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“Terrific Ten-Day Trip” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Library Hotel

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Library Hotel
4.0 of 5 Hotel   |   299 Madison Ave., at 41st St., Entrance on 41st Street, New York City, NY 10017 (Manhattan)   |  
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Ranked #4 of 459 Hotels in New York City
San Francisco
1 review
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“Terrific Ten-Day Trip”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 30, 2009

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!

STAFF
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!

BUSINESS
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.

FUN
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.

FOOD
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.

ROOMS
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.

CONS
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.

PROS
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

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled on business
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
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Cambridge, MA
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 28, 2009

My husband and I stayed in the Library Hotel just after it opened. The rooms aren't large, but they contained everything we needed and we had a good experience.

When it popped up as an inexpensive option for a recent two day pleasure trip to gallery hop I grabbed it. I called the hotel to confirm my reservation and request a high floor. They gave me the floor (11) and reassured me it would be mine, even if I checked in late. He was true to his word.

As I arrived a bit bedraggled after 10pm, the manager sent up a free glass of Merlot. The bed was excellent, with sumptuous linens and lots of Heideigger to read to hasten sleep. (I was in the Philosophy room). The next morning, I enjoyed a cappuccino, some plain yougurt and fresh fruit with berries in the lovely second floor reading room. I arranged to check out early, they stored my luggage, and I returned around 5pm to retrieve it. The front desk attendant encouraged me to go to the reading room for happy hour. It was bliss. A glass of champagne, good blue cheese with English biscuits, crudites with dip. I lingered over the New York Times and promised myself I'd write this review. EVERYONE was just amazingly warm, giving and pleasant.

The downsides are what has been mentioned: small rooms, outdoor noise (this is NYC and construction happens 24/7) a small breakfast room. But the service is spectacular, and everything you truly need in a hotel is there: good bed, linens, security, food, plush towels, and great food.

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rome, Italy
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 27, 2009

You can't do that in a library, much as I like libraries. You can do it at home, but home doesn't have a front desk. It has a desk though, and sometimes you just have to get away. The Library Hotel is the most unalienating hotel I have ever stayed in. Most of the things I like best in the world were there: books (new); coffee (very good), wine (tasty), breakfast (my favorite meal and you can pretty much have it all day at The Library), privacy, comfort, calm, Internet access (computers and printer)--it is like being at home but much less work, and New York is outside. It is like staying in a hotel but it redefines the word hotel. It's not cheap but it's not "cheap." There are lots of taxes but there are also many gestures and thoughtful considerations which make a traveler feel very well taken care of. I feel torn about divulging too much about the hospitality, ease, deliciousness, general delightfulness (clever design, intelligent treatment of small spaces), and convenience of The Library -- because I like the notion of a well-kept secret. But there is a spirit of generosity in The Library that deserves reciprocation. I thought everyone working there did a wonderful job. This is the first time, on departure, I've ever looked up the owner of a hotel. Architects yes--but I haven't had a positive sense of an owner's ethos before. The Library has even managed to get the neighborhood (the sublime Madison Avenue) to build a great big public library up the street! And stud the sidewalks with bronze plaques with quotations from literature. Ah--the power of the name!

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cambridgeshire
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 21, 2009

I stayed in the Library Hotel for a week in mid April with my 12-year old daughter. It was our first trip to New York - and her first trip to the USA. We loved the hotel. The reception staff were very helpful and gave us tips on where to go. Make sure you ask for the shopping maps and the discount vouchers! The Reading Room was a great place to go at any time of day and we loved the breakfasts. The 14th floor was wonderful too. The housekeeping service was fantastic and we liked our "weather forecast" - brought to the room each evening as part of the turn down service. If you want an evening in, you can simply pop down to reception and borrow a dvd from their huge selection. On top of all this, the hotel has a fantastic location. Most attractions - and many, many shops - are an easy walk or short subway ride away. All in all, I would highly recommend this hotel. If I go back to New York, I know where I will be staying.

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
nottingham
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 20, 2009

Overall a great location with friendly staff. The rooms are compact but extremely comfortable. However, what makes this hotel stand out are the small, thoughtful touches. Wine and cheese in the evening was really appreciated, and a complimentary bottle of wine in our room got our holiday off to a lovely start. The small rooftop bar was a great place to stop off before going to dinner.
I would recommend this hotel and would go back.
P.S - we got engaged in room 802!

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Geneva
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 20, 2009

We spend a week in the Hotel and it was just fantastic. The combination of location, decoration, excellent service and advice on places to have dinner or check out is fantastic. It has wonderful "book" personality and provides shelter and relax very needed in all intense New York trips. The reading space available 24 hours was a gift. Never felt overwhelmed by people or activity, just the right balance. And it's walking distance for key areas like the Theatre district (broadway), Empire State Building, 5th Avenue shopping area to mention few. Special thanks to the people that work in the Hotel, they make it very special, from the team serving breakfast to the guys in the Front Desk. Excellent!

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
chicago, il
Top Contributor
55 reviews 55 reviews
40 hotel reviews
Reviews in 37 cities Reviews in 37 cities
56 helpful votes 56 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 19, 2009

I booked this hotel for 3 nights in mid April based on the reviews I read on this site. Indeed, the room was quite small, but the bathroom was more than adequate and nicely appointed. I found the premises to be extremely clean, bright, and pleasant. The staff very gracious and helpful and the breakfast served, although not gourmet, certainly had enough options with fresh fruit, bagels, pastries and cereal to get the day started. I do agree that there should be more tables in this room, it was mostly full during our stay. The wine and cheese each evening is a very nice touch and so pleasant not to be nickeled and dimed for such a treat.
The fourteenth floor is a gem. One of the days we were there it hit 70 degrees and I was able to sit outside on the terrace for an hour in the afternoon to read - it was heavenly. It is hard to believe this is little oasis is hidden in the middle of Manhattan. We did return for a nightcap there one evening at 11 and the atmosphere was just as pleasant - music not too loud, not overcrowded, just a pleasant hum of activity.
We were on the 6th floor and I was impressed that the windows blocked as much noise as they did. I suppose a floor or two higher and we wouldn't have heard a thing. The location is best for accessing Grand Central station. Other than that, there was not a whole lot to walk to.

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Library Hotel

Address: 299 Madison Ave., at 41st St., Entrance on 41st Street, New York City, NY 10017
Phone Number:
Location: United States > New York > New York City > Manhattan , Murray Hill
Amenities:
Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#2 Family Hotel in New York City
#3 Luxury Hotel in New York City
#3 Business Hotel in New York City
#5 Romantic Hotel in New York City
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Library Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 60
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

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