Hidden among a line of brownstones on Harlem’s 120th Street, just across the street from a large park, is a hidden gem for out-of-towners and city residents looking for refuge. The Harlem Bed and Breakfast was a big surprise to me, considering I’ve been a part time resident of Harlem for the past 6 years—part time because I live in Brooklyn, but worked in Harlem. In fact, I was surprised that there were any B-n-B’s in this city since I’d never run into any, but to my surprise, there are many.
Harlem’s Bed and Breakfast has been in operation since 2004, but at that point it was only a portion of the building. They went through an expansion and renovation in 2006, making more rooms accessible and then finally about a year ago the inn keepers Scott Kinder and Macxine Holder transformed the entire building into a serine experience that is the Harlem Bed and Breakfast. Although there are still 2 full time residents, the B-n-B has 13 rooms with various sizes and different features.
All the rooms feature a kitchenette, dishes and silverware in addition to being equipped with normal necessities such as a blow dryer, and iron. Some rooms aren’t connected to a bathroom, and in those cases there is a large public bathroom on that floor. Towels, a toothbrush, toothpaste, q-tips, shampoo and lotion are all provided just in case you need them.
Personally I stayed in a couple rooms at the Harlem Bed and Breakfast in order to get the full experience. My first night there I stayed in the Garden Room, the biggest room in terms of lay-out and set up—think full 2 bedroom apartment with a garden area, perfect for summer. I must say some things were a slight turn off, mainly the fact that there were no bed frames—just a box spring and a mattress on top, plus for some reason the other side of the pillow never got cool (probably fabric issue), but those things were negated by one simple amenity my room had… the Jacuzzi bathtub. After a long day those massage jets work instant miracles! Sleep came easy after a quick soak in the tub, and that’s really all you can ask for. A CD player was also provided in the rooms, a much needed addition for all hotels and b-n-bs.
The second night I was in a smaller room, almost more of a really large college dorm room/studio apartment with a living area/couch, and kitchen area all in one. The room was big enough so it didn’t feel clustered or anything. The shared bathroom was also a concern going into it, but again it was a huge full bathroom, nothing like a college dorm so it was better than expected.
The experience was quiet, comfortable and cozy, so much so that I didn’t necessarily want to leave. The sleep is going to be peaceful on the soft beds, and abundance of pillows. I guess the most important part of a Bed and Breakfast is the breakfast, which I initially slept through. On my second chance at it, my taste buds were thankful to take part in the delicious croissants, which I originally noticed on the website. They claim they are the best in the city, and I can’t say it’s for certain, but I can’t recall a better tasting croissant yet. I might just stop by to pick some up when I’m in the area.
All things considered the Harlem Bed and Breakfast is almost the total package. Not only is it a great place to stay, but they reach out to Harlem’s Urban community, and half their business is from people of color. That’s a lot more than a lot of other locations can claim.
Many Thanks to BnBfinder.com for being the connection to the BnB.
Their link to the Harlem Bed and Breakfast is www.bnbfinder.com/HarlemBedAndBreakfast
Rates: $50 (rooms) – $195 (suites)
Harlem Bed and Breakfast receives a PARL
all images (except main image) by christian Ortiz
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