The Madison Hotel, which is just outside the College of St. Elizabeth on the old Rt. 24 in Convent Station, is an older hotel — perhaps “classic” is a better word. Rod’s Restaurant was built in 1952, well before I arrived on campus in 1963. The hotel came later, 1980. They’ve modernized and upgraded in the ways that count: good showers and high end products in the newer bathrooms, firm mattresses and fine linens, a gracious lobby. There’s a well equipped workout room, and a pool — this time I remembered to bring my bathing suit. The breakfast buffet is substantial: hard boiled eggs, bagels with cream cheese and high end jams, a tray of sweet breads, fresh cut fruit, coffee and tea, juices. The ways in which the hotel is dated are amusing: no flat screen TV, rather an old Phillips with tubes, and a print newspaper outside the door in the morning.
I can walk directly from the hotel into Rod’s.
The Madison is located amidst numerous corporations here in northern NJ — especially pharmaceutical and energy — so on Thursday the place was filled with execs having meetings. The reunion people have yet to arrive; they’ll begin rolling in later on Friday. On the weekend, there is a big wedding. The area colleges — St. Elizabeth’s Drew, and Fairleigh Dickinson — all hold events here.
I respect businesses that stay relevant over time. Rod’s is still privately owned by the Keller family, as is the hotel. The place is clearly busy and prosperous. There’s another, newer hotel at the back of campus, the Hamilton Park, but I usually makes the Madison my home base when I’m here.