Under the Stars

Boutique hotel breathes new life into city’s landmark

The perks of running a magazine are often misinterpreted as a life lush with complimentary dishes and drinks, tickets to every show, and so on and so forth.

Mostly? It’s just sitting at a desk hoping that all your stories and photos line up at the right time.

But every once in awhile, the clouds part on your iCal, and an email arrives that will lead to one of those rare times where you get to do something special.

Yes, in fact, I would like to spend a night in Leveque Tower. It’s an offer I couldn’t refuse, and now for a few hundred bucks a night, you can take in the impressive art deco luxury of the city’s most famous building—one that, most people don’t know‚ has spent a large part of its modern years mostly vacant.

Now, with the new 10-floor Hotel Leveque, a new venture from Marriott’s Autograph collection, the structure that once was the fifth tallest building in the world, has a revitalized purpose.

“It’s basically a rebirth,” said Michael Shannon, the hotel’s director of sales and marketing. “This building is alive again.”

Shannon took us (and now we take you!) on a tour of the new facility, the capstone of  a multi-million dollar renovation to what was just added to the Architectural Digest’s Top 10  Art Deco Buildings in the World.

The team at Hotel Leveque didn’t have to do much reinvention when it came to the look of the hotel. It’s art deco, all-day. Tiles, furniture, artwork—every piece of the hotel (other than the main floor Starbucks) looks plucked from the 1930s, when the Leveque was the tallest building between NYC and Chicago.

Literally one of the first American skyscrapers, The Leveque was thought to “touch the sky,” which is alluded to in the many stars and half-moons featured on the building’s terra cotta exterior.  Hotel Leveque was built on that celestial theme, from the chandelier above the lobby, to the astrology-themed decor you’ll find in most rooms. (There’s even a turndown service that lights up constellations on the ceiling above the bed—sleeping under the stars!)

Fun fact about a new hotel in an old, unique building: you kind of have to design around the structure’s bones, which resulted in a bit of serendipity: every room in Hotel Leveque is a unique design, 33 variations in total. “You’ll never stay in the same room twice,” Shannon says. In total, the hotel features six suites, all stacked on top of one another, which Shannon expects to be a target of Red, White, and Boom fans for their view of the Scioto. The bathrooms are perhaps the hotel’s most consistent feature, featuring impeccable tilework, incredibly spacious showers, and as a nice local touch—free grooming products from Columbus’s Cliff Original.

While the restaurant is slated to open its doors later this summer, overnight guests and anyone in Columbus can amble up the steps to hotel’s second-floor bar, The Keep. In Shannon’s words, “the new traveler is looking for adventure and experience,” and they can find plenty at The Keep, which, along with finely crafted cocktails comes the feeling you’ve snuck into a little secret spot.

The arrival desk is a good mix of all the things that separate Hotel Leveque from your average fancy hotel. From valet to bellman to check-in, I’m greeted by a different person each time, yet they speak to me with knowledge of something from my background. Shannon later tells me this is what they call “tough points.” Other little touches: Their uniforms have been designed by local fashion designer Liz Bourgeois. With just 149 rooms, Shannon boasts that such a small guest list enables them to do other things larger hotels can’t. “If you became a regular here, we’d know you like Diet Coke,” he says.

For more information about Hotel LeVeque, visit bit.ly/2qdq0K1.

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Travis Hoewischer

I've been working in journalism in central Ohio for more than a decade, and have been lucky enough to be a part of (614) Magazine since the very first issue. Proud to live in a city that still cares – and still reads.

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