Getting right to the point – if we had to choose our favorite New York City hotel, it would be the Library Hotel. Taking its inspiration from the iconic New York public library just one block down the road, this hotel executes its library theme perfectly. The design is based on the Dewey Decimal System,with each floor a different category (Social Sciences, Languages, Philosophy) and each room a different subject within that category. We were located in the Law Room, a corner suite on the Social Sciences floor. So many legal tomes lined shelves and were stacked on tables and the nightstand that had we booked a few more nights here, we may have checked out ready to pass the bar exam.
A Manhattan monsoon pounded down during our stay, and so I spent much of the evening perched at the window, thumbing through law books and peering out at the picturesque yellow cabs whizzing by on Madison Avenue below as if this were a moving painting hung on my wall at home. The next morning, the image changed again, as thousands of walking suits gripping coffee cups dodged delivery men, school children and the usual smattering of New York crazies as they filed in to the surrounding skyscrapers.
Set within a slim midtown building, rooms at the The Library vary in size from tiny to small, with some so small they only sell as a single. With limited room space located on prime real estate, rates here are not cheap, and guests are paying as much for convincing style as they are for comfort and location. The over 6,000 used books rescued from a nearby used bookstore (not the library, as you might think) fill the sixty rooms on ten levels as well as the massive bookcases in the Reading Room where both breakfast and the nightly wine & champagne reception takes place.
As with all hotels in the Library Hotel Collection, The Library offers a lavish free continental breakfast every morning and a three-hour wine & cheese reception in the evening with cheese, crackers, breads, olives, fresh vegetables, nuts and red, white and sparkling wines, plus tea and coffee. Snacks and drinks are also available here 24 hours a day, as is the free wi-fi throughout the hotel. Guests at the Library also receive free daily passes to nearby New York Sports Clubs.
Obviously, space here is limited, and the Reading Room offers a wonderful spot to spend time. There are hundreds of books and newspapers available, and a wall of windows with great views below. Just down the hall from this relaxing room is the best hotel business room we have ever seen. In fact, the room looks exactly like an office. This fully-functioning space has two desktop computers at spacious elbow-shaped desk, a quality printer, telephones, pens, paper and even paperclips. Upstairs on the top floor, the Writer’s Den and the indoor/outdoor bar, Bookmarks Lounge, are quiet and comfortable, while the outdoor Poetry Garden offers a contemplative space, perhaps to reflect upon all the knowledge gained either by reading or inevitably by osmosis.
The public library, Grand Central Station, Bryant Park, the Garment District, Times Square, the MoMA and many more museums, restaurants and nightspots are within easy walking distance of the Library Hotel, including Madison & Vine, one of Midtown’s most popular restaurants, located directly in the hotel’s ground floor. If you are in New York for shopping, Bergdorf Goodman, Bloomingdale’s, Barney’s New York and many other boutiques and department stores are conveniently located right on Madison Avenue.
As much a blessing as a curse, the two of us can be pretty critical when it comes to hotels, after all we stay in enough of them! Even at the best of places we can usually pick apart a couple of threads to expose some room for improvement. Not here. No matter how hard we tried, there is nothing that we can realistically recommend for improvement at the Library Hotel. Sure, rates are high and rooms are small, but that is price you pay for the best location in the best city in the world. But service here is impeccable, the theme is perfectly executed, and they really have thought of everything. The hotel caters as much to business travelers as to new brides (check out this Tripadvisor review of Honeymooning at the Library Hotel), and everyone else in between.
Location: 299 Madison Avenue at 41st Street, New York, NY, 10017
Price: starting at $200
LGBT Friendly: Yes, this hotel is everyone-friendly.
Amenities:rooftop terrace, restaurant on-site, complimentary wine & cheese reception, extensive book & DVD library, free wi-fi, gym pass for nearby fitness club, breakfast included.
Like this hotel? Book it on booking.com here.
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2. Belmonte Vacanze | Tuscany, Italy (moderate-range, Tuscan farm holiday)
3. The Orlando | Los Angeles (stylish West Hollywood boutique hotel)