The Ambassade Hotel in Amsterdam includes signed first copies from famous authors. (All photos courtesy Oyster.com)
By Jane Reynolds
A summer vacation is the perfect time for catching up on all the books you’ve been meaning to read. With more downtime, more holidays, and less time devoted to required reading, the summer allows us to get in some great guilty-pleasure reads.
And while a sandy beach is always a lovely spot for lying out with the latest Nicholas Sparks (please reserve your judgment), there are some hotels around the world not on the beach that are just made for book lovers. Whether it’s where a famous novel was set, an author awaited arrest, or a gorgeous library can be found, these eight hotels are a bookworm’s delight. (And we threw in one on the beach, just for good measure.)
Ambassade Hotel, Amsterdam
Ambassade Hotel’s lovely brick front is as inviting as its location in the picturesque (and convenient) Canal Ring neighborhood, across from a boat-lined canal and within walking distance of several major publishing houses, making it a popular crash pad for authors. Rooms offer lovely views and are adorned with rich furnishings, intricate mirrors, and carved furniture. Common spaces are equally elegant, including the library where signed first editions from guests past—such as Nobel laureates José Saramago and Orhan Pamuk, and best-selling author David Sedaris—can be found in glass cases.
The Plaza, New York City
The century-old, 282-room Plaza is a New York landmark. A $400 million overhaul in 2008 gave the hotel a completely luxurious look, but even before that it was where the creme de la creme of the city stayed and played. After the success of In Cold Blood, novelist Truman Capote threw a lavish party called the Black and White Ball at The Plaza in honor of his friend, and Washington Post publisher, Katharine Graham. Invitations were highly sought after and only the most elite of the “in” crowd were on the guest list.
Pera Palace Hotel, Jumeriah; Istanbul
This opulent 115-room hotel in Beyoglu is a historic icon dating back to 1895. From the ornate lobby with marble tile floors, to the elegant afternoon tea, to the live piano music, to the (working!) original wrought-iron elevator, everything about Pera Palace evokes the bygone days when posh Europeans traveled to Istanbul on the Orient Express. One of the hotel’s luxury suites (pictured above) is named after Ernest Hemingway, who had his protagonist in the short story The Snows of Kilimanjaro stay at the hotel.
The Westin Palace, Madrid
Not only did Hemingway write The Westin Palace (then simply the Palace Hotel) into The Sun Also Rises, but he also stayed there, and not surprisingly he was known to frequent the bar. He, along with guests today, appreciated the hotel’s proximity to the Prado Museum. One of the top hotels in Madrid, the Westin is housed in a gorgeous historic building that was commissioned by the king in 1912.
The Cavendish London
The Cavendish London is a large, 231-room hotel in Mayfair. The building is taller than many in the neighborhood (meaning sweeping views over London’s rooftops), the elegant design uses pops of color, and the rooms have great amenities including electric kettles, Nespresso machines, and minibars. Bookworm-friendly amenities include a special service where guests can request the delivery of a specific book to read during their stay.
GoldenEye Hotel & Resort, Jamaica
The 21-room GoldenEye is hands down Jamaica’s hippest and most luxurious resort. It’s also one of the island’s most historic, as the former home of Ian Fleming, and the hideaway at which the author scribed all 14 of his James Bond novels. Today, the property includes stunning cottages and villas overlooking a private beach and lagoon, as well as two happening restaurants, two pools, a tree house spa, and an extensive roster of on-site activities.
Library Hotel, New York City
A homey, literary-themed boutique, this hotel sits down the block from New York’s famous Public Library and not only boasts a quaint library but also themed suites, such as the Love Room, which includes a collection of books curated by none other than Dr. Ruth Westheimer. The Library Hotel is one of New York’s best values, mostly because of the perks: an upscale bistro on the ground floor, a lively bar on the penthouse floor, free Wi-Fi, free gym passes, and free daily pastries, wine, and cheese.
Cadogan Hotel, London
The Cadogan is an unpretentious boutique hotel with a prestigious Knightsbridge address. This 64-room hotel occupies a historic Edwardian townhouse on Sloane Street, in close proximity to local shopping. The property has a rich history, including the room where Oscar Wilde awaited his arrest in 1895 (pictured above) and another where King Edward VII met with his mistress, the British actress Lillie Langtry.
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