When my former carpool buddy Fran, told me about the Library Hotel in New York City, you can only imagine the level of my excitement. The hotel’s location at 299 Madison Avenue puts it near two of Manhattan’s best known structures, the main branch of the New York Public Library (photo, right) and Grand Central Terminal. The Library Hotel boasts 60 rooms and, most thrillingly, each floor is themed with one of the ten major Dewey Decimal classifications. Not only that, each room’s theme reflects a subcategory or genre within that classification. For example, room 800.005 is Fairy Tales, while room 300.004 is World Culture. Needless to say, spending a night at the Library Hotel is on my “must do” list for the future and, after looking at the rates, I have to say that one night, and one night only, is probably going to have to be it. I don’t know about you, but the nine-year-old in me can’t wait to stay in room 500.005 (Dinosaurs)!
Are you interested in staying somewhere that reflects your love of books and reading? If so, consider these unique hotels.
Inn BoonsBoro in Boonsboro, MD, is a boutique hotel with just eight rooms but the owner, Nora Roberts (yes, that Nora Roberts), has taken special care to make each of those rooms special. Seven of the rooms are named for famous literary romantic couples and feature details themed to those specific stories. The Nick and Nora, for example, highlights Art Deco decor in keeping with the Prohibition Era setting of Dashiell Hammett’s The Thin Man. The Jane and Rochester has both a massive wooden canopy bed and a “fainting” couch - just the thing that Jane might have encountered in Jane Eyre. My favorite of the rooms, the Westley and Buttercup, (from William Goldman’s The Princess Bride) features a fireplace, a copper tub and an enormous “princess” chair.
Should you find yourself planning a trip to Russia, and you happen to be a fan of Russian literature, you might consider staying at least one night at the Radisson Sonya Hotel. Each of this gorgeous hotel’s 173 rooms features design details inspired by Dostoyevsky’s novel Crime and Punishment. Closer to home, the Sylvia Beach Hotel in Nye Beach, OR, is very much a hotel for readers. Each one of the rooms is named for a famous writer, the dining room is called Table of Content, and there are no TVs, radios, or phones in the rooms. Also, there is no WiFi, but for a serious booklover this looks like a beautiful and elegant place to stay. The hotel is named for Sylvia Beach, the American expatriate and bookseller who owned and operated the famous Shakespeare and Company bookstore in Paris between the World Wars.
Finally, for a truly unique experience (if you happen to be traveling in Romania) check out the House of Dracula hotel. Maybe you can re-read Bram Stoker’s Dracula while you’re there. If you are lucky enough to be heading for New Zealand, you might consider a stay at the adorable Hobbit Motel. The rooms are, of course, inspired by the Shire homes described in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit. The motel is part of Woodlyn Park in Waitomo where you can also sleep in a train, a plane, or a boat.
DCPL has two interesting looking books about hotels/motels in its collection. Home Away From Home: Motels in America by John Margolies is a visual compendium of quirky American roadside culture. The Hotel: A Week in the Life of the Plaza by Sonny Kleinfield is an in-depth study of the workings and character of Manhattan’s famed landmark hotel, and home of Kay Thompson’s Eloise, The Plaza.
While researching this post, I discovered that in 2003, OCLC (owners of the Dewey Decimal Classification system) sued the Library Hotel’s owners. Later, the parties reached an agreement that has enabled the hotel to continue using the system as its theme.
What is your most unusual or memorable hotel or motel experience?