New York City’s Library Hotel Promises You’ll “Never Go to Bed Alone”

A front desk framed by an expansive card catalog. A library of more than 6,000 books on offer to hotel guests. And it’s ranked #3 out of more than 450 hotels in, of all places, New York City.

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For these reasons alone, we were intrigued and excited to check out New York City’s Library Hotel. We had the pleasure of staying during our recent visit to Manhattan and we weren’t disappointed …

The Skinny

In their own words, Library Hotel:

… is inspired by the Dewey Decimal system. Each of the 10 guestroom floors honor one of the 10 categories of the Dewey Decimal System and each of the 60 rooms are uniquely adorned with a collection of books and art exploring a distinctive topic within the category it belongs to. Guests are invited to unwind from their urban adventures by enjoying the quiet exploration of over 6,000 books.

The list of onsite amenities is lengthy, particularly for a hotel in one of the world’s most expensive cities. To wit:

  • Continental breakfast buffet every morning
  • Evening reception offering Prosecco, fine wines and snacks
  • Selection of coffee, cappuccino, teas, juices, cookies, and fruits throughout the day served in the Reading Room
  • Wired and wireless high speed Internet access throughout the Hotel
  • Access to New York Sports Clubs throughout Manhattan
  • Evening turndown service with bottled water and Belgian chocolates
  • Access to a selection of DVDs, daily newspapers and over 6,000 books

Library Hotel in New York City (NYC)
© Mike Richard

The Traveler’s Take

Crafting a theme hotel is tricky business. It’s easy to slip into the realm of “corny”, resulting in a property reminiscent of a cheesy theme park attraction complete with animatronic zoo animals.

Mrs. Vagabondish’s take was succinct and spoken like a true bookworm: “Can we live here until I’ve read every single book?”

On paper, Library Hotel’s theme teeters on the edge: a rooftop bar/book nook dubbed “Bookmarks”; photos of books on the key cards; a card catalog displays fill the lobby; each room is referenced with a unique literary genre; and the staff refer to themselves as “The Librarians”. But in reality, the execution is flawless.

For proof, look no further than the second floor Reading Room. As the hotel’s 24-hour social “hub”, it’s like a private and luxurious reading lounge (almost) entirely to yourself. In the morning, smells of homemade espresso, fresh fruit and well done bagels permeate the air in the busy, yet laid-back book-filled space. It’s an ideal place to wile away a few hours relaxing and watching the city’s workforce hurry by along Madison Avenue.

Design + Atmosphere

The experience at Library Hotel is like … well … sleeping in a library (I’m nothing if not a wordsmith). Dark wood and floor-to-ceiling bookshelves seem to span every interior wall, evoking a warm, inviting sensation. There’s an understated elegance that’s luxurious, yet comforting. Every floor from the lobby to the rooftop terrace seems to fold in and around you like a cocoon.

If you list “the public library” and “a Borders cafe” among your Happy Places, this is the hotel for you. It’s geek chic — pure nerd porn — from top to bottom.

The Room

Every room is adorned with a collection of art and books relevant to one distinctive topic within the Dewey Decimal category of the floor it belongs to. Our Deluxe Room offered a bevy of Classic Lit books from authors such as Dickens, Shakespeare and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

The 250 square foot floor plan was spacious enough (especially for a Midtown Manhattan hotel), yet cozy – ideal for a long weekend stay. High ceilings and a carefully considered layout lend an open air to an otherwise compact space.

In-room amenities include:

  • Mini bar
  • Complimentary wireless internet access (almost unheard of in NYC!)
  • Accommodating writing desk
  • Cable TV with premium channels
  • DVD player with complimentary access to our DVD Library
  • iHome radio/alarm clock/mp3 player
  • Plush cotton robes and slippers
  • Gilchrist and Soames bath amenities

The Location

If New York City is the unofficial “center of the universe”, Library Hotel is at the center of the center of the universe. Smack in the middle of midtown Manhattan, it’s a short walk from the subway, as well as almost any attraction, service and restaurant an urban traveler could want. This includes: the New York Public Library, 5th Avenue Shopping, Bryant Park, Empire State Building, Grand Central Terminal, Times Square and Rockefeller center, to name a few.

Library Hotel (exterior) in New York City (NYC)

Pricing + Availability

Select rooms on limited dates can be had for around $260 USD + tax (nightly), while the average nightly rate throughout the year runs north of $425. Check the hotel’s special offers for a list of their latest discounts and deals.

The Bottom Line

It’s not the most luxurious, outlandish or famous hotel in New York City. And it’s not trying to be. Among big city hotels, all vying for attention as the biggest, boldest and best, it fits neatly into a niche among smart, savvy travelers looking for “just right” accommodations. For all of these reasons, Library Hotel is our new favorite place to stay in Manhattan.

Founding Editor

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