The Library Hotel New York helped us to live out the dream of any book lover: spending the night surrounded by a library of books just steps from Grand Central and Times Square.
When I was a little girl my mother used to take me downtown on the city bus to the public library. We would count the wide stone steps as we climbed up to the main entrance, pushing through the heavy front doors to what seemed like a palace of books. We made our way to the children’s section and I would walk up and down the rows, inhaling the words and stories until I picked just the right books to borrow. Libraries are, without a doubt, magical places; and it’s that spark of magic that makes the Library Hotel in Midtown Manhattan come alive.
As you walk down Library Way toward the hotel (Yes, it’s really called Library Way!), you might see the brass plaques on the ground with literary quotes. Already feeling the bookish theme, we were happily surprised that the Library Hotel is noticeably smaller than the skyscrapers around it. In fact, it is what they call a “sliver building” in the neo-gothic style and only measures 25 feet wide by 100 feet long. That makes it the perfect cozy setting for a home away from home in New York City.
Stepping inside through old school revolving doors, we found ourselves enveloped in a soft, comfortable quiet. Far from the bustling lobbies of other Times Square hotels, the Library Hotel was a welcome sanctuary from Midtown Manhattan. The dark wooden shelves in the lobby are packed with books and the lighting, yellow and warm, reminded me of the reading room at the Public Library just down the street. We were given our room key with a number plucked straight from a card catalogue. A Dewey decimal on the tenth floor of the historic building on the corner of Madison and 41st. Our room, fittingly enough, was filed under General Knowledge, Library.
Inside, the same dark furniture and lovely warm lighting invited us to grab a book and relax for a while before heading out to explore New York. Across the bed lay a long pillow with the words “Book lovers never go to bed alone.” We had other plans; but otherwise the temptation would have been too great to resist. On the door hung a do not disturb sign with the words “Please dust off my books” and “Shhh! Please let me read.” It was my favorite detail of the room.
Downstairs on the second floor of the hotel was the Reading Room. This unique lounge boasted a gorgeous grand piano with a beautiful bouquet of flowers brightening up the space. The walls were lined with bookshelves in case you needed a new book during your stay. The Library Hotel works closely with The Strand Bookstore near Union Square to keep avid readers and guests satisfied. As if that weren’t enough for you to feel at home, the room is open all day with complimentary snacks and lovely views of Madison Avenue, it was the perfect place to enjoy a cup of coffee in the morning and a glass of wine with snacks in the late afternoon.
Upstairs, the hotel boasts a beautiful rooftop. It’s called the Writer’s Den, and the space is perfect to inspire you whether you’re reading a page turner or just enjoying a drink and letting New York City inspire you. There are tables both indoors and out so you can enjoy the views no matter the weather. If it’s chilly you can even sit by the fireplace. The weather wasn’t the greatest when we visited; but we’re already planning to go back for cocktails on a sunny day because there are beautiful views of the New York Public Library.
The Library Hotel also provides a turndown service for all guests leaving a delicious Belgian chocolate with a literary quote to make sure you have sweet dreams. The next morning we enjoyed the complimentary continental breakfast. It was a grey New York morning, and the delicious almond croissants were calling my name. Of course, there are choices for every taste including bagels, cereal, fruit, yogurt and oatmeal. The staff was very attentive and we almost felt like it was a restaurant rather than a buffet breakfast!
Other services provided by the hotel include entrance to the nearest New York Sports Club, high speed wi-fi throughout the hotel, and access to the books, DVDs and daily newspapers. The Library Hotel is, true to its name, a lovely place to slip away from the madness of Midtown. As soon as you come inside you have the feeling that you’ve arrived back home.