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Rostra rating: 3
MagoGuide has ridden Amtrak enough to know that one should book a hotel close to the station for evening arrivals on long haul runs. Thus the Archer Hotel, a “boutique” establishment located a mere ten minutes from Penn Station. And sure enough Amtrak deposited Team Mago some two hours plus late in Manhattan on a Friday night (see Amtrak Can Suck, But Not Nearly as Bad as Flying). It actually took the better part of half an hour to get to the hotel given the insanity of traffic around Penn Station and the absolutely worst. cab. driver. ever. Note to Amtrak and NYC cabbies: between Trump and ride sharing apps, you guys need to up your game or just head over to the dinosaur exhibit at the Museum of Natural History–sheeeesh!
My first impression of the staff at the Archer was positive and continued to be. Our (very) late arrival was no problem and the check-in hottie steered us unerringly to the roof bar for nourishment and alcohol given the imminent closure of the downstairs restaurant.
My first impression of our room was that of nonplussed incredulity. It has been a few years since I stayed at a Manhattan hotel, but that cannot fully explain my sticker shock at what $600 plus taxes buys you for a night downtown. I swear that they had to completely disassemble and then reassemble all the furniture in that room just to fit it in. If you squinted hard, you could almost imagine a path from the bed to either the desk or the bathroom.
The only compensation was a decent, though not great, coffee machine supplied with a few free capsules. Oh, and the AC provided a nice subarctic climate that was very welcome after roasting on Amtrak for over ten hellish hours, fuck me very much.
The roof top bar proved to be a great suggestion. Domina and I were worn out and starving after receiving less respect than the cattle on the freight trains that had right of way over ours. The view of the Manhattan skyline was spectacular, the bouncer was very discrete, and the very professional wait hotties got us a nice table right away. The crowd was young and ready to party on a thermogenic Friday evening fueled by all that radiating concrete and oppressive humidity. The millennials scared off several parties of out of state boomers, which was just fine by us–we had dealt with unhappy cohorts of peers on the train for what seemed like a lifetime and were very happy to surf the youthful vibe until we had drunk enough beer to kill the pain.
There were a few problems associated with that objective, however. The wait staff were not the same ones charged with switching out dead kegs, and whoever that worthy was, he or she proved hard to find. Also, the glasses were white hot right out of the dishwasher. They had some decent and cold bottled suds so Team Mago emulated its youngers and betters in the crowd; problems solved. The food proved to be surprisingly good in the form of pizza-like flatbread. Our repast was provided by the kitchen of the hotel’s main restaurant, but the view evidently required about a 50% surcharge on already stratospheric prices (shit dude, you could have a whole steak dinner in Martin City and full doggie bags for that many ducats).
Unwilling to venture out onto the concrete savannah until absolutely necessary, Team Mago found the staff very helpful in arranging a free late check out (huh, I guess I never realized there were late fees for a late checkout, but I am glad I did not find out how much that costs at the Archer). The front desk staff dealt with our expired room key cards with aplomb, got us a very good cab very fast, and then sent us off to Brooklyn with three bottles of water on a wicked hot day. We were served a good breakfast by an excellent waiter in the downstairs restaurant where the coffee is killer and the prices only semi-ridiculous.
Bottom line: The Archer Hotel has a little too much going on and a few too many floors and (way small) rooms to be considered a genuine boutique hotel, although it certainly makes such claims early and often on its website. If you are riding Amtrak, however, and you have the scratch, it is a nice oasis in the midst of Manhattan. Just be ready for the price.