Library Hotel: a NYC Sanctuary
Belle in Beauty and the Beast was free to roam the castle (library in this case), eat to her delight and curl up by the fire with a book–which is precisely what it’s like if you’re staying at The Library Hotel.
The gorgeous sixty-room boutique hotel is nestled near the landmark New York Public Library and the Pierpont Morgan Library at Madison Avenue and 41st Street on “Library Way.” How befitting for a hotel to be designed just like a library! The Library Hotel is also home to over 6,000 books, all hand-picked from The Strand Bookstore which incidentally has the largest collection of rare books in New York City. But, you didn’t come here to read, did you?
What once was a twelve-storey office building, Henry Kallan (New York’s leading boutique hotelier) has transformed it into an oasis of elegance in the heart of Manhattan. Intimate and serene, The Library Hotel is the ‘smartest’ hotel around–a chic librarian’s dream come true!
Each floor and room is categorized according to the Dewey Decimal system: ‘Social Science’ is on third, ‘Language’ on fourth, ‘Math and Science’ on fifth, ‘Technology’ on sixth, and so forth. From there, each room is further specified and decorated according to its theme. Here’s an example: if you’re a book fiend, you can request to stay on the eighth floor of ‘Literature’ in the ‘Fiction’ or ‘Fairy Tales’ room. If you dream of molecules and atoms, then the ‘Astronomy’ and ‘Botany’ rooms on the ‘Math and Science’ floor were created with you in mind. Other floors include ‘The Arts’, ‘History’, ‘General Knowledge’, ‘Philosophy’ and ‘Religion’.
All the rooms are exquisitely decorated in warm creams, polished granite-topped desks and mahogany doors and cabinetry and accented with bonsai trees. Granite and mahogany makes its way into the impossibly high-ceilinged bathroom which also has its own vanity seating area. And should you have forgotten to pack something, don’t fret–the helpful concierge would be happy to get you what you need. Depending on the theme of your room, there are books and art pieces that are in accordance to that specific theme. [We stayed in the ‘New Media’ suite on the 10th floor of ‘General Knowledge’, where we found framed photographs of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs.]
Intimate and serene, The Library Hotel is the ‘smartest’ hotel around–a chic librarian’s dream come true!
To make you feel at home, in-room amenities include bottled spring water, Belgian chocolate (not on the pillow, but chocolate is chocolate!) and passes to the nearby New York Sports gym (to work off said chocolate). Other amenities include fluffy white bathrobes, multiple phone lines with voicemail (just because you’re traveling doesn’t mean you have to cut yourself off) and free high-speed Internet access. And, as if you couldn’t feel more at home, there is the choice of a complimentary bottle of wine (red or white) delivered right to your room! Not to mention, the beds are exceptionally large! By this point, you won’t want to go anywhere but, it’s worth your while to venture around.
On the second floor you’ll come across ‘The Reading Room’: the spacious yet cozy lounge where guests can enjoy refreshments, delicious pastries, teas, coffee, cappuccino and fruit. Furnished with muted yellow chairs, leather sofas, gorgeous ebony tables and even more mahogany, this room is a feast for the eyes. You’ll be so busy reveling in the space (and the yummy treats) that the novels in the many bookshelves lining the room will likely go unread. Lest we forget, there is also a grand piano at one end of the room should you feel like unleashing that lounge lizard inside you. No matter what your mood, The Reading Room is the perfect venue for a cup of tea or a heated discussion about literature.
Take a ride up to the 14th floor where you’ll find a hidden oasis called ‘The Poetry Garden’. It’s a rooftop greenhouse sitting room with a wraparound outdoor terrace providing amazing views of Madison Avenue and its fashionable denizens. This is also the best place to cuddle up with a book since natural light floods in during the day. Opposite ‘The Poetry Garden’ is ‘The Writer’s Den’ which happens to be my favorite place in the entire hotel. With a working fireplace, large-screen television, plush overstuffed chairs and mahogany-paneled walls, any writer can find a place to gather their thoughts and transfer it to paper. That is, if they don’t get too comfortable and fall asleep!
Should you happen to be in town for business, the 15th floor Penthouse conference room is the perfect place to strategize your next major takeover. Or, just plain strategize. Up to twelve people can comfortably and quietly work in the boardroom and the hotel can provide stationary, flip charts, a built in screen, data ports, a VCR, and television monitor. If you need it, you got it.
The Library Hotel is charming, elegant and one-of-a-kind. A destination in itself, I’d come here just to catch up on my reading! Epitomizing New York cool with… well, books, the service is top-notch, location is prime (you’re right by Grand Central and Times Square) and there is no other place like it. Whether you’re in town for business or pleasure, you’ll be wooed by how quiet and serene the hotel is.
Feeling more like a private, exclusive members-only club, this marvelous gem is an absolute pleasure to stay in. The service is excellent and no request is taken lightly. The staff is professional, friendly and just plain perfect. Even when I lost my room key on numerous occasions (turns out the door lock was the problem), the concierge was only too happy to help out. Never fear about leaving the comforts of home behind because at the Library Hotel, you are home (Belle stayed indefinitely… at the castle, that is). Come check-out time, you’ll have to remind yourself that checking out means leaving.