The Wall Street Hotel Bridges Tradition and Modernity in New York City
Two years in the making, the new luxury offering between Water and Pearl is finally open
It’s not often that you find “serenity,” “coastal living” and “New York City” in the same sentence, but an Australian pearling family is seeking to change that with Wall Street’s newest luxury hotel.
Aptly named The Wall Street Hotel for its locale, set between Water and Pearl Streets, the newly opened 180-room hotel introduces a new style to the traditionally chaotic, boisterous bustle of downtown — one that’s softer, subtler and exponentially more spacious. With five room categories and five suite categories, guest accommodations start at 280-square-feet for a king range and size up to 1245-square-feet for the three bedroom option, emulating more of a pied-a-terre than simply a place to sleep.
Unmissable thanks to the golden flag that waves above the entrance to the ornamental building — a standout among the more modern skyscrapers of the neighborhood —The Wall Street Hotel certainly makes a first impression. Following a vibrant greeting, an eccentric mix of color and pattern connects the intimate lobby (it feels more like a residential reception area), to the adjacent bar, the Lounge on Pearl. With jade green carpets that pop against a monotone skyline and animal-print sofas and rosy banquettes that welcome guests to lounge for either a morning coffee or an evening digestif, the Lounge on Pearl combines the aesthetic of an old-school gentleman’s club with the colorful flair of a modern lounge, simultaneously providing a little something for everyone.
But the whimsical, artsy pops of color are totally contained to Lounge on Pearl. The guest rooms, by contrast, are styled in muted neutrals, offering a soothing respite from the city streets.
“The differences between the more energetic and eclectic style of the Lounge on Pearl and the calming, serene energy of the guest rooms really comes from our desire to provide two key offerings to guests — a comfortable and tranquil place to stay as well as a lively cultural and social hub for entertaining and connection both for our guests and members of the community,” James Paspaley, hotel owner and executive director of the Paspaley Group of companies tells InsideHook. “While different, these two spaces fit together, woven together by similar themes, such as the residential influence, Australian Aboriginal artworks, mix of pattern and texture and of course pearl accents.”
The Wall Street Hotel project began in the late 1980s, when the Paspaley family purchased the estate of Allan Gerdau, which included the former Tontine Building. For 70 years, dating back to the early 20th century, Gerdau ran an empirical import-export business, considered the biggest importer of mother-of-pearl in the world. At the time, the majority of this shiny commodity came from Australian oysters by way of the Paspaley family, who established their pearling business in 1919 and shipped directly to Gerdau’s warehouse — a 14-story Beaux Arts building on Wall Street, that now comprises part of The Wall Street Hotel.
It is this raveled history that helps guests understand and appreciate the intricacies of the design and decor throughout the hotel, like the black-and-white portraits of the Paspaley family’s early days on pearling ships that line the hallways to the guest rooms, the mother-of-pearl sheen tucked into the tiles of the bathroom floor and even the aforementioned Aboriginal artworks.
“The [art] collection ties back to the hotel’s spirit, its Australian legacy and is a glimpse into the incredible talent of these artists whose works are exhibited in leading institutions around the world,” says Paspaley, explaining that the collection comes from a partnership with Australia’s APY Art Centre Collective, a group of Aboriginal art studios, and focuses on a variety of themes, including homecoming, travel and water.
“These pieces by acclaimed artists are not only beautiful and contemporary, but help to shine a light on these communities and their stories,” Paspaley adds before singling out the featured, leading Indigenous artists: Betty Muffler, Tjapaganti George and the late Peter Mungkuri and Wawiriya Burton.
Rose Ink Workshop, a creative firm that specializes in hospitality interiors, worked alongside the Paspaley family to integrate these unique pieces into every room and to bring the interior vision to life by drawing inspiration from the nuanced family history, as well as the building’s past. The plush velvets in the lobby and the hand-detailed finishings in the guest rooms are meant to portray a timeless design that’s further emphasized by the double-height ceilings and reworked original features of the historic building by the architectural team at Stonehill Taylor.
“The design teams set out to achieve a careful balance of approachability, polish, comfort and radiance. Public spaces and guest rooms alike feel welcoming and residential. The interiors pay tribute to the building’s history and architecture yet remain relevant to the here-and-now,” says Paspaley.
In addition to the first floor’s Lounge on Pearl, on the other side of the reception is La Marchande. Helmed by Michelin-starred chef John Fraser and executive chef Rick Horiike, the Parisian brasserie takes a modern approach to the often rich, heavy sauces of traditional French cuisine, opting for the likes of broth and vinaigrettes instead.
“La Marchande is heavily influenced by the idea of a global pantry — an ode to the area’s proximity to the Seaport and original center of trade — where chefs would have first discovered a plethora of new ingredients, spices and influences arriving in port each day,” explains Paspaley.
“Even the name pays homage to this heritage as well as the hotel’s female muse — the French ‘La Marchande’ translates to female merchant,” he adds.
Of course, homage to the industry responsible for this storied building is paid in the form of an oyster- and raw-bar, outfitted completely in mother-of-pearl and tucked into the corner of the restaurant. In the surrounding area, there are a number of cozy nooks from which to settle in and enjoy said oysters, including semi-private dining areas, sectioned off by raised platforms and plush curtains.
“We want to breathe new life into downtown and strengthen the reinvention and resurgence of this historic, important and endlessly fascinating neighborhood, with which we have become completely enamored,” says Paspaley. “The hotel is meant to not only be a place to stay for travelers of all kinds but as a social center and meeting place for the community, much as the previous residents of this location did hundreds of years ago.”
While it may be the newest kid on the block, The Wall Street Hotel doesn’t need to prove to anyone that it belongs here. It already does.
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