Friday, January 24, 2014

Hotels for Bibliophiles

     My husband and I are beginning to think vacation in this January month. For years, we have enjoyed the personal quality that B&Bs have to offer, especially if we just need to recharge our batteries. This year we're thinking of booking time in one of the growing number of hotels and Bed & Breakfasts that value the reader and the writer among travelers. New and older hotels recognize that some people like to escape with books. Some like to escape through books. Now some hotels are providing the books. And I'm referring to books with old-fashioned pages that you turn.
     Wading my way through Google, I found a number of places worldwide that allow time to relax with books nearby, and food and drinks an elevator away. These hotels, I'm discovering, provide eclectic book collections, author events, poetry readings, and author-inspired decor. Some provide #2 pencils with small journals in the rooms, others have Mac Computers, a few provide dictionaries, and several display works of local artists and artisans.

     In Oregon is Sylvia Beach, located outside Newport.
Its website states:
This is truly a hotel for book lovers. There are no tv's, radios, or telephones in the rooms and no wi-fi.  It is a quiet place on most days.  Except for the glorious storms. Then the wind howls, the building shakes, and the rain pounds down. Some days it's warm and sunny and the sky is bright blue. Some days there's morning fog. Some days the wind makes you stay inside and read! Some days are rainbow days, the weather just can't decide. The ocean is always present. (The hotel is on a 45 foot bluff right above the surf.) You move into the rhythm of the sea. Perhaps that's why time seems to slow way down, almost to a standstill.
     Register for rooms named for authors such as Virginia Woolf, Colette, Tolkien, Emily Dickinson––to name a few. The owners assert, however, that you'll not spend much time in those lovely rooms because you're going to want to be in the third floor Reading Room filled with overstuffed chairs, a fireplace, many books, puzzles, board games, and wonderful views of the Pacific Ocean. It's a room where coffee and tea are always available and at 10:00 at night you'll be served hot spiced wine.

     "Come down in time to a place that celebrates books and authors," announces Alexander House, a B&B located in the historic district of Princess Anne on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Portraits of famous authors like Pablo Neruda and Isabel Allende hang on hallway walls, and other literary details can be found throughout the inn. Their Booklovers' Shop has items to buy that will later remind you of your rewarding and literary stay with them.
     Their website offers the following:
Each room offers a creative interpretation of a famous author’s own room in his or her time. Immerse yourself in the jazzy Harlem Renaissance of the Langston Hughes Room; or a 19th-century high seas adventure in the Robert Louis Stevenson Room. Relax with a book from our eclectic library in the Mark Twain Library and Parlor. Partake of a gourmet breakfast, afternoon tea or evening liqueur in the charmingly French Cafe Colette.

In a warmer part of the country is The Betsy Hotel located in Florida, specifically South Beach. Two years ago, The Betsy started a writers-in-residence program that offers guest rooms to writers for stays of up to seven days. In exchange, the writer conducts lectures or gives readings that are open to the public. The Betsy prides itself on an active Arts & Culture Events Calendar, which can be viewed and subscribed to on its website. And when you need a break from reading, writing, or listening you must visit its expansive rooftop that gives a sweeping view of the Atlantic Ocean.

     New York City is home to the Library Hotel––a luxury boutique hotel located in Manhattan that boasts a collection of over 6,000 books. Each of the ten guest room floors honors one of the ten categories of the Dewey Decimal System. Further, each room contains books and art based on one of those categories. Their website adds this fabulous nugget:
The Hotel's Fourteenth floor rooftop features the Writer's Den and Poetry Garden and terrace which by day serves as a relaxing oasis with views of iconic New York architecture. Get cozy by the fireplace or read a book in the greenhouse. By night the floor becomes Bookmarks Lounge, a trendy local hot spot serving literary inspired cocktails.

     I'd be remiss if I didn't mention this piece of discovered news: lending libraries flourish in more than 500 Country Inns & Suites. The chain offers a Read It and Return It Library at each location, allowing guests to borrow one of seventy-five to 100 titles and, if they are not finished, take it at checkout to be returned at their next stay. 
     Read this 2013 Press Release excerpt about their latest development:
Country Inns & Suites By CarlsonSM, a leader in the upper midscale hotel category, today announced a partnership with Random House, Inc. to enhance one of the hotel's most popular signature programs, the Read It & Return Lending LibrarySM.
Random House will supply 30,000 books to Country Inns & Suites hotels twice a year in the U. S. and Canada through the partnership. The Read It & Return Lending Library is located in the lobby of each hotel, and includes children's, fiction, mystery/suspense, non-fiction and teen titles.
     If you want to discover a few more hotels for booklovers, visit my Pinterest board, "Book" a Stay for the growing list of places to lay your head, or bury it in a book. What a grand idea. Whether you're a reader or a writer, you'll be happy. What a nice thought.