What makes a hotel a consistent Tripadvisor Top 10? SuitcaseReady visited NYC’s Library Hotel and Hotel Giraffe to discover why they’ve been on top for years.
Part 1 – The Library Hotel– currently #3 on Tripadvisor
It’s Friday night in NYC. Am I out having dinner in one of Manhattan’s 20,000 restaurants, viewing a Broadway show, or drinking with friends? No, I’m curled up in my perfectly comfortable bed reading my choice of one of 6000 books The Library offers its guests. In fact, I never left the hotel from the time I entered until I checked out the next day at 1pm.
The comments on Tripadvisor indicate the hotel is loved for its excellent service, amenities, location, books, breakfast and the wine & cheese reception. All of this is true, and more. The attention to detail, the helpfulness and friendliness of the staff, the little touches that extend the library theme all contribute to making the hotel a peaceful oasis in midtown Manhattan.
Joel and Thomas at the front desk warmly greeted me, and I was checked in quickly. Joel offered to provide me with restaurant and nightlife suggestions, and gave me clear directions to my room from the elevator. Assistance with my bag was offered, but not needed.
My room on the 4th, or Language themed floor was so clean, I would have believed I was the first guest to inhabit the room. Understated elegance were the first words that came to mind, and I quickly dashed off a Tweet. A welcome note with a box of Leonidas chocolates was waiting on the table. The beautifully made queen bed with a Sferra duvet and high thread count sheets was positioned between two good reading lights. Multiple outlets and a huge workspace make this a perfect hotel for business as well as leisure travelers. The Library theme is continued on the parchment paper notepads and the clever “Do Not Disturb” signs.
The Library offers a great choice of pillows, and a card next to the bed informed me of other available items that could be requested. An easy to use alarm clock with iPad/ipod/iphone dock, a safe that needed no instructions, and a great selection of books are also included in every room. My room had a mix of Middle Eastern focused fiction and non. Lawrence of Arabia was waiting on my bed.
Justine Pentifallo, the hotel’s reservations manager, lead me on a brief but thorough tour of the property. She was at The Strand purchasing books when I arrived. Often the hotel takes special requests for guests and she has the reader’s dream job of fulfilling their wishes.
She showed me the Reading Room stocked with 1000s of tempting books, and Bookmarks – the hotel’s busy rooftop bar. Every seat inside was full at 5:30 – the bar is popular with locals and visitors alike. Although it was in the 50s, people were outside enjoying the terrace, which viewers of “Million Dollar Listing” will recognize as the scene of the incident with Luis and Fredrik.
More importantly, this terrace and upstairs space can also be used for events and meetings. Justine told me two very creative librarians had been married at Bookmarks.
After we returned to the Lobby Justine walked me up the interestingly decorated stairway to the 2nd floor and left me at the 5-8pm wine & cheese reception.
Wine, Cheese, Breakfast and Snacks
All the hotels in The Library Hotel Collection offer guests complimentary wine & cheese from 5-8pm, and breakfast. The spreads are substantial and the Prosecco at the wine reception was pretty decent. Mixed nuts, a variety of cheeses, olives, Goldfish pretzels, fruit and more were offered with a choice of sparkling, red or white wine. A sophisticated espresso machine offers a great selection of coffee, caffeinated and decaf, 24 hours. Snacks and lemon flavored water are also available around the clock.
European travelers are used to breakfast being included in the cost of the room, and although most travelers have come to expect value for money in this economy, it is rarely more than a token gesture. The Library Collection amenities far exceed other properties’ offerings and probably greatly contribute to the high ratings.
After finding a Daniel Baldacci book I had yet to read, I returned to my room for the night. As I began to explore the room, I noticed many extras. The lighted make-up area with counter, stool and huge mirror behind the bathroom door. The large storage space below the sink. A small TV and well-stocked mini bar in the cabinet below the one with the safe. Lucky bamboo.
My corner room with windows facing 41st Street was relatively quiet. There’s an inescapable low hum in that part of midtown – probably due to proximity to Grand Central. I’m particularly sensitive to humming noises but this isn’t loud enough to be bothersome. Street noise was minimal, even on the 4th floor, and there is no subway rumbling below. For visitors to NYC from quiet places, finding a hotel on an avenue or street not on a subway line is important or you will be up all night.
Noise from other rooms was non-existent. No footsteps above, no doors slamming in the halls, no plumbing noises. The ceilings are high and the walls are thick. I heard 1 door slam in the morning, but that was it.
The Library Hotel is heaven for a serious reader like me, and a quiet haven in midtown Manhattan. It only took a few minutes for me to get why this is one of the top rated hotels in New York City.
On to Hotel Giraffe…
Readers who write poetry may want to check out this offer from the Library on Facebook. Your poem could grace a plaque on the walls of Bookmarks in the Library Hotel.
Or, enter here to win a free weekend in the Tennessee Williams Presidential Suite at the Hotel Elysee.
Writer in Residence program courtesy of The Library Hotel Collection. Thank you Adele, Justine, Ivana, Joel and Thomas for an incredible visit!
Article originally posted March 15, 2014.