In continuation of my #hotellife through Long Island City, this week I'm taking you down the rabbit hole. Speaking of rabbit, imagine a scene out of Who Framed Roger Rabbit? spliced with Back to the Future, with all the props except for the guns and lasers (darn!) nor any of the memorable characters (double darn!). That's what the Paper Factory felt like.
The Paper Factory is one of many converted industrial sites which has preserved its history to tell its story. A radio manufacturing factory in the 1920s, a paper factory in the 1970s, and now a 122-room hotel.
The interactive lobby is adorned with recycled wood, distressed leather couches, industrial knickknacks and kitschy oddities you'd expect to find in your quirky grandfather's study, if he was a mad scientist or inventor of some sort. There are no shortage of things to peruse, with colorful libraries, old model cars and several creative communal areas. Two game rooms invite guests to play chess, ping pong and foosball, and video sharing stations provide a fun opportunity to leave a digital imprint. The most curious centerpiece was the British style telephone booth protruding from the floor, as if a time warp was intercepted midway.
Despite the fun factor, the entire time I was in the lobby, I only noticed one staff member working in the Front Office. Not that I expect white glove service, but an offer to assist with luggage would have been appreciated.
The Paper Factory claims that no two rooms are alike, which entices guests to return. The Standard King that I stayed in had lofty windows overlooking Queens and a painting above the headboard of a sheepish Audrey Hepburn peeking at you over her shoulder. I did uncover some stains on the sheets and pillows, and notified staff immediately (not uncommon in hotels that outsource their housekeeping).
Dining and drinking options include a coffee shop in the lobby, and the attached Latin-Mediterranean restaurant Mundo, where we had fantastic cocktails paired with yucca fries. While the hotel caters towards out-of-town tourists, it also welcomes locals with live jazz and dance nights.
In the vicinity, you'll find chill local pubs (like Snowdonia) and breweries (definitely check out LIC Beer Project) adjacent to derelict factories and suburban homes, reflective of Long Island City's transformation into a vibrant cultural destination. If you're completely new to LIC, I highly recommend a night out at the 30,000 sq. ft. Studio Square Beer Garden (expect a rowdy, but fun crowd) or immersing in a visual exploration at the Museum of Moving Image.