Written by Amelia Jeffers
Photography by James Henthorn
Earlier this summer, I found myself in need of a getaway and decided to try to soothe my restless spirit with a night at Le Méridien Columbus, The Joseph. I walked away from the mini staycation feeling recharged and having a new appreciation for the city I sometimes take for granted. A relaxing few nights at this decidedly European gem is a solid recommendation to anyone looking for an indulgent escape from reality.
Located in the vibrant Short North District, The Joseph is a luxury hotel, a modern art gallery, a sumptuous spa, an artisanal restaurant, oh, and a coffee shop-slash-bar that just may have been designed with heavenly input. It feels like nowhere else in Columbus. The modern, light-filled rooms are comfortable and chic, and the service is impeccable. Truly, from the moment we were greeted at the valet stand through the delectable surprise left in our room (delectable, artisan eclairs created in partnership with James Beard award-winning pastry chef Johnny Iuzzini exclusively for Le Meridien), our short visit was marked by memorable, remarkable service.
After dropping our bags, our group headed to the lobby for Friday evening happy hour, complete with live music, a cozy fire and a whiskey tasting. Quickly unwinding, I headed up to one of the unique spa suites where I was treated to a wonderful massage and facial. To really appreciate all that The Joseph has to offer, it is necessary to book a spa service. The generous rooms include a walk in shower with a heated, mosaic tile bed complete with rainfall; soaking tub overlooking downtown; and adjacent lounge area with comfortable couches. Guests are accompanied to and from the spa suite, with extra time allotted for personal enjoyment of the space. Professional aestheticians, massage therapists and first-rate attendants will rebuild you body and soul. The availability of the spa suites and services is not dependent upon an overnight stay - a notable point for anyone seeking an under-the-radar, intimate alternative to the usual spa experience.
Speaking of soul, in the lobby you will fall in love with the open air cafe, Soul at the Joseph. For early risers, the it opens at 6 a.m. with a true coffeehouse vibe. As your day unfolds, so does Soul where you will find the perfect refreshment to sustain a day as busy or as relaxing as you desire. The adjacent Guild House restaurant serves up creative American cuisine at Soul throughout the day, with a distinctive flair that will most certainly herald a return trip. For dinner, my guests and I enjoyed the sourdough toast appetizer with mustard-braised beef, Blue Jacket chèvre, and Tomato Jam; a selection of flatbreads and the seared tuna salad - a delicious take on a classic nicoise. We took the scenic route back to our room, stopping at each floor to enjoy the selection of artwork on display from the collection of internationally revered Columbus collectors, Ron and Ann Pizzuti. For those taken by the works, a short stroll over to Joseph Editions offers an opportunity to bring home a souvenir in the form of a limited edition print - many at less than the cost of a night’s stay in the hotel. And, if the sampling at The Joseph is not enough to sate the art-lover’s appetite, it is worth mentioning that guests may visit the nearby Pizzuti Collection at no additional cost through the Unlock Art program. Located at 632 North Park Street, the Pizzuti Collection is central Ohio’s newest art museum, featuring the private collection of Ron and Ann Pizzuti, who have been named previously by ArtNews as one of the top 200 art collectors in the world. The gallery features contemporary art exhibits with the intent to foster cultural understanding and education exchange. Through October, visitors are transported to the far East via Visions From India, an exhibit full of color, innovation, and delight featuring large-scale installations, lush colorful paintings, video works, and remarkable sculptures from the 21st century.
Waking up early the next morning, I started my day watching the city come alive while chasing what remained of my monkey brain away on the treadmill in the sleek gym looking over the city horizon. Before heading out for some shopping along the bustling High Street corridor, we savored the very best room service breakfast I have ever had - light and airy pancakes with savory bacon for my girls and a deconstructed lobster and eggs benedict for me.
Just 24 hours at The Joseph helped bridge the divide between spring break and summer vacation; and a Columbus stay-cation is now a requisite quarterly indulgence.
This article was originally published in the July/August 2017 print edition of Sophisticated Living Columbus.