By Shari Hartford
Photos courtesy of Archer Hotel
What more can you want from an urban hotel? Great location? Check…two doors down from Lord & Taylor, in the shadow of the Empire State Building, excellent proximity to all transportation venues. Cozy without being overly intimate? Check…with 180 rooms, Archer New York is large enough to be able to provide a variety of room choices and amenities but small enough for personalized service. Extras? Check and double-check…the rooftop bar, Spyglass, has indoor/outdoor space with spectacular city views; the lobby restaurant (and the lobby itself) also has an indoor/outdoor space for dining, snacking or just people watching; the locally curated souvenirs are a hoot and actually are objects that you will want to bring home and keep; and finally there’s the Kid in Archer program. This is a free gift box for children containing timeless toys such as Etch-a-Sketch, Pick Up Sticks, Golden Books and more. The selection varies but arriving kids are made to feel as if they were special guests.
All this can be yours, and more, when you check in to Archer New York on 38th Street, right off Fifth Avenue in New York City. I did just that a few weeks ago and was in for quite a surprise. Okay, I admit that hotels have started to blend together for me. There is little that distinguishes one from another…they’re usually clean, the staff usually friendly, there’s usually a big television and there’s usually room service. But there’s a uniqueness that separates Archer from the pack. First of all, there’s that bowl of individually wrapped hand sanitizer packets on the reception desk. Not that big a deal, but after getting out of a dirty taxi or an even dirtier subway, these are welcome and I was encouraged to grab a handful for carrying around. My room (number 2108) was beautifully appointed, but smallish, with an exposed brick wall and soothing muted colors. (The other design palettes are Tiffany blue, gray and purple, each one gorgeous and contemporary.) My pet peeves about hotel rooms are a lack of convenient electrical plugs and bad lighting. Here, the plugs were too numerous to count and each one
was accessible, including several next to the bed for multiple devices. The gleaming white tiled bathroom was bright enough for serious make-up application and there was enough shelving for all kinds of toiletries. Also on the useful and appreciated list were the two free bottles of water waiting in the room (replenished free of charge every few days), the nightly turn down service and the mini bar that was divided in half, with half being a real frig and, finally, the best free WiFi I’ve had in a long time.
Nightfall came and I discovered that although the bathroom lighting was splendid, the room lighting was dull and atmospheric instead of bright and cheery. I fumbled around switching on every switch there was with nary a wattage change. Something for the to-do list, Archer? Room service came from the David Burke lobby restaurant, Fabrick. The limited, yet something-for-everyone, menu items arrive in a to-go bag—Burke in a Box–so I could have conceivably taken this to an office, on a train, a plane or just curled up on the bed (as I did) and munched away.
As a life-long New Yorker I am lulled to sleep by city noise and get antsy in the quiet. So, I was thrilled to discover that the windows in Archer open for the sounds of the city to drift in – even 21 floors up. I hunkered down on one of the most comfortable beds I have ever slept in and fell fast asleep.
When I left Archer the next morning, via taxi summoned by the wonderful front desk personnel, I reminded myself that travel is a joy, a wonder and can also be a trial. We are subjected to pushing, prodding, waiting and the attitudes of some staff that would rather be anywhere but helping you, the traveler. Not so at Archer. That heartfelt, “thank you, safe trip and come again,” makes the journey well worth it. Even if I was only headed back downtown.
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