“Book” Your Next Trip at One of These Reader-Friendly Hotels
Books are often the best travel companions you can have, given that they don’t take up much room, help you pass the time between destinations, and never argue with you over where to stay or eat. A growing number of hotels make it easy to meet new paper-and-ink pals with book-centric amenities like these:
In the mood for a late-night brain snack? The Commons Hotel (located on the University of Minnesota campus) lets you peruse an in-room “menu” of books (ranging from bestsellers to classics) and have them delivered to your door by “book butlers.” The hotel’s turndown service also leaves a wise quote in place of a chocolate on guests’ pillows.
Paris’ Les Plumes is situated in a district well-known for housing renowned writers, and decorates its guest room bedding with the names of famous literary couples like Juliette Drouet and Victor Hugo. Its staff also dress in 19th-century period garb (though they also have iPads and a central computer system to make sure you’re taken care of during your stay).
New York City
The decor in New York’s Library Hotel is an homage to the Dewey Decimal System, one of America’s two major library classification systems (the other being the Library of Congress’). Each floor has a theme in line with the DDS (Literature, Languages, Math and Science, etc) and each guest room is decorated in a theme-within-that-theme (such as “Astronomy” and “Dinosaurs” on the “Math and Science” floor). Along with a reading room that’s open 24/7, the hotel is also just a block away from the NYC’s famed public library.
More than 33,000 volumes line the walls of the Wine Library at Zurich’s B2 Boutique Hotel, which is also a full-service bar serving drinks and small plates from breakfast until late into the night. Post up underneath a chandelier made from Hürlimann beer bottles and lose yourself in a novel, pausing only to top up your drink or refuel with a burger.
Koh Samui, Thailand
If lounging on a Thai beach and drinking in the transcendent shoreline ever starts to get old, guests at The Library Hotel in Koh Samui have an easy way to switch the vibe. At this sleek, minimalist resort, they can dip into the hotel’s collection of hundreds of titles at The Lib, an airy white reading room that happens to include more stunning ocean views.
If you’re looking for luxury, you can’t do much better than the Taj Falaknuma Palace in Hyderabad, India — it’s a former palace, after all. Built in 1894, it houses a massive (and gorgeous) library filled with more than 5,000 rare books and manuscripts.
Portland is home to both the world’s largest independent bookstore (Powell’s Books), and one of America’s best-known literary festivals (“Wordstock”). The city’s crush on the written word even extends to its hotels — in particular The Heathman, which features one of the largest autographed libraries in the world, including signed editions from Nobel Prize and Pulitzer Prize winners, U.S. Poet Laureates, and a former United States President. Four nights a week, The Heathman hosts “evening socials” in the library, where guests can sip complimentary local wine and get personalized book recommendations from the staff.
Flintshire, North Wales, UK
Whereas most of the occupants of this list are hotels with libraries built in, Gladstone’s is in fact the opposite: a 250,000-volume library that also happens to provide accommodation. Their vaulted, wood-accented reading room has plenty of overstuffed chairs for curling up with books, as well as desks for producing new ones (more than 300 books have been written at Gladstone’s, according to the website). The peaceful guest rooms at “the UK’s only residential library” also have understated book-themed decor.
Thomas Whittington is an instructor with Iris Reading. He graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2005 despite being a painfully slow reader. In 2008, he took an Iris course and, with practice, dramatically improved his reading speed. Hey, better late than never! Thomas' other interests include acting, comedy, and the Chicago Cubs.