Associate editor Cathy Carroll visited The Benjamin Hotel,
which opened in April. Her report follows.
NEW YORK -- The cool, creamy lotion the spa therapist stroked on
my face smelled good enough to eat. "That's because there is tahini
in it," said the therapist at the Woodstock Spa & Wellness
Center, which is one of several distinguishing features of The
Benjamin, Manhattan's newest all-suite hotel.
The ingredients of all the products she would use in the next
seven steps of the facial are made up of herbs and flowers grown
organically -- without the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides
or insecticides -- in southern Australia, she said.
Many of the products are shipped in glass containers to protect
their purity, she added, her soft voice as calming as the gentle,
new-age music that played in the treatment room.
Presumably any guest here would marvel and welcome the contrast
of the spa with the taxi-screeching, bus exhaust-filled streets
just outside this midtown oasis. This is one of the reasons
Manhattan East Suite Hotels, New York's largest all-suite hotel
group, is betting The Benjamin will gain an edge in attracting
corporate chief executive officers who are visiting the city.
Located on the corner of East 50th Street and Lexington Avenue,
The Benjamin, Manhattan East's first four-star executive suite
hotel, is on the site of the former Hotel Beverly, and has 209
rooms, including 97 one-bedroom suites and a deluxe two-bedroom
Brooke Barrett, one of six partners who own and manage Manhattan
East, said high-level executives today value spas as much as
fitness centers. For business travelers, it is an effective
solution to a major concern: alleviating stress during a business
trip, she said.
This is not idle pampering. The Woodstock Spa and Wellness
Center is known for its progressive treatments and holistic
philosophy, according to Manhattan East. The offerings on the spa
menu, from an in-room massage for jet-lag recovery to the
"gentleman's facial" and aromatherapy foot bath, are touted as
valuable ways of "rebalancing, destressing and detoxing," according
to the spa's owner and operator, Paul Woodstock, who is based at
The Benjamin property.
Woodstock, who created the Woodstock Spa & Wellness Center
in East Norwich, N.Y., said he used to be a frequent business
traveler and knows how to remedy the effects of such stress. The
24-hour fitness center offers personal training sessions, yoga
instruction, strength training and cardiovascular exercise
The $30 million refurbishment also included the installation of
a high-tech communications system and the restoration of details
that highlight the original design of architect Emery Roth.
The suites have executive desks, ergonomic desk chairs, two-line
phones with voice mail, dataports, a separate line for a
combination fax/printer/copy machine and high-speed Internet
The furnishings here create an atmosphere that is difficult to
achieve: warmth as well as stylishness. All of the suites have
sitting areas and fully equipped galleys with refrigerators,
microwave ovens, coffeemakers, dishware and utensils, minibars and
complimentary coffee and teas. Other amenities include Bose Wave
radios with an alarm; custom-designed mattresses; Frette robes,
cotton sheets and down-filled duvets, and Judith Jackson
aromatherapy bath products.
A selection of about a dozen types of pillows are offered
ranging from gel-filled and hypo-allergenic options to water-filled
and buckwheat varieties. A magnetic therapy pillow is standard in
every room in addition to the hotel's down pillow.
Chef Larry Forgione's An American Place restaurant, which has
won awards for its new American cuisine, is scheduled to open at
the hotel this summer. Meeting, conference and catering facilities
accommodate 10 to 110 people.
Rates begin at $320 per night, double, for superior guest rooms
and reach $775 for a two-bedroom suite. Special weekend rates start
at $229 per night, double, for a superior guest room and $299 for a
Phone: (212) 320-8002 or (888)-4-BENJAMIN.