I stayed here from 4/4 to 4/14, a ten day trip, for a mix of business and pleasure. So this wasn't a short stay, and it was multi-purpose. So I got some unique insights into the hotel, their staff and the surrounding neighborhood.
I had a set of meetings at NBC for the 2010 Olympics, so I wanted to stay somewhere within walking distance to 30 Rockefeller. Plus I wanted to bring my wife and pre-teen son along for part of the trip (it was spring break, after all).
I first learned about LH after finding it in concierge.com. The high-rankings here and trip reports were encouraging. That plus we got a decent rate for a suite, which was important because my wife and I shared our room with our son (he slept on the fold-out sofa bed--very comfortable).
This being my son and wife's first trip to NYC, I was very concerned about the hotel, the location and the "vibe". None of which disappointed!
First, the staff really makes this hotel work. I had the pleasure of many conversations with Billy, Michael, Marlene (your first mention!), Monique, Sood, Jayla and others. They helped us with maps, reservations, tips, business arrangements. Plus they're just cool folks to talk to. They made this one of the best hotels in NYC and you can tell they're proud of it. They're the reason this hotel is the one I will always return to.
That plus the excellent lamb gyro cart across the street!
During my stay, I had four of my employees come out from San Francisco on two different trips! The logistics of handling all the room combinations were a bit confusing, but Sood took care of everything.
And Jayla quickly and professionally took care of our needs to rent the Penthouse / Boardroom for 3 days so we could do our work. Lovely location, above the Bookmarks bar.
The 2nd floor lounge, while crowded in the morning for breakfast (if you can't get a table, grab a tray and head up to Bookmarks--you'll have it to yourself), was quite a luxury. It really felt like our own private living room. Great view of a small slice of NYC life on the corner. Also handy for keeping an eye on the #4 bus heading uptown.
Now this is mid-town, so it's not residential and is quite on the weekends. But nearby you have jumping off points via the Bryant Park subway station.
Bryant Park itself is quite pleasant. A patch of green amonst the high-rises; the New York Public Library's main branch "back yard". Get a sandwich from 'wichcraft there: Tom Colicchio's chain of gourmet sandwiches. Very good.
No brainers: NYPL and Grand Central Station.
Ten minute walk north: 30 Rockefeller. My son *loved* ice skating. I had no idea he's be into it so much; that was the highlight of his trip, and so, naturally, mine. Also, skip Empire State Building (3+ hour lines) and get a ticket up to "Top of the Rock". Breathtaking views of the skyline. Go at sunset to see the city change.
Never made it to Benjamin Steak House, but it's #1 on my return trip.
Grand Central is a short 3 min. walk. So much to eat and see there. Junior's stands out. So does the shoe shine at Eddies.
Ask the staff about HB Burger and they'll rave about it, for good reasons. Get the homemade tator tots and "world's smallest ice cream sundae". Just a short 5 min. walk towards Times Square on W 43rd. You'll find BXL next door, if you want an obscure pint of Belgian beer.
Junior's at Grand Central Station had the best Ruben (I was on a quest) in the area. Good pizza at GCS, but I don't remember the name.
Just 15 seconds from the entrance is Food Exchange. Good for a quick lunch or dinner. Excellent salads.
Looking for a posh spot for cocktails? Ask Michael or Billy to set you up with the Campbell Apartment (at GCS). Dress smart and don't order a cosmo. This is a classic place, not many folks know about. You feel like you've stepped back into a '30s speakeasy. We left our son in the room (after getting a complimentary DVD from downstairs) and walked a block for a couple of cocktails: wonderful.
Well I had a suite the whole time (Mystery) and it was just fine for the 3 of us. Big king bed, comfortable sofa-bed. Generous bathroom. I needed earplugs at night at first. But leaving the fan on washes out the background noise. No big deal. You're in the city man!
The smaller rooms (don't remember the name, but the least expensive ones). Well, they're small. But smartly appointed for a single traveler. My colleague remarked at the thoughtfulness of the layout--the designers did a great job with a relatively small space.
Bookmarks: wait till you see this spot. Fantastic. If it's warm out, get there early to grab a spot on the deck. Beautiful.
Ok, I have to list a few otherwise people won't believe the post.
- Breakfast can be crowded. And cramped where people grab the bagels, coffee, tea, fruit, cereal, yogurt. But jeez, it's complimentary, fantastically convenient and tastes great! The breakfast staff works hard to keep everything stocked and the tables cleared. So this is a more a function of how well liked this amenity is and how they are economizing the space on the 2nd floor.
- Elevator lights are hard to read. You'll push the buttons 3 or 4 times. Part of the charm.
- TV signal, at least in my room, suffered from interference or something. Not an HD quality signal. More like mid 80s cable. Who cares.
- Only 2 elevators, so you may be waiting a bit for a ride.
- Complimentary wireless was spotty and not always dependable. But neither were our cell phone modems.
Didn't you read this whole note? I've never commented or reviewed a hotel in my life. This place is like home and I'm looking forward to my return trip!
- Scott S. from Vertigo
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Library Hotel boasts over 6000 hand-selected books organized by the Dewey Decimal System. With a very central midtown Manhattan location, the hotel is within walking distance of The New York Public Library, Grand Central Terminal, The Empire State Building and Times Square, to name just a few. Take advantage of The Library Hotel Collection’s signature Continental Breakfast Buffet and evening wine and cheese reception in our Reading Room. Cappuccino, water, fruit, cookies and pastries are available in this space for our guests 24 hours a day. Also included with your reservation is complimentary WiFi and passes to the nearby New York Sports Club. Visit our indoor and outdoor rooftop, Bookmark’s Lounge, for literary themed cocktails and small plates. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Library Hotel New York City
- The Library Hotel