By Lisa Loverro
It doesn’t get any more stylish than the Benjamin Hotel in midtown Manhattan. With its central location on 50th Street and Lexington Avenue this understated New York hotel caters primarily to the business traveler– super easy for hailing a taxi or jumping on the subway when running late to a meeting. But while the business traveler will enjoy easy access to mass transit, the leisure traveler will surely delight in the hotel’s in-house spa, fitness center and steam room…as I discovered on a recent overnight stay.
The story of this hotel dates back to its owner, Benjamin Denihan, who rose up from small business owner of laundry and dry cleaning shops to hotelier. Slowly growing his empire, Denihan became a visionary and entrepreneur in the real estate market and later, the hotel industry. In 1999, the Denihan family acquired the Emery Roth-designed building on East 50th Street and named the hotel in honor of the company’s founder.
Upon my arrival, the attentive staff was almost overshadowed by enormous opulent mirrors gracing the lobby walls and a lovely arrangement of cherry blossoms summoning the arrival of springtime in Manhattan. Above the reception desk a beautiful portrait of Benjamin Denihan silently welcomes you into his “home.” All of their 209 rooms, ranging from an intimate 250 square feet to a sprawling 1,620 square foot VIP Suite, have added touches of modern comfort. Ipod stations, flat screen TVs and kitchenettes are standard here. My room, a luxury one bedroom also had a wrap around terrace, large living room and a kitchenette with a fridge to rival most found in NYC apartments. For a midtown hotel, I found the noise level surprisingly quiet.
And at the Benjamin, sleep and comfort is of the upmost importance. So much so that I found an entire sleep menu next to my bed with amenities to ensure a peaceful slumber. From white noise machines to a pillow menu (I ordered the “satin beauty” recommended for those who sleep on their side), The Benjamin realizes the importance of a good night’s sleep, in a city that never does. The hotel enjoys a lively after-work crowd at the lounge located in The National Restaurant which is better know for the fine dining cuisine under the direction of acclaimed chef, Geoffrey Zakarian(and who graced Resident’s cover in January).
The Benjamin Hotel, which had not previously been on my radar, is now top of my list for not only visiting business associates and out of town friends, but a great place to pop in for a cocktail after a stressful day.