Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
A sophisticated 60- room boutique hotel with a literary theme, a lively , and a wide variety of guests
Calm, classy, and comfortable -- the Library is located in a prewar, Grand Central, one of the city’s biggest transportation hubs. In the on the 2nd floor, where free coffee and pastries are served 24 hours a day, and free wine and cheese are available from 5 to 8 p.m., I rubbed shoulders with a trio of British guys in tight jeans and Converses talking about their film shoot, a twentysomething American girl in Uggs catching up on her e-mail, and a well-heeled couple on the tired side of their 50s poring over a map of New York. It’s a really mixed bag here -- young and old, business and pleasure, hip and nerdy.building just a block from
Unlike many of New York’s boutique hotels (this one has 60 rooms), you won’t find any slick, lifeless, glossy monotone colors here. It’s regal but relaxed, and its clientele is as sophisticated as the Nixon, Neruda, and Tom Wolfe that line its shelves. Each of the hotel’s 10 floors are dedicated to one of the 10 major classifications of the Dewey Decimal System, including literature, languages, and mathematics. There are six rooms per floor and each are devoted to a theme within one of the larger classifications -- say, love, romance languages, or psychology, as it was in my case. The theme works, and without an iota of kitsch.
Theon the top floor is lively at night with both guests and nonguests (think well-heeled business types and their clients). As is , the restaurant and wine bar on the ground level (with the same owner as the bar, but unaffiliated with the hotel proper), which serves delicious upscale bistro fare.
Though the rooms are small, this is one of my favorite hotels in New York.
Classy, unpretentious, and prompt staff makes guests feel at home.
Service is impeccable -- classy but not pretentious -- a remarkable feat for a city where service is typically snobby at best and standoffish at worst. The Library Hotel defies New York’s smug stereotypes, though I did giggle a little when the staff referred to me with an honorific “Ms.”
Clad in a sharp suit and tie, Igor was the first person I encountered at the American Film Institute’s Top 100 (Citizen Kane, Bonnie and Clyde, Rocky, Pulp Fiction, does it get any better?). “You’re in New York! I hope you don’t spend the night watching DVDs! But if it helps put you to sleep, I’d forgive you,” he told me.. He introduced himself like a friend, not a hotel employee cranking guests in an out. Casual, engaging and conversational, he genuinely made me feel at home and even cracked a cute joke or two when he saw me scanning the impressive of the
The bellmen were nimble with my bags, taxis, and doors.
A call to room service for extra towels yielded the goods in two minutes flat and the requestedfor my coffee in the 2nd floor reading room appeared within seconds.
The hotel offers a turndown service. I returned to my room after only a few minutes away and found the bed neatly , the closed and the lights on.
I loved thethe staff left on the pillow along with a note with the next day’s weather (rainy and 43°F, brrr).
My room, 1100.004 -- all rooms are organized in Dewey Decimal System, it’s the Library Hotel, get it? -- was a tiny 200 square feet. The next size up, the deluxe with a , is only 250 square feet, followed by a with a , which is 350 square feet.
But to be fair, 200 square feet in New York is pretty average. Though I’ve seen closets more luxurious than my shoebox room, I grew fond of its smart, classy, understated character. But maybe that was just the 660-page tome “How the Mind Works”, by Harvard professor Steven Pinker, haunting me from above the (my room had a psychology theme).
Details matter in this 60-room hotel, right down to the European and American converted bamboo on my desk, ironed Egyptian cotton sheets on my bed, an adjacent to my bed, and the Thymes bath products in my (squint eyes here) very small but functional bathroom.in my wall, a small vase of
The view outside the room was open enough to let in good natural light, but not so open that I had a view of any landmark buildings. Granted, the building across the street so close that I could see someone inputting data into an Excel spreadsheet (far less interesting than watching someone play around on Facebook during work hours).
But beyond the size of the room itself, there was one problem: its location. My door was no more than two feet away from the. Thankfully, there are only six rooms per floor and not much traffic at night, but I did find the dinging of the elevator eternally annoying while I was trying to work in the evenings. Request a larger room (either a or a ) to be placed away from the elevator. Thankfully, street noise in my 11th-floor room was minimal.
