Five-day Stay in New York City
(7-12 April 2015)

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Library Hotel

This little gem, no diamond of a hotel, was a very welcome respite to this weary traveller.  It turned out to be an unexpected oasis amidst the madness that is Manhattan.  Tucked around a quiet corner a block away from the New York Public Library, the Library Hotel was convenient to many tourist sights.  Living up to its name, there were any number of books on neat bookshelves around the hotel as well as inside the rooms.  Designed on the Dewey Decimal System, each floor was a specific category and each room a division thereof.  I was on the Technology floor and in the Manufacturing room (602).  My bed was extremely comfortable and the linens enveloped me in a nurturing cocoon.  The amenities in the room included terry robes, slippers, iron and ironing board, TV, iHome gadget, extra pillows, hairdryer, mini fridge and DVD player and more.

On the second floor is the Reading Room where guests can sit and work or read at tables and help themselves to coffee and tea and cookies all day and all night.  This is also where breakfast is served (don't miss it) and their wine and cheese evenings from 5-8pm (don't miss this either!).  The night we had some wine and cheese was a pleasant surprise as we discovered two lovely ladies typing away at manual typewriters.  Maya and Amy had a sign that said "Give us one word and we'll give you two poems".  My word was "honesty" (I think B's word was "hope") and sure enough, we were presented with a poem from each of them, read to us at our table, and given to us to keep on 3"x5" index cards.  (Food for the Soul Train)  What a fantastic idea, for a hotel full of words!

The staff are attentive and extremely helpful and friendly, just what you need when you arrive.  Their rooftop terraces (one enclosed, the other not) and bar are also worth checking out, especially on a clear night as you can sip a cocktail and get an up-close-and-personal view of the tops of nearby buildings twinkling in the night.

The attention to detail throughout the hotel is astonishing.  They have thought of everything, right down to a polite (not to mention handy) note with the expected weather for the next day and a list of complimentary items available on request.  If you forgot your toothbrush or toothpaste or ear plugs, you can get replacements.  The free wi-fi works well, and with a large counter in the room, so much the better!  I loved that the staff remembered me a day later, after I'd left!  You are able to store luggage here after check-out.  This is one classy little hotel and quite possibly one of the most wonderful hotels I have ever stayed in.

     
     
     

Contact details
See my TripAdvisor review.


Roosevelt Hotel

This old hotel has two redeeming aspects: one is its fantastic location, the other is the comfortable beds.  It's not that cheap in comparison to other hotels (see the Library Hotel above starting at around $289 a night) at an average of $259 a night (we had two beds).  The worst thing about this hotel is that they charge $16/24 hrs for wi-fi!  In this day and age!  (Most TripAdvisor complaints are wi-fi related.)  You can go across the road to Cosi and get free wif-fi and a much cheaper breakfast and/or cup of coffee.  Our room had most things you'd expect in a hotel like a table and chair, TV, safe, iron and ironing board, aircon, etc., and it was nice to come back to a safe neighborhood and comfortable beds every night.  The old and large entrance and foyer is impressive but once you get to see the real hotel, you don't notice it much.  However, here is a list of what we came up against, the first one being the most disgusting!

1. One of the men who received and stowed left luggage has this line down pat: "There's no charge to store luggage but it's customary to leave a gratuity.  There'll be a change of staff and you can pick up until midnight.  I won't be here then."  I was appalled at hearing this and felt slighted and insulted.  It felt as though he was talking down to some uncultured or ignorant person who has no idea of how travel works or is unaccustomed to tipping.
2. We requested a coffee machine which was delivered along with coffee and creamers and sugars.  The next day we called at 10.15pm and had to ask for coffee for the next morning which was delivered an hour later.  The next night we called around 11pm and never received our coffee.  We called the next day and received just one sachet of coffee even though there were two of us in the room, after a reminder call.  We couldn't understand why it was not automatically replaced seeing as we had a coffee machine.  Eventually we gave up asking for coffee to be sent for our coffee machine and didn't have any on both Saturday or Sunday mornings.
3. I had two holes in my sheets (I have photos) which I noticed were replaced the next day.
4. Our room, 1464, was next to a service area and around 3am I could hear carts being pushed around and bumped, and although it didn't last that long (about 30 minutes), I was awake and unable to get back to sleep.
5. Our bathroom was okay but a little tired looking with brown tile dirt behind the door.  It wasn't that offensive just a little yucky to look at.  The sink faucet was tough to use.
6. When checking in and asking questions at the desk, we were met with surly faces and barely any recognition or even traces of smiles which was rather off-putting.  It felt as though we were disturbing a few of the women behind the desk.  Not at all very welcoming, and neither were the outside men who are one's first impression of the hotel.  I asked for some help and was given an answer but also a look that said, "that's gonna cost you, lady".  It left a bitter taste in my mouth as he turned to grumble to his co-workers.
You can eat on the premises but why anyone would pay $22 for two eggs with potatoes, bacon or sausage and toast or $19 for a Belgian waffle with Vermont maple syrup is beyond me.
   
 
Contact details
See my TripAdvisor review.

