Staying at The Library Hotel in New York City
Before you even get to the reception desk you have an inkling of the great service you’re going to experience during a stay at the Library Hotel in midtown Manhattan. Before you even get to the hotel, in fact.
I was in a Lyft coming from the Liberty Cruise Port in New Jersey after two days of open bar on Royal Caribbean’s newest ship, Anthem of the Seas, and I tagged the hotel in a tweet about how much I was looking forward to an afternoon nap. They almost immediately replied and asked if there was anything they could do to make my stay a happy one. So I thought, “Why not?” and replied that an early check-in would be amazing. Wouldn’t you know it, they put a rush on my room and I was able to check in three hours before expected. Nap achieved.
If your room isn’t ready when you arrive or you want a place to work or relax after you check out, you’re more than welcome in the Reading Room. There’s lots of seating, wifi, and of course, a ton of books. There is self-serve coffee, tea, and sweets all day long as well as breakfast in the morning. There’s also a wine reception each evening between 5pm and 8pm so you can feel posh and cultured while you sip your Chardonnay and peruse their literary collection.
In my post-cruise stupor I went and left my big, floppy, felt hat in the Lyft. I used their Lost Item reporting feature and managed to get a text to my driver and he dropped off the hat the next day. The thing is, I’d checked out of The Library Hotel by then. But the fabulous staff not only kept an eye out for my hat but there was even some thought of having it run up to the Hotel Elysee where I was now staying. In the end, they held on to my hat for almost a week until I was back in the area and treated my $15 Old Navy hat like it was designer. Amazing.
The staff and service is what really what makes the Library Hotel memorable but there’s no forgetting the decor and rooms either. The whole hotel really embraces the library theme. There wall behind the reception desk is a massive card catalog. Each room is unique in that it’s assigned a topic based on how the room number fits into the Dewey Decimal system and has dozens of books for you to peruse. In total, the hotel has a collection of more than 6,000 titles you can borrow.
I’m becoming increasingly picky when it comes to hotel beds, the more I travel. I want something fluffy that’s going to give me a hug when I flop into it, exhausted at the end of the day, but I also need something with some firmness for my back. I’m getting old, ok? I thought 36 was supposed to be the new 26? Someone lied to me. The beds at the Library Hotel fit the bill. Soft on top with firm core, like a Tootsie Pop turned inside out.
My deluxe Queen room was cozy but not the typical Manhattan closet you get in some hotels. The high ceilings made it feel bigger than its 250 sq ft. If you’re travelling with friends, take note that the rooms here are all single bed rooms ranging from full to king size. Tip: if you’re on a romantic getaway, book the Love Room, the only room with a private terrace.
Head’s up, there’s no in-room coffee maker so if you want that first cup of the day you’re going to have to put on pants and head down to the Reading Room. On the upside, there are not only complimentary bottles of water and robes in the room but slippers too. I love me a hotel robe and slippers.
I’m sure I’ve rambled on enough but I just can’t let you guys go without gushing about the location: East 41st and Madison. You’re steps from Bryant Park, the main branch of the New York Public Library, Grand Central, the Chrysler Building, and multiple subway lines. You might be in midtown but you’re far enough away from the crush of people you’ll find at Times Square so you won’t lose your mind. It’s a great balance.
If you’re looking to stay in midtown but still want to feel civilized and well-read, look no further than the Library Hotel.
- Where: East 41st & Madison Ave, New York City
- Cost: Rooms can range from $200-$520
- Number of Rooms: 60
- Amenities: free wifi, bar & restaurant on site, free wifi, free continental breakfast, wine & cheese reception, turndown chocolate and bottled water, refreshments daily
- Rating: TripAdvisor 5*
- Check Availability
Note: I stayed at the Library Hotel while I was in New York as part of their Writers-In-Residence program. They didn’t ask that I write a favourable review or that I take the stairs just to see the cool murals. Seriously, take the stairs.