A Brief History Of The Lombardy
Have you heard of The Lombardy? Built in the 1920s by William Randolph Hearst for his mistress, silent film star Marion Davies, the affair lasted his lifetime! The Lombardy has been the New York residence of movie stars such as Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. It is located at 111 East 56th Street, between Park Avenue and Lexington Avenue in Midtown Manhattan. The building was turned into a co-operative in 1957.
A Hotel? An Apartment? What Is The Lombardy?
Rated as a 4-star hotel, there are around 160 studios, one, two and three-bedroom apartments in The Lombardy rental pool, along with additional units owned by permanent residents, or used solely as second homes. So it’s not strictly a hotel! Unlike a hotel’s uniform interior decorations, from the wallpaper to the doona cover to the art pieces… each unit shows the individual owner’s personal taste. That’s right, there are no two rooms alike at The Lombardy. Another sign which suggested it’s not a hotel was that there was no minibar; instead, a working fridge which we found much more useful. It definitely felt like staying in a fully furnished apartment rather than a hotel. Therefore I think it belongs to the Apartment or the Aparthotel category.
Spacious And Homely, Our First Impressions Of The Lombardy
Known for its oversized studio apartments, as our room was one of this type, I was curious to find out how large it would be. Upon entering our temporary home, the first thing we noticed was how spacious this place really was – it was more than double the size of our previous three hotel rooms elsewhere in Manhattan! As we do everything – photo editing, writing; emailing, sometimes dining in the room. One of the problems we found in other hotels was, there was only one desk, one flat surface we had to make do with. Here you can see a desk and a dining table – problems solved! Details like these make a traveller’s life a lot easier.
On top of the spaciousness of this roomy room, we had a marble tiled bathroom and a bathtub! Well you know how much I love having a hot bath… wherever a bathtub is, it’s what I call a lavish living!
Feeling Like Our Own Personal Midtown Manhattan Residence
Although the interior was a little dated and without much zing, we didn’t mind settling in for a homely atmosphere for these final days of our stay. Quality solid timber cabinets, a decent size wardrobe; an entertainment unit that worked, lots of storage space and drawers… A kitchenette with stove, microwave and kitchenware. Most importantly, a dining table and a desk so we didn’t have to rearrange our work set-up or sit on the bed to eat for a change. Hotel? Better. This feels like a home away from home.
Takeaway pizza, we used the china plates to serve. I made myself a cup of tea and flipped through a fashion magazine at the table while Kent did some ironing (an inescapable travel chore). For a little while there I forgot I was staying in a hotel… and for this reason alone, I’d like to check in to The Lombardy again someday.
Room For Improvement
We did have issues with our air conditioner, it made noises. Not broken, it just seemed old. There was also work being done on the building’s exterior so there was scaffolding right outside our only window, therefore we couldn’t open it to let the fresh air in. It was summer and hot, so we had to put up with our noisy air conditioner during the day and all night long. We had reported this problem to the front desk and someone did come up to take a look. Unfortunately it could not be fixed right away. Although it was bearable for us, for some sensitive people it could be intolerable. I hope the owner has renewed or at least repaired it by now.
A Traveller’s Note
Since each rental suite has its individual owner, the interior decoration differs from unit to unit. Is there a downside to this? Apart from getting a note saying that ‘this room features a kitchenette and a work desk’ from our booking confirmation, we didn’t know what our Deluxe King Room would look like. Though perhaps it’s an upside for others who, like myself, are open to the unknown and a pleasant surprise.