It’s not hard to figure out how the Library Hotel got its name—it shares the same street (and views) as the landmark Lions of the New York Public Library—but it’s not just a lazy coincidence or an easy marketing ploy. Rather the Library Hotel is a curated enterprise where each room is organized under the Dewey decimal system, with each floor being a unique subject, and the hotel itself has a robust book-lending program (of over 6,000 titles). As the namesake of the Library Hotel Collection (of which Hotel Giraffe and Hotel Elysée also belong), the hotel group’s signature luxury amenities are also part and parcel to the guest experience. This Beaux Arts-feeling Midtown property is refined, stately and is a great value for all that’s included in the room rate.
Proper and well-fitted, the Library’s room are simply designed in muted tones of ochre and black, with prints of iconic New York photographs and the most-instagrammed feature: a throw pillow embroidered with the hotel’s mantra “Book Lovers Never Go To bed Alone.” Of their 60 rooms, there are 5 categories of rooms, from the petites to the suites—and while the smallest room is, well, quite small, deluxe rooms and junior suites have room to roam or curl into a roomy armchair with the hotel’s signature object (a book!). While stylish and comfortable, the room doesn’t scream much of anything or tip in any which direction. The vibe is quite silent (the work of a good librarian, perhaps), even blocking out much of the street noise outside (and being right near Grand Central, that’s far from short supply).
YOU SHOULD KNOW The most widely requested room is the Love Room, which not only has a Dr. Ruth-curated selection (or should we say, sexlickton) of novels, short stories and non-fiction narratives on Eros’ domain (though don’t be expecting any Hustler or Penthouse, this is a respectable establishment). It also touts the only balcony in the hotel, a skinny little thing look up and down Madison Avenue, which is equally as loud as it is exhilarating.
Perhaps to signal cleanliness, these bathrooms have a bit of a hospital vibe—or at least, Upper East Side doctors. The sink area is quite spacious, and there is ample room between toilet-sink-tubshower. Even with the Snake plants and turquoise tiles, still it’s sterile in here—which also accurately describes its level of hygiene, which is a great thing.
Though the Library Hotel has a Madison Avenue address, the entrance is on 41st street, neatly tucked away from the bustle of the avenue. Though in a grand building, the lobby experience is delightfully designed but also restrained from anything other than a reception and a few chairs for waiting (in the midst of what feels like an old club house’s library).
Though no gym is on site, the hotel offers guests complimentary passes to New York Sports Club down the street.
Madison & Vine serves as the on-site restaurant for lunch and dinner, a K OF TK TK. However, included in the room’s rate is the continental breakfast (i.e. coffee and pastries) in the second floor lounge, which also is where complimentary wine-and-cheese commences nightly. The Library Hotels offer quite an extensive array of complimentary food and beverage.
New Yorkers love a roof bar. Especially if it’s exposed to the elements. The Bookmarks Lounge on the hotel’s top floor is an outdoor-indoor multi-room not-so-secret (but feels like it is) spot where palm trees and ivy grow alongside one-another, just as seafoam grasscloth couches do against zebra-skin ottomans. It’s zany and chic, and still filled with tons of books—a place where the bookworm and afterwork shake-off are also equally at home.
42nd street is two blocks from the hotel, along which every train stops, from the Eastside 4/5/6 or Westside 1/2/3 and A/C/E or B/D/F/M or crosstown 7 and S lines.
It’s a travesty to be near Grand Central and not go to the Oyster Bar (4-min walk). Sure the gin is rotgut and the crowd is Bridge & Tunnel, but their freshly caught oysters (and famous Dutch Herring week) and wood-paneled walls chant the call of a true New York classic. If the call of the fancy is too strong to ignore, Cipriani 42nd Street is right around the bend.
While Grand Central Station is a veritable zoo (filled with the wild beasts of New York commuters), the respite Campbell Apartment (1-minute walk), famous for its recurring role on Gossip Girl, is the gorgeously converted office of a 1920s Railroad baron that is finally reopening in May 2017 after a dramatic lease battle. Being a commuter area, the bars in the immediate environs cater to the lot, but the wonderful Cock & Bull (5-minutes walk), which skates a fine line between authentic and kitsch, is an homage to the Great British Public House. Pints and Bangers abound! (But really, make sure to order mashed potatoes.)
WHY WE LIKE IT
Sophisticated and accessible, the Library Hotel is chic not stuffy, centrally located and a great value. Also free and wine. Every night. Need we say more?