"An oasis of calm and sophistication, withdrawn from the clamour of midtown Manhattan yet located at its very heart."

Need to know

    The Logistics

    • 60 rooms
    • Located in Manhattan between Grand Central Terminal and Times Square. Library Way just outside leads bookworms to New York’s own extensive archives.
    • An accommodating and convenient home base for urban exploration, with a strong literary theme of its own.

We love

  • The terrace bar under the city lights.
  • The Reading Room, especially at the wine and cheese hour.
  • Free passes to New York Sports Clubs. Big Joe at the nearest facility bulges with an encouraging word!

Top Secret

Reading Roberto Bolano over prosecco, next to a grand piano. Even when all is silent in the Reading Room, one hears the music of words!

Origins

Entrepreneur Henry Kallan emigrated from former Czechoslovakia at the tender age of 21, starting out as a humble busboy. Half a dozen years later he was New York’s youngest general hotel manager, and the rest is history. Inspired by the New York Public Library nearby, he opened the Library Hotel as a flagship for his Library Hotel Collection which comprises three other creatively-themed boutique hotels in Manhattan. With the help of prestigious designer Stephen B. Jacobs, the project was in good hands. Today, Mr. Kallan is intimately involved in the Library Hotel’s operation, and is known to visit regularly to acquaint himself with his guests.

The Review

We knew we were in for special treatment when the doorman, bowing, ushered us into the lobby. We felt like faculty in the library of a prestigious university, eager to retire to our books. Indeed, the staff addressed our needs and the details of our stay with librarian meticulousness. With the aid of a clean shower, complimentary room slippers, and in wise company of almanacs, we decompressed in our room on the “General Knowledge” floor. With a hint from the hotel’s name, we delighted in the discovery that the Dewey Decimal system binds floor to floor in 6,000 volumes of a bibliophile’s bliss. An evening sample of wine and cheese followed in the Reading Room, a niche of civility where plush leather seats nestle into cutaways of walls well-stocked with tomes – this place conjures the comfort of a rich uncle’s study. Next was the in-house Madison & Vine restaurant: fresh salmon under a crispy crust and tender asparagus danced on the palate. As time dissolved in our wine glasses, the restaurant staff graciously ushered us to the rooftop ‘Bookmarks’ bar and terrace. Like lounge lizards we basked in the warmth of a summer evening, prizing our parapet amid New York’s night shimmer and an Empire eavesdropper. The literary-themed cocktails piqued our interest until it was time to put ourselves back on the shelves. The next days followed a similar trajectory; we returned from city sights with old friends, sharing Library privileges of brie and prosecco and sipping “Hemingway” cocktails under the shining spires of Manhattan.

Location

The Library Hotel

  • Address: Library Hotel, 299 Madison Avenue New York City 10017
  • Travel info: Walking distance from Grand Central Terminal; a quick subway ride from most parts of Manhattan.

Key Features

  • Restaurant

  • Bar

  • Free Wifi