There are quirky touches, too, such as a mini-bar modelled on an old-fashioned drinks trolley.

Continuing the trend of celebrity chefs teaming up with luxury hotels, The Beekman will soon unveil two restaurants by James Beard Award winners. Tom Colicchio will be in charge of Fowler & Wells, which will showcase modern American cuisine, while legendary New York restaurateur Keith McNally (of Balthazar, Pastis and Minetta Tavern fame) will open Augustine, a brasserie-style restaurant focusing on French classics.

Lower Manhattan has been enjoying a wonderful, well-overdue renaissance during the last decade and The Beekman – which opened on August 23 – could well be the icing on the cake.

Rooms from $US619;