By Shari Hartford
The Elysée and the Giraffe, both members of the Library Hotel Collection, are small boutique properties that offer a residential ambiance in a city filled with giant impersonal chain hotels.
In keeping with the country retreat feel of Library Hotels, a generous continental breakfast is served in both locations. In addition, cookies, fruit and beverages are available throughout the day and there is wine and hors d’oeuvres served in the early evening.
From the moment you walk into the polished dark wood- and-marble lobby, you feel relaxed. The attentive staff welcomes you as if you had just arrived at a private home. The 136 rooms and suites are graciously decorated with classic furnishings and modern amenities. As I toured the hotel and saw the variety of accommodations, I smiled to discover live plants and flowers in every room; a small but exceedingly welcome touch. The Elysée brings the charm and graciousness of a small European hotel to midtown Manhattan. Adjoining the hotel is New York City’s famed Monkey Bar. A legend for over 80 years, the bar and restaurant has played host to such notables as Joe DiMaggio, Marlon Brando and Ava Gardner. Stop in for a drink, lunch, dinner or just dessert – the beignets with custard are to die for.
For more information, see elyseehotel.com
So, why is it called Giraffe? Simply put, the owner named the 72-room hotel after his favorite animal. And in keeping with its grace and elegance, the Hotel Giraffe is chic and tranquil. The guestrooms are glamorous without being showy, retro without seeming dated and modern enough for state of the art electronics to fit right in. My room had a balcony with stunning views of Park Avenue South. I particularly loved the soft Egyptian cotton linens, down comforter and the abundance of towels in the bathroom. Someone is listening to what travelers want! As a whimsical touch, there is a copy of Lynn Sherr’s book, Tall Blondes: A Book about Giraffes in every room.
Does the hotel look familiar? One of the Penthouses was transformed into Mr. Big’s apartment in the first Sex and the City movie.
For more information, see hotelgiraffe.com
Shari Hartford is the former managing editor for Diversion magazine, where she wrote about travel in the northeast and cruising. She is currently a freelance writer and editor based in her hometown of New York City.