The Algonquin

The Algonquin Hotel (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times / November 6, 2004)

Literary tourists traveling to New York have long been drawn to the Algonquin Hotel, the site of the famed Algonquin Roundtable. Full disclosure: "Literary tourists" include me -- I've been there more than once to have a martini in its lounge.

The Algonquin was where a group of writers, wits and key literary figures met starting in 1919 to eat, argue and, of course, drink. Dorothy Parker, the petite poet with an acid pen and a hollow leg, was one of its stalwarts. So was Robert Benchley, one of his generation's most popular humorists; Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Edna Ferber; writer, editor and producer George S. Kaufman, winner of two Pulitzers; New York Times drama critic Alexander Woollcott; and Harold Ross, who, midway through the Roundtable's eight-year run, founded the New Yorker magazine.

Although the Roundtable's run ended in the late 1920s, it has not been forgotten. The hotel has changed hands among various owners and gone through a number of renovations, but it has always held on to its literary legacy.

It expanded on that legacy this week, announcing a new partnership with publisher Simon & Schuster. On the literary tourist front, it includes a Simon & Schuster suite, a room that comes stocked with books -- it's safe to say, with a heavy Simon & Schuster emphasis.

The Simon & Schuster suite is on the seventh floor of the 12-story hotel, which is located in Manhattan at 59 W. 44th St. The bedroom has a king-sized bed; the living room will include a bookcase full of classics and modern bestsellers. Additionally, the turn-down service will include an advance copy of one of Simon & Schuster's books that the guest can keep.

The Simon & Schuster package -- which includes a complementary breakfast at the Round Table Restaurant -- starts at $459 a night.

Apart from the suite, the partnership with the publisher includes a speaker series featuring Simon & Schuster authors which is open to the public. First up is Chuck Klosterman, who will be launching his book of essays "I Wear the Black Hat: Grappling With Villains" there on July 8.

Will the hotel partner with other publishers? Well, there are plenty of rooms left.

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