Back in my retail buying days I spent tons of time in the city, and was always up to date on where to eat and stay. These days, I’m feeling like a bit of a country bumpkin, so I made a few quick trips into the city to see what’s new. If you’re heading in for holiday shopping, theater and museum hopping here’s a short list of where to stay. The Beekman Oh, The Beekman. This brand new hotel in a landmark building has been restored to well beyond its former glory. Centered around an atrium that charges nine floors up to a skylit roof, the entrance is pure drama. Like a tourist in Times Square, you and everyone else will be craning your neck to see the intricate wrought iron railings lining the upper floors. Upstairs, the rooms reminded me of The Nomad and no wonder, it’s the same designers behind the scenes. Simple, yet beautifully outfitted with every comfort at hand, from the marble-clad bath to the mini bar stocked with artisanal treats, and the heavyweight Beekman ballpoint which made its way into my bag. While neither of the eagerly anticipated restaurants were open yet on my visit (Keith McNally’s August and Tom Colicchio’s Fowler & Wells), the lobby bar was a cozy place to hang out despite the soaring ceiling. Draped in velvet, tassels, and portraits, it reminded me of long evenings spent in the classic lobby of the Algonquin before the renovation squeezed the personality out of it. I’m always looking for a respite from city life when I’m racing around NYC and I certainly found one here. While it’s far downtown, more Tribeca than Soho, the Fulton subway stop is just around the corner, you’ve got the shops of Soho at your feet, and a short jaunt to the ginormous new mall at the World Trade Center (Saks, Paul Smith, Diane Von Furstenberg, Theory, Vince and more…but save this one for a rainy day). Glamour like this doesn’t come cheap, but I got in at a presale rate. Check around for rates and dates. www.thompsonhotels.com/hotels/the-beekman 11 Howard After The Beekman I worried I’d find every other hotel a bit blah in comparison. And I’m sad to say it, but the brand new 11 Howard was. This is the sort of minimalist hipster hotel that you love or hate. There’s just a table for check in, in an otherwise blank lobby, and I always find the lack of a counter, though trendy, a little confusing. Who’s working here and where are they? The room itself was perfectly nice, but TEENY. I reserved a double-double for my husband, daughter, and me for two nights and let’s just say we barely made it. I have bruises on both shins from navigating between the sharp wooden corners on the bed frame and slice of desk to the bathroom, and a standard carry-on wouldn’t make the passage. BUT, and it’s a big one: the bed was the most comfortable I’ve ever slept on. Period. If not for the faint rumbling of the subway shaking the building regularly (and we were on the 7th floor), I would say that was the best night’s sleep I’ve had in years. There’s more action on the second floor, with a happening bar that I hear is quite the hotspot (and a bear to get into), and a library that’s lovely for a cup of coffee (free) and a few hours work in the morning. If I was traveling alone I might stay here again because I warmed up to the place, but after The Beekman, it was disappointing. www.11howard.com The library at 11 Howard Photo Credit: 11 Howard Hotel Photo credit: 11 Howard Hotel You might also be interested in Shopping NYC and Eating NYC.