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A Visit to Hotel Elysee, a Refined, French-Styled Boutique Hotel, in Midtown East, Manhattan

- On Location with Roberta

Hotel Elysee

60 East 54th Street
Btw.Madison & Park
New York, NY 10022
Library Hotel Collection

Near Galleries, Fine Shopping,
Museums, Carnegie Hall,
City Center, Broadway, Jazz,
Lincoln Center, & Central Park!
Elegant Lounge & French Decor!
Incl. Breakfast & Wine Reception!
Click Here for Rooms & Rates!

A Visit to Hotel Elysée

60 East 54th Street
New York, NY 10022

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
November 18, 2013

Staying at the Hotel Elysée, one of four hotels in the Library Hotel Collection, was like taking a brief trip to Paris. Whenever I’ve visited Paris, I stay in a boutique hotel, near wide avenues of tiny shops and bustling bistros. The Hotel Elysée, with 15 floors, but only 84 guest rooms and 16 suites, from junior suites to premier suites, is decorated in French country flair, with crystal chandeliers in every room and furniture with deep wooden tones. Flat-screen televisions are mostly hidden inside tall chests, rooms come with spring water, and the bellman can provide ice cubes day and night. On request, you can ask for a natural sound machine, a small refrigerator, and an assortment of amenities, available from the desk. Mirrors have wooden bows on top, and guest room walls are papered in soft tones. This award-winning, smoke-free hotel greets you through a cheerful red canopy, into a sparkling black and white tile lobby, with usually three smiling men and women behind the front desk, all efficient and ready with information and services. I found a bottle of Cabernet and Belgian chocolate in my deluxe room, with a wide king bed, French country desk, end table, and chest for drawers and television, tapestry drapes and silky white curtains in between.

I faced East 54th Street, with its shops and restaurants. And, on either end of this block, I found Park Avenue and Madison Avenue waiting, like my visits to Paris. In fact, on my first day out, I found no less than three Parisian baguette and bakery shops, within minutes from Hotel Elysée, a perfect match. But, staying at Hotel Elysée, you’ll never be hungry for long, as the Club Room serves daily breakfast (yogurt, bagels, croissants, juices, fresh fruit salad, a variety of fresh coffees and teas), a wine and cheese reception (with Cabernet, Chardonnay, or Prosecco, gourmet cheese platters, vegetable crudités, a variety of crackers and cookies, and room service is available as well. Plus, the renowned Monkey Bar, built during the Depression as a piano bar, to offer cheer and song. In the 1950’s, the Monkey Bar was named for hand-painted murals by Charlie Wala, of monkeys with human characteristics, cavorting and mixing cocktails. A restaurant, now owned by Graydon Carter, with newly painted murals evoking New York’s infamous history.

If you are really interested in soaking up New York’s history, during a special visit to Hotel Elysée, you can actually reserve one of three Presidential, Premier Suites. These three Suites are named for: Vaclav Havel, the last President of Czechoslovakia, whose poetry and essays I studied in college, a remarkable literary icon; Tennessee Williams, whose play, The Glass Menagerie, is currently on Broadway. Mr. Williams lived in the Elysée for 15 years, until he died there in 1983; and Vladimir Horowitz, a truly virtuosic pianist, who lived in the hotel in the 1970’s. In visiting the Havel Suite, I was struck by the grand piano, the expansive separate kitchen, and a gorgeous dining table and upholstered living room, with lovely New York views. The Horowitz Suite also has a grand piano and roaring fireplace, for cold nights. Photos, books, and memorabilia adorn all the Suites, like a 1961 photo of Tennessee Williams and Bette Davis, a photo of Vladimir Horowitz and Nancy Reagan, and a 1990 photo of Vaclav Havel and Paul Newman. Other famous icons, who have visited Hotel Elysée for brief or extended stays are Maria Callas, Dame Margot Fonteyn, Marlon Brando, Ava Gardner, Sidney Poitier, John and Ethel Barrymore, Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy, Mario Puzo, James Caan, and Tallulah Bankhead, to name some.

But no matter what size room you choose for your visit to Hotel Elysée, you will always be surrounded by nearby culture. Museum of Modern Art is just about a block away, entrance at East 53rd Street, between 5th and 6th Avenues, Rockefeller Center, with Ice Skating and its splendid Christmas tree is close by at 50th Street and 5th Avenue, Central Park is just a few minutes’ walk, at 59th Street at 5th Avenue, City Center, a fascinating venue for dance and theater, can be found at 55th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues, and the extraordinary concert venue, Carnegie Hall, with its smaller Halls, Weill and Zankel, is close by, too, at 57th at 7th Avenue. You can also walk to Broadway theaters in the West 50’s, like Studio 54, yes, the original nightclub, the nearby Neil Simon Theatre, now housing Big Fish, the Jazz Club, Iridium, at 51st and Broadway, which happens to be next to the long-running show, Mamma Mia, and the new Cabaret Club, 54 Below, right under Studio 54. Also, a group of Off-Broadway theaters, 59E59, on East 59th Street, between Madison and Park, are a very short walk from the hotel. One of my visit’s highpoints was a long walk up Madison Avenue, stopping in the shops. In early evening, it’s like a suburban mall, decked in tiny white lights for the upcoming Holidays, pristine, inviting, and fun. Espresso shops abound.

You can explore guest rooms, junior or premier suites, and the variety of prices that work for your visit, for business or pleasure, or even a mini-vacation for pampering, shopping, and culture. And, did I mention the Business Center in the Club Room, with a computer and printer (the entire Hotel Elysée has free wi-fi access, throughout), newspapers, magazines, and a Library filled with a trove of literature, free for borrowing. Hotel Elysée can be your New York home away from home.

Hotel Elysée Guest Hallway
Courtesy of the Library Hotel Collection

Hotel Elysée Deluxe Room with King Bed
Courtesy of the Library Hotel Collection

Hotel Elysée Deluxe Room with Queen Bed
Courtesy of the Library Hotel Collection

Hotel Elysée Lobby Entrance
Courtesy of the Library Hotel Collection

Hotel Elysée Exterior View
Courtesy of the Library Hotel Collection

Hotel Elysée Club Room
Courtesy of the Library Hotel Collection

Hotel Elysée Library
Courtesy of the Library Hotel Collection

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at