Thursday, February 23, 2012
Review: The Larchmont Hotel, NYC
Tammy of A Loyal Love and I decided to head up to NYC almost on a whim. It was New York Fashion Week. Everything was booked or prices doubled. Our friends living there already had guests or plans that weekend. Where would we stay? I remembered reading this post on Cup of Jo and she recommended The Larchmont Hotel. The location was in the neighborhood I have always wanted to live, in the heart of everything on 11th St and 5th Avenue. But was a room available? A double bed for $130 a night?! I booked it without reading further.
When we arrived in NYC it was cold and windy, but not snowing as we were expecting. Our rubber wellies suddenly seemed heavy. Encouraged by the awesome deal on the hotel, I decided it would be worth our time to take the subway down from Penn Station, versus hailing a taxi. Our luggage was cumbersome as we tried to navigate the turn styles and down the stairs while hurried New Yorkers sighed loudly as they had to walk around us. We were both sweating now, hot in our coats and boots.
Flustered, we finally exited the Subway and started walking, only 5 blocks to the hotel. Her suitcase kept tipping over, my handbag's strap was on the brink of breaking, and every step was carefully planned. By this time we are starting to laugh at ourselves. Where are our husbands/porters to carry our luggage? Our arms were sore from it! Pathetic!
We stopped at Garden of Eden to grab some snacks and beer which seemed like a good idea but made the rest of our trek even more difficult. We arrived at The Larchmont Hotel barely in one piece.
Check in was smooth and the staff friendly. We headed up to our room just as an older woman was going into the same door with her groceries. I noticed mailboxes by the elevator and got the strange sense we were in an apartment building. Then the woman asked us where we were from and said she lived here, on the 3rd floor! Tammy and I looked at each other.
Getting out of the elevator and navigating the hallway was exasperating with our two trips' worthy load. Not wanting to leave beer or shoes behind we forced our way through. Then we noticed that the bathroom was in the hallway. We started getting the giggles. We got to our tiny tiny room and notice that there is just a wash bin. That was our bathroom we passed. I went back for a second look. Tammy was now glaring at me. We laughed uncontrollably when her husband called to check on our arrival status. I could only hear her side of the conversation:
"Hi, we're here."
"No, it's nice. It's just... the bathroom is down the hall. It's an efficiency."
"No, it wasn't random. I'm following the High Heeled Traveler!"
I laughed so hard that I could barely stand. Up until that point, I had never stayed in a space with the bathroom down the hall. Even in college I only shared my dorm room bathroom with three other girls. On all my trips to Europe I've stayed in bed and breakfasts or hotels, never hostels. How did I miss this in the descriptions on Joanna's blog and the hotel website?! We were on our own, roughing it for NYFW. No husbands to carry our luggage, no luxurious bathroom. It was bare bones here. A libation was needed.
I went back into the hallway to find a bottle opener and I heard the most beautiful opera music coming from the room next door. I was lead by the sound and headed in that direction. I passed a tiny kitchen. There was a tiny table, tiny fridge, tiny sink and a bit of counter space. A place setting for one was set up on the table and dishes freshly washed were drying next to the sink. As I snooped around a man came in and said hello. I turned on my heels and introduced myself while asking for a bottle opener. We chatted for a few minutes before he kindly retrieved his nicest one for me.
If this wasn't perfectly clean, in the perfect location, and so highly recommended, then we might have left. And that would have been a shame because it turned out to be one of the most fun adventures I've ever been on.