The Algonquin Hotel, the home of the Rose Room, the home of The Round Table, is a New York and an American treasure. On East 44th Street, a few steps from the offices of Vanity Fair and The New Yorker, it embodies New York individualism – ever elegant and yet off-beat.
Years ago a great lady, Sara Lawless, was the Managing Director of The Tyrone Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis when I came to the company. She told me of her first visit to The Algonquin. “We were going to New York for a casting session and I was thrilled I’d be staying at the actual Algonquin Hotel! I was so excited when they showed me my room, dark wood and crisp linens. I was getting ready to go downstairs when I heard…a scratching sound. Then again. Oh no. Don’t tell me. Not here. Again, a scratching sound. I reluctantly called down to the desk. I knew the hotel was booked solid and there were no other rooms.
“I hate to say this, but I’m hearing …a scratching sound… in my room?’.
“Thank you, Madame” was the immediate response. “If you would be so kind as to be our guest at the bar we will take care of it immediately.”
I thought, “What can they do ‘immediately’? Every room’s booked.” I got my shoes back on and my purse, and was opening the door to go downstairs. Standing patiently in the hallway was a bellhop with a huge cat. He went in, I went down to the bar, and in a half hour the bartender came up to me and said I could return to my room. “Everything had been taken care of.”