In a city packed with sleek high-rise hotels of the first order, the Sugar Hill Harlem Inn stands out for its sustained ability to offer just as regal an experience as the big guys do. At heart, this cozy home away from home is a true bed-and-breakfast, complete with common room and friendly cat. The 1906 Victorian townhouse is located in the neighborhood’s most storied district, the site of the Harlem Renaissance, the birth of jazz, and countless political movements. Renovations in 2001 stayed true to the building’s original design while incorporating modern amenities. Owner Jeremy Archer has always held the history of Sugar Hill in high regard, and will be happy to chat with you about it or point the way to local landmarks. Nine rooms (split between two locations — another equally opulent townhouse is located six blocks away, at 408 Convent Avenue) are named and designed after famous Sugar Hill dwellers, including Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis, Billie Holiday, Malcolm X, and Nina Simone. The Josephine Baker Room is as fun and sexy as its namesake, with wild prints and portraits of the dancer over the large fireplace. But the Lena Horne room, with its elaborate molding, chandelier, and romantic canopy, is our pick. Morning coffee in the peaceful backyard garden is a must. With room rates starting at $125 per night, Sugar Hill is a veritable bargain. (Seriously, they must order their mattresses in bulk from Heaven. That comfy.) The small and accommodating staff remembers your name, providing personalized service — and it’s their good company, combined with a knowledge of New York history, that makes this the ideal place to put up your out-of-town relatives or to retreat to for a quick staycation of your own.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 15, 2014