Casablanca Hotel in Times Square

There is another wonderful property owned by the Library Hotel Collection where I’ve recently stayed, and it is just steps from Times Square; the first-rate and comfy Casablanca Hotel. If you want to see a Broadway show or just shop and hang out where it’s all happening, consider the Casablanca.

blog12Located on West 43rd Street just steps from Broadway, and right next to a fun Italian restaurant called Tony’s, the Casablanca like its sister hotels in NYC offers great amenities:

  • Free High Speed Wireless Internet
  • Complimentary continental breakfast
  • Complimentary refreshments in their clubroom (named Rick’s Cafe, of course!)
  • Wine & cheese receptions evenings from 5pm-8pm
  • Free bottled water, turn down service
  • Free health club passes

blog11Our room

The breakfasts and wine-and-cheese spreads are incredibly good, and the selection of coffees and teas left us feeling full and quite satisfied. Comfortable chairs and couches abound, and you can lounge by the fireplace (see photo below) while reading the paper or surfing the web and imbibing a cool or hot drink. We found our room very stylish, done up as all the rooms are in Moroccan fashion, and snug. Yes, it was very cold here in New York in early January, but our room and Rick’s Cafe were cheery, warm, and very pleasant.

As we’ve found now at each Library Hotel location, the service could not be better, faster, or more friendly. The concierge and front desk people are quite helpful, and can help you find a great place to eat, arrange for tickets to a show, or just help you achieve whatever it is you’ve come to do in the Big Apple.

Right now there are several specials going on at the Casablanca: there’s the Wonderful Winter in NYC, where the price is 20% off and you get 2 complimentary Leonidas Choco Lattes and 2 Casablanca mugs; the Valentine’s Package which comes with a bottle of Lunetta Prosecco and the hotel’s own “From New York with Love” Love Box; the Top of The Rock Package, also at 20% off plus 2 tickets to the Top of the Rock observation deck for breathtaking and unforgettable views of the city; and a few other great deals as well!  Check out their specials at the link above.

Again, we loved our stay at the Casablanca, and I think you will too.


Hotel Elysée, Manhattan Beauty

My family has just returned from a great stay at the Hotel Elysée in New York City, and I recommend it heartily to one and all! From the lovely large rooms and suites to the dynamite service and great location, consider staying here the next time you’re in Manhattan.

blog6Located on 54th Street between Park and Madison, you are just a few minutes from primo shopping on 5th Avenue or Madison. Several subway stops are very close as well. And if you want some exercise or fresh air, Central Park is nearby — or you can get a free pass and work out at the New York Sports Club a few blocks over at Park and 59th. You are also right next door to the world-famous Monkey Bar, for either dinner or a late night cocktail.

We loved the complimentary breakfasts in the 2nd floor club room, with lots of fresh pastries, bagels, croissants, great coffee and tea, scones, hard-boiled eggs — as well as the afternoon wine-and-cheese offerings from 5-8pm. Cookies, fruit, and coffee or tea are available all day long as well! Free newspapers are available too.blog7Also in the club room is a computer and printer, and there is free wifi throughout the hotel. There is same-day laundry service, and evening turndown service with chocolates on your pillow. Checkout is 1 pm, so you are not being rushed out on your day of departure. If your schedule allows you to sleep in on your final day, you can do so at the Elysée!

The level of service is top-notch. All the employees we met were friendly, helpful, and knowledgeable about both the hotel and the area. The rooms are spacious, the bathrooms elegant, and the bedding soft and inviting. If there wasn’t so much to do in New York I think we would have just lounged around our room and the club room all day. So do yourself a favor and stay at the Elysée on your next trip to the Big Apple!

A final word on a giveaway going on now at all Library Hotel properties: go here to enter to win a three-night stay (for two people) at one of the hotels in their collection, plus a $100 dining gift certificate and free passes to the wonderful Morgan Library museum. Hey, you never know, right?



New Hotel Gem in Budapest!

I have never been to Hungary, but I have wanted to go there for a long time. My father’s lineage descends from what was then the Austro-Hungarian Empire, in and around Budapest (at least on my grandfather’s side). But today I have a good reason to travel there, in addition to the rich culture, great sights and the chance to sample chicken paprikash made the Old World way — now there is Budapest’s newest gem, the Aria Hotel, opening March 15, 2015.

blog1The Aria is part of the Library Hotel Collection, with four terrific hotels in New York City. Just as the Library Hotel draws its inspiration from literature and famous authors, so the Aria draws its inspiration from music and famous composers. The seven-story building dates from the 1870s, and it has been lovingly restored by local Budapest architects and interior designers. The Music Garden Courtyard is enclosed entirely by glass! There are 49 rooms plus four parlors, each with its own musical theme: contemporary, opera, jazz, and classical. Free wi-fi, flat-screen TVs, a music library accessible through iPads, and turndown service with chocolates included! The location is in the city center, next to the famous St. Stephen’s Basilica.

Here’s a small preview of some of the gorgeous rooms available at the Aria:

blog2Classical Music Wing

blog3Contemporary Music Wing

blog4Franz Liszt Studio Suite

Many rooms have either a private terrace or balcony.There are a number of restaurants, including the elegant Stradivari, but you can choose to eat at Aria’s bars, lounges, on the rooftop garden, on the terrace — or even in the Teatro Aria, where a variety of musical performances and videos will be shown. A wonderful breakfast is complimentary with your stay, as is an afternoon wine and cheese selection. Visit the pool, Turkish bath, fitness center or spa; it’s all here!

There are several specials going on right now, including the “Getting to Know You” package at 195 Euros per night (about $240 at today’s exchange rate) if you book prior to the hotel’s March grand opening. That is a very attractive price for what I am confident will be incredible service, beautiful surroundings, and terrific value. I will close this post with a great night shot of Budapest. Note: all photos come from the Aria Hotel’s website.


Two Great NYC Hotels, Part Two

This is my follow-up post to my two pre-trip write-ups about the Library Hotel and the Hotel Giraffe.  Now that we’ve experienced both hotels I can report back and say that these are two of the nicest New York hotels I’ve stayed in.  I’m very impressed, and I think you will be too.

First, some pics of the Library Hotel (299 Madison at 41st Street). These are of the 14th floor bar and terrace:

Now a few of the Hotel Giraffe (365 Park Ave. South at 26th Street):

Our room at the Giraffe had a comfy living room and a lovely terrace looking north, south, and west. And our themed room at the Library was perfect for a family visit; our room was Fairy Tales, with books and art work reflecting the theme beautifully.  As you can see from the first pics above, we loved the sitting areas on the Library’s 14th floor, replete with warm fire and plush leather couches and chairs.  We particularly enjoyed the first-rate lattes and cappucinos in the morning and afternoon, the wine and cheese platters, and the fruit and cookie selections at both hotels.  These folks know how to cater to you.  The service throughout our stay was perfect:  efficient and warm!

If business or pleasure brings you to Manhattan soon, consider either of these wonderful NYC hotels, both part of the Library Hotel Collection.  I think you’ll be happy with your visit.


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.