Overnight: Gild Hall
Raise your hand if you love staycations & Italian food. 🙋
If the answer is yes, then you definitely need to book a stay at Gild Hall (a Thompson Hotel). This boutique hotel, located in the heart of the financial district, is just blocks away from the newly opened Eataly Downtown and it also houses one of the best Italian restaurants in the city, Felice. I had the luxury of enjoying a little staycation in the city that I love, and let me tell you, it didn’t disappoint.
The lobby itself feels like you walked into the world’s coolest man cave. There’s plenty of worn leather chairs to rest on after a long day, a game of chess on the coffee table to keep you occupied until check in, an antler chandelier hanging from the ceiling, and a whole library of books to discover. The light wood-paneled walls are a stark contrast to the rest of the space. I checked in a bit early and was able to sneak into my room before meeting up with my other fellow bloggers.
When the elevator doors opened up onto the 6th floor hallway, I immediately thought of the TV show Twin Peaks. I felt like I was actually in the Red Room at the Black Lodge for a second (in a good way). The floors were lined with a bright red, black, and orange hexagonal patterned rug and half of the walls were painted red. I was just waiting for a tiny little man with a crazy synthesized voice to walk around the corner.
My room, however, had the complete opposite aesthetic. It was more reminiscent of the lobby – lots of dark brown, grey, and navy tones contrasted with fun wallpaper and modern furniture. The very first thing I noticed was the high ceiling and giant leather headboard (redesigned by Jim Walrod). The bathroom was light and airy and the room itself was a decent size for being a boutique hotel. I dropped off my bags and made my way to Eataly Downtown to meet up with the gang.
let's talk cheese
Fifteen minutes later (I got lost, BIG SHOCKER), I arrived at Westfield Shopping Center, where Eataly Downtown spans the entire top floor. Now, this is definitely an Italian lovers dream come true. Not only can you eat at one of their many restaurants but there’s a section for almost everything including a gelato station (with rose on tap), a focacceria, and a cheese counter. Speaking of cheese, stop by and say hi to Eric Schack. He’s the Salumi Formaggi Assistant Manager and he knows all about the 500 types of cheeses that are stocked year round. We tasted all kinds of delicious seasonal bites like Buffalo Ricotta (which may be the best bite of cheese I’ve ever had). Also, did you know that ricotta is not really a cheese? It’s a cheese product because it’s actually formed from the weight of a previous batch of cheese. Also since cheese starts with grass as a base, it’s actually better to pair it with beer rather than wine. 🍻 #themoreyouknow
Next, we got a close up look at “cracking” the cheese. This is when a wheel of cheese is opened up for the first time. We happened upon an eager employee handling a 100 lb. Gran Padano (similar to Parmigiano Reggiano). He used various flat knives (that’s a technical term, right?) to slowly break it open from both sides. Once it cracked open, the smell of fresh cheese was too enticing not to reach out and taste.
Pencils up! ✏️
Up next, we got a glimpse into Eataly's Foodiversita (Food University). Customers of all ages can stop in for a live demonstration and tastings around a kitchen table. You can even take an interactive class with Education Manager Ryan Gormely. We were lucky enough to learn how to make Eataly founder Oscar Farinetti’s favorite pasta – Agnolotti - from scratch. In fact, we found out that when Farinetti visits various Eatalys around the world, he measures the store success by the taste and texture of this very pasta. The space itself is breathtaking, with tons of natural light coming from the floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook the 9/11 Memorial.
🍝 Ravioli time
It was finally time to try the goods. We walked over to I Ravioli, New York City’s first ravioli bar. I opted for their seasonal menu item: Piselli. The pea, mint, and Pecorino Romano with asparagus filling combined all too well with Eataly’s trademark Parmigiano Reggiano sauce. A glass of rose paired perfectly with this dish while my eyes caught a glimpse of the gelato station located next door. A scoop of traditional cioccalato was just what the Dr. ordered. It’s hard not to leave this place with a full stomach with so many great foodie options. You can also go home with all of your favorite pastas, olive oils, produce, and cookbooks from their Italian market section. Keep your eyes peeled for the green bags of Afeltra Bianca, the Italian line of dry pasta that’s not only made with 100% Italian grains but it’s packaging is 100% biodegradable. Who knew you could make packaging out of discarded apple cores? Hint: It's the green bag.
penthouse & Cocktail hour🍸🍸🍸🍸🍸🍸🍸🍸
We rolled ourselves out of Eataly and made our way back to Gild Hall. The penthouse, in fact. We were treated to Aperol Spritzes (it was happy hour after all) as we explored what this massive room had to offer. The natural bright light emanating from outside is what made the room twinkle with delight. The 850 square foot suite had an open dining and lounge area with a wet bar for entertaining. The marble floor bathroom adjacent to the bedroom was my definitely my favorite part (there’s also another bathroom by the dining area). I couldn’t resist trying on one of their comfy terrycloth robes and trying out the shower. Okay, I didn’t really try the shower but I did walk through it with a towel wrapped around my head (for effect). The bathtub also looked especially welcoming…🛀.
eat, drink & carbo load
After a cocktail (or three), it was time for dinner! I know, I know, I just inhaled a plate of pasta and gelato but when there’s a restaurant like Felice downstairs, you don’t say no. This sophisticated Tuscan eatery offers authentic Italian fare and modern cocktails like a Negroni that comes with a giant ice cube made out of Campari. The ristorante also makes its own line of superb wine – the rose was a great addition with dinner. Highights on the dinner menu included the Burrata with green pea puree, sautéed snow peas, and roasted pearl onions, the Pappardelle alla Salsiccia, and, of course, their traditional Tiramisu for dessert. Gluten-free eaters will be happy to know that they offer plenty of GF pasta dishes so you can indulge in the same level of deliciousness. I also couldn’t stop nibbling on their Biscottini Sant Ambroeus (assorted butter cookies from their sister restaurant, Sant Abroeus). Although it was time to retire, a few of us decided to grab a champagne night cap over at the lobby bar. Upon returning to my room, I noticed a little box with my name on it. Inside were even more Biscottini Sant Abroeus, which I fully enjoyed first thing in the morning (like any good Italian would do, right?).
I nestled into my enormous king-sized bed, watched some good cheesy reality show television up on the big screen, and slept a full 8 hours before waking up to another glorious day in NYC. If you have the chance to stay in the Financial District, I highly recommend Gild Hall. The friendly service, amazing food & drinks, and the easy access to special places like Eataly make this boutique hotel numero uno in my book.
Need even more reasons to check out thompson hotel's gild hall?
Now through September 30th, you can enjoy a summer Italian package with up to 20% off their best rate and a $50 credit toward food and beverage. Plus, you can discover their Tuscan wine and curated charcuterie from Felice Ristorante & Wine Bar (or get it to-go for a NYC picnic). Viva L'Italia! 🇮🇹
⚓ Red Hook Local Makers Experience Package
⛵ Historic South Street Seaport Summer Package
🏩 Stay 4 Nights, Save 15% Hotel Special
🍳 Bed and Breakfast
💸 Non Refundable Offer
15 Gold St.
New York, NY 10038