Casablanca Hotel

The Casablanca Hotel is a sister hotel of the Library Hotel (they have others in their stable) and had many of the same qualities about it, like the same friendly and informative staff, computers and printers for guests to use, free wi-fi and such.  Around the corner from the famed and busy Times Square, this little hotel turned out to be an oasis in the chaos.  I stayed in room 407 which had two double beds, a table and chair, a chest of drawers, a fantastic bathroom, exceptionally comfortable beds and linens, turndown service, robes and slippers and so much more.  I enjoyed the quiet of this hotel.  They also have wine and cheese from 5-8pm and a free breakfast on the second floor!  I found myself chatting to a few other guests and I discovered one couple were there celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary.  There were also a few children there, so it's suitable for all ages.  Do spend a little time admiring their artwork and tiny mosaic designs.  I loved their wall lights in the hallways!

The Casablanca also offers coffee and tea and pastries throughout the day and night, so if you can't sleep, you can always come down and have a cuppa or a cookie and read.  An air of quiet contemplation is evident throughout the hotel, as was in the Library Hotel, which makes this an ideal hotel for all types of travellers.  The breakfast was tasty and was replenished non-stop.  It was lovely to see staff members with smiles on their faces, who recognized you, and asked how your day was!

       
     
 
Contact details
See my TripAdvisor review.

Accommodation Contacts
Library Hotel - 299 Madison Avenue (41st St.), New York, NY 10017
Tel: (212) 983-4500
Web: www.libraryhotel.com/
Email: reservations@libraryhotel.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/LibraryHotelCollection
Twitter: @LibraryHotel
Instagram: https://instagram.com/libraryhotel/
Free wi-fi and computers and printers for guests to use.
Rates from: $289 or $299 a night depending on what time of the year you visit.
Roosevelt Hotel - 45 E 45th St., New York, NY 10017
Tel: (866) 530-9379
Web: www.theroosevelthotel.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/rooseveltnyc
Twitter: www.twitter.com/RooseveltNYC
Wi-fi: $16 for 24 hrs!
Rates from: $259 a night (we had two beds)
Casablanca Hotel - 147 West 43rd St., New York, NY 10036
Tel: (212) 869-1212
Web: www.casablancahotel.com/
Email: rooms@casablancahotel.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/CasablancaHotel
Twitter: @CasablancaHotel
Instagram: https://instagram.com/casablancahotelnyc/
Free wi-fi and computers and printers for guests to use.
Rates from: $199 a night depending on what time of year you go.


Contacts   Email me
Bread and Tulips Rustic Italian Kitchen & Bar
365 Park Avenue South, New York City, NY 10016
Tel: (212) 532-9100
Web: www.breadandtulipsnyc.com

Chelsea Market
75 Ninth Avenue (at 15th Street), New York, NY 10011
Tel: (212) 652-2110
Web: http://chelseamarket.com

Cosi
38 E. 45th St, New York, NY 10017
Tel: (212) 370-0705
Web: http://getcosi.com/

Food for the Soul Train (Amy and Maya)
Web: www.food4thesoultrain.com

Frick Collection
1 East 70th Street, New York, NY 10021
Tel: (212) 288-0700
Web: www.frick.org

Gourmet45
721 3rd Ave, New York, NY
(212) 682-6220

Hale & Hearty
Chelsea Market, 75 Ninth Avenue (at 15th Street), New York, NY 10011
Tel: (212) 255-2400
Web: www.haleandhearty.com/

High Line
Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District to West 34th Street, between 10th and 12th Avenues
Tel: (212) 206.9922
Web: www.thehighline.org
Email: info@thehighline.org

Katz's Deli
205 E Houston St, New York, NY 10002 (at Ludlow St)
Tel: (212) 254-2246
Web: katzsdelicatessen.com

Metro Subway/Bus
7-Day Unlimited Pass information

Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 Fifth Avenue (at 82nd Street), New York, NY 10028
Tel: (212) 535-7710
Web: www.metmuseum.org
Email: web.site@metmuseum.org

New York Public Library
Cnr. Fifth Ave and 42nd Street, New York
Tel: (917) 275-6975
Web: www.nypl.org

Staten Island Ferry
4 Whitehall Street New York NY 10004
Web: siferry.com

Tri-Tip Grill
Lower Level Dining Concourse, Grand Central Terminal, 89 E 42nd Street, New York, NY 10017
Tel: (212) 557-1000
Web: www.tritipgrill.com

Zabar's
2245 Broadway, New York, NY 10024 (bet. 80th & 81st Streets)
Tel: (212) 787-2000
Web: www.zabars.com
Email: info@zabars.com

Do check out this museum free days link when planning your trip to see how to save money seeing whichever museums you fancy.
     
Route
I boarded the Southwest Chief train in La Junta, CO and overnighted to Chicago.  From Chicago I travelled on the Lake Shore Limited to New York City, also an overnight trip.  The return journey was on the Pennsylvanian to Philadelphia for a few hours, on the Northeast Regional to Washington, DC for an overnight, to Charlottesville, VA on the Northeast Regional for an overnight, on the Cardinal to Chicago (overnight trip) and on the Southwest Chief to La Junta, CO, also an overnight trip.
Amtrak


For the story of the return journey from New York City, click here.


E-mail:  pettprojects@yahoo.com

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