Freebies include Wi-Fi, pastries, wine, and cheese.pass, ,
The hotel features a unique reading room on the 2nd floor. It’s lined with floor-to-ceiling (Nixon, Neruda or Tom Wolfe, anyone?), and are on each of the tables. Guests can come at any hour to pore over the paper (New York Times or USA Today, TimeOut New York or City) with a cup of coffee or an espresso from their machine. I came at midnight with my laptop in tow -- there’s free Wi-Fi everywhere in the hotel. There’s also a on the same floor with and a , for those who loathe schlepping their computers around.
is served in the reading room every morning (cereal, pastries, bagels, fresh fruit, fresh O.J.). In the evening, wine (red, white, prosecco), cheese (brie, cheddar, havarti), and fruit (grapes, oranges) are served—also for free—from 5 to 8 p.m. every night.
There’s no gym in the hotel proper, but guests get free passes to the(with every machine imaginable) just around the corner.
Hip, happening bar on the .
The hotel itself is calm and serene, except for its garden and with three different personas. There’s the “ ,” a greenhouse with a wraparound terrace, the “ ,” which has a working and its own heated terrace, and the itself, which has a sleeker, more mod feel than the rest of the hotel. All three rooms were buzzing when I arrived at 10 p.m. on a Monday night.floor (14th), where there's , a rooftop
I sat perched on a stool next to a guy wearing a pinstripe shirt with his sleeves rolled up while I ordered a gin and tonic. Without skipping a beat, the Hendrick’s or Tanqueray. Classy operation.asked if I’d prefer
There are no cots or roll-out beds, butare available.
I heard nary a peep from anyone under the age of 30 at this hotel, which comes as no surprise. After all, the hotel doesn’t have cots or roll-out beds for additional little ones in tow. (“Our rooms are small, there’s no room for them,” said management.) However, the hotel can provide.
Immaculate cleanliness in and ou.
A quiet but safethat's a cheap taxi ride away from anywhere in .
It can feel like a ghost town at night since it’s mostly office buildings around the hotel. But the area feels safe, unless you find yourself at Grand Central, one of the city’s main transportation hubs, at an odd hour when there are usually homeless people loitering around. The upshot is that the hotel is so central that a cab won’t run more than $12 to Soho or the , two of the city’s best neighborhoods for eating and drinking.
Located just a block south of Grand Central and the main branch of the New York Public Library (the hotel’s namesake, naturally), and a few blocks from Times Square, Bryant Park, the Theater District, and some of the most haute shopping in the city (head west to Madison, Park and 5th Avenues and you’ll find everything from Ferragamo to Cartier to Versace, the hotel is a quiet sanctum tucked among some of New York’s greatest landmarks. It’s just a few blocks to Times Square and the Theater District, but the immediate vicinity around Library is quiet, especially at night, since the bars tend to wind down when the Midtown bankers head home after client dinners.
If you’re looking to stay closer to home, look no further than Bookmarks, the hotel’s rooftop bar, which attracts well-heeled locals and tourists—many of whom I couldn’t tell apart—who congregate together. Another great option is The Campbell Apartment located inside the Grand Central terminal; coincidentally, it’s owned by the same guys behind on the hotel’s ground floor.
Upscaleand on the ground floor provides room service.
On the hotel’s ground floor is, a hip, dimly lit bistro and wine bar. It’s not owned by the hotel, but it does provide its room service. It has a stellar wine list (60 reds, 50 whites) -- and the food is exceptional. My with black olive tapenade, basil and parmesan mashed potatoes was superb, as were the other diners -- I overheard the folks discussion fundraising strategies for a prominent East Coast boarding school.
For those who wish to pass on room service, and still don’t want to leave the hotel, the hotel’s front desk keeps a huge selection of takeout menus.
A homey, 60-room, literary-themed boutique, the Library Hotel is located down the block from New York's famous Public Library, and among Midtown East's corporate skyscrapers. It's one of New York's best values, mostly because of the perks: an upscale on the ground floor, a lively bar on the floor, free Wi-Fi, free passes, and free daily pastries, wine, and cheese.