The Library Hotel Collection in NYC

We have written before, in one of our older New York City guides, about the four hotels that make up the Library Hotel Collection. I’m going to be staying at two of these great hotels during Thanksgiving Week, while my daughter and two of her friends wave their little hands off atop one of the floats in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. More on that next month!

I wanted to briefly highlight one of these hotels today:  the Library Hotel.  In a few days I’ll discuss the Hotel Giraffe.  I will have a lot more to say on them after we stay there.  But I have word from friends and strangers alike that their stay in these hotels was top-notch, so we are very much looking forward to a fun time at each place.

The Library Hotel, at 299 Madison, draws its inspiration from the Dewey Decimal system. No kidding. The hotel’s 60 rooms are spread over ten floors, with each floor bearing a theme from Dewey’s grand plan:  social sciences, literature, languages, math and sciences, and so on.  Book lovers are sure to enjoy the hotel’s collection of 6,000 books (I will check to see if they have a collection of Open Road travel guides as part of their book-hoard). For you lovers of cacao, you’ll be treated to Belgian chocolates with the nightly turndown service.

The hotel boasts a reading room with 24-hour-a-day freebies featuring tea/coffee/capuccino/cookies, complimentary evening reception with wine, cheese, and the like, and complimentary continental breakfast. On the hotels’ 14th floor rooftop level, there is a bar and terrace garden.  I’m looking forward to relaxing in this cozy spot, complete with fireplace, with a copy of my well-thumbed Wodehouse and a warming single malt!

I’ll leave you with this:  if you pre-pay for a room, you get 20% off.  That is a very good deal in these times.  There are some other special offers too, like the “Snowy Streets Warm Sheets” package that sound perfect for the approaching winter weather.

Next post will be on the Hotel Giraffe, near Madison Square Park, setting the stage for our Thanksgiving week stay there.  Stay tuned.

Second Presidential Debate and Still No Mention of Travel!

I mean, what’s the good of a series of presidential debate slugfests if not a single question is ever asked about the most important topic in this campaign:  why isn’t there a stimulus plan for people to buy Open Road travel guides?  Or at least a tax break for those buying $50 or more worth of our books!

OK, I kid, but I have to dream up ways to get your attention.  Now that you’re reading this, I did want to discuss the TSA’s new PreCheck program, which is intended to make flying the friendly skies a bit friendlier and more relaxing, the way it should be.  I learned this from an AP article yesterday:

     Frequent fliers who voluntarily share more information with the government get to keep their shoes, belts and light jackets on at security. The program will be expanded to 35 airports by the end of the year.

     “If you are willing to share a little more information, then you can have a much better experience,” John S. Pistole, head of the TSA, told the conference. “We can then spend more time on those we know the least about.”

     The additional personal information would most likely be handed over voluntarily to the government by passengers who see the benefit of the time savings.

     Pistole said the TSA would ideally like to analyze passengers’ travel history and patterns but currently lacks Congressional authority to do so. Any such changes would occur after the election, at the earliest, he said.

When I worked in the US Senate a million years ago, aviation security was the first thing I was assigned.  I came up with what I thought was a very cool amendment to the transportation bill that year, aided by various professional groups who wanted to increase funding for a new device that would detect plastic explosives and similar hard-to-screen objects.  We even took money from another part of the bill — you know, that antiquated concept we used to have of paying for something by shifting funds around instead of borrowing it!  But the amendment failed because we hadn’t built any constituency for it.  No mail, no phone calls, no public pressure.  And that meant no amendment.

So while TSA remains everyone’s favorite organization to despise, they are not going anywhere, at least not anytime soon.  So write or call your member of Congress about passing legislation to give TSA the ability to analyze passengers’ travel history and patterns, and maybe something positive will get passed.  And that means fewer grannies being patted down by bored TSA officers.

Welcome to the new Open Road blog!

Just a quick word of welcome to the new Open Road blog.  We’ve changed the look of our website, and we will be posting blog entries much more frequently than in the past.  Give us your feedback and let us know how we’re doing.

In this post I wanted to let you know about our new book, Open Road’s Best of Cuba.  Travel there is controversial, and there are both good reasons in my mind to go and visit, as there are to stay away and spend your travel dollars elsewhere.  The US Government imposes travel restrictions, but people-to-people exchanges of an educational nature are allowed, as are medical, family, and humanitarian visits.  Should you decide to go, Open Road’s guide has the latest info and advice.

Our author Bruce Morris says, in answer to the question why go to Cuba as a destination:  “great beaches, great music, great fishing and diving, great drinking and friendly people …
Cuban beaches are famous for powdery white sand and clear water. There are dozens of beachfront all-inclusive, budget resorts to choose from. Travelers from all over the world come, making Cuba one of the Caribbean’s top destinations.”  If you end up going, let us know what you think!