Full Disclosure: I received a complimentary night at the Library Hotel. These are my opinions about my experience. Your opinions my vary.
The libraries at my elementary school, high school and college were anything but inspirational. Going to any one of the three meant a paper of great length where a dozen sources from actual books were required. I spent much of my senior semester of college on the spooky third floor of my college’s library, figuring out how to use microfilm and read through every book on the Sicilian mafia in the state of California for my thesis. And while the space lacked the grandeur of most collegiate libraries, there was a certain mystique to the smell of old books, the isolation the library provided.
Being the daughter of a librarian, it was my duty to invite my mom on a chance to stay at New York’s Library Hotel. The hotel is designed very much like a library. Although the card catalogue in the lobby is just for show. The floors are organized according to the ten major categories of the Dewey Decimal System, with each room focused on a certain topic of that category. You can request certain categories if you are feeling more of a Social Sciences or Philosophy mood while in New York City.
The Library Hotel sits on Madison Avenue at East 41st Street, right in the center of Midtown Manhattan. Its proximity to the New York Public Library can’t be a coincidence. Standing in my Health and Beauty themed room I can see the men and women burning the midnight oil in office buildings across the way and the marble columns of the New York Public Library just down the road. It’s funny how two places of work can be so different, one an uptight sea of chaos and the other a beautiful spot to study.
Stepping into one of the Library Hotel’s rooms is similar to the childhood dream of jumping on a book and entering its pages, joining its stories. The decor creates this fantasy, where the wallpaper resembles the coloring of an antique book page and the folds of the valences look like the folds on book pages. Each room comes with a collection of reading material set to the topic of your room, lined up neatly in mahogany bookshelves. With throbbing feet after a day of exploring New York, I grab the Ultimate Guide to Your Feet and search for tips.
In accordance to the HK Hotels amenities, the Library Hotel comes chalk-full of them. Complimentary refreshments are served throughout the day. Guests enjoy free breakfast and a wine and cheese reception at night in the hotel’s Reading Room. Throw in complimentary wireless Internet access, bath products and slippers, and the setting is complete to curl up with a good read.
Surrounded by such a literary space, I actually feel inspired to go study up. I take my personal librarian to the New York Public Library, just steps away from the hotel. Actually known as the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, this is the mother-ship of libraries in New York. Free to enter and nose around in a few books, the building is already a showpiece. Housed in a grand Beaux Arts building, the library was dedicated in 1911. At it’s opening, the library boasted of being the largest marble building in the United States.
Immediately I find inspiration here, throughout carved doorways and gold leafed detailing. Ceiling murals and random quotes about learning, reading and books add to the scene. I step into one of the library’s rooms, where many are busy at work. I almost feel like being productive on vacation.
Some of the New York Public Library’s most famous users included Grace Kelly, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Norman Mailer and Francis Ford Coppola. The famous and the common mingle amongst medieval manuscripts, ancient Japanese scrolls and even baseball cards.
After fulfilling a librarian’s dream on two counts, my mom and I head back to the Library Hotel for the evening. From the Do Not Disturb card that reads, “Shhh, I’m reading” to the chocolate on my pillow with the Emerson quote, “A man’s library is a sort of haven,” the story is complete. A hotel should be a haven. A library-themed hotel takes that to the next level. The only thing missing is the musty smell of book pages, but I’ll leave that to my collegiate library. A luxurious library is much more comfortable, a haven indeed.
Have you been to the Library Hotel or the New York Public Library?