Best Hotels for Bookworms
Sure, you can bring your Kindle with you on vacation, but nothing beats the experience of unwinding in a new-to-you locale with a good, old-fashioned book in your hands. Though many hotels claim to have lending libraries, they often consist of little more than a shelf in the lobby with a few dog-eared copies of mass-market novels. Of course, dig deep and you'll uncover properties that put a lot of time and love into their libraries and book collections. We've sussed out our favorites from around the globe.
Il Salviatino - Florence, Italy
If you can, try to tear your eyes away from Il Salviatino's sweeping panoramic views of the Tuscan countryside and Florence's famous Duomo. If you do, you'll discover a hidden wood-paneled library tucked inside this 15th-century restored villa. The library is lit with a warm glow from silver candelabras, and guests can sink into soft leather couches, curl up with a glass of wine, and relax with a book from the library's collection of antique, leather-bound volumes. You'll find a perfect evening or afternoon respite that feels a world away from the hectic pace of Florence's streets.
The NoMad Hotel - New York City
Inside Manhattan's uber-chic NoMad Hotel is a fully curated, 2-story library connected by a spiral staircase imported from the South of France. Guests are free to unwind on custom-made furnishings and enjoy snacks as well as coffee, tea, wine and cocktails. Curated by so-called "library artist" Thatcher Wine of Juniper Books, the NoMad's eclectic literary collection features extensive volumes on wide-ranging topics such as the history of New York, music, and cocktails and spirits.
Le Méridien Chambers - Minneapolis, MN
We know of speakeasy bars, but a hidden library...in a secret hotel bar...takes things to a whole other level of awesome. In the thick of Minneapolis's iconic theater district, you'll find Le Méridien Chambers hotel, a glam throwback to the roaring 1920s. Visitors can escape the bustle of the city in MARIN Restaurant & Bar, where a hidden staircase leads them into an underground bar known as The Library. This edgy enclave is decorated with dark mahogany, oversized leather armchairs, and large oak wine barrels. Book lovers can pore over walls stocked with classic titles written by Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, Hemingway and other literary masters.
The Study at Yale, New Haven, Connecticut
Located on Yale University’s campus, The Study at Yale is a 124-room boutique hotel designed with themes of literature, art, music and design at its core. The Living Room, the hotel’s iconic library, features floor-to-ceiling bookcases with abundant reading materials. Originally curated and assembled by the famed Strand Book Store in New York City, the collection includes both rare vintage and new books, with genres ranging from art and literature to history, science and biographies. Over the years, the collection has transformed as guests, including many notable authors and visitors to Yale, have added books of their own to the shelves. Visiting authors have left signed copies to add to the eclectic collection, and readings and book signings at The Study enable guests to engage with famous writers.
The Jefferson - Washington DC
The Jefferson is one of Washington, DC’s finest historic hotels. The library at The Jefferson, or the Book Room, is a welcoming retreat with a cozy fireplace and features a collection of volumes of Jefferson-era interest, documents signed by Thomas Jefferson, historic vintage books, and a special bookshelf reserved for signed copies of books by authors who have been guests of the hotel. The library was inspired by Thomas Jefferson's love of literature and guests are surrounded by leather-bound books on Jeffersonian subjects -- ones that the hotel believes he would have had a keen interest in reading.
JW Marriott El Convento - Cusco, Peru
Intrepid travelers who make their way into the heart of the ancient Inca Empire, will find the JW Marriott El Convento, one of Cusco's newest 5-star hotels. Inside the property guests discover pre-Inca walls, archeological ruins, and artifacts from the structure's past, when it served as a Colonial monastery. The hotel library lies in a small nook, where readers will find literature classics like "Don Quixote" and "Uncle Tom’s Cabin." Take a moment to notice the room's floors, which date back to the pre-Inca Killke period, as well as its plush furniture made from native, hand-woven textiles from the Andean region.
The Heathman Hotel - Portland, Oregon
The Heathman offers its guests access to one of the largest autographed libraries in the world. The hotel's collection includes 2,700 signed editions from Nobel Prize and Pulitzer Prize winners, U.S. poet laureates, a former United States president and represents 30 years of authors who have stayed here and signed their books to contribute to their wonderful collection. The Mezzanine Library is open all hours for guests, but many guests opt to pop into the evening social Monday through Thursday from 5-6 p.m. when the hotel opens the bookshelves and offers free wine to enjoy while perusing the contents of its collection.
Casa Palopo - Lake Atitlan, Guatemala
Guatemala's rich Mayan heritage is front and center at this 9-bedroom boutique hotel perched along the shores of Lake Atitlan. Brightly colored stucco walls and original Latin American artwork and artifacts highlight the property's history. After spending the day exploring the scenic lake or 3 majestic volcanoes across the shore, travelers might need to unwind. In the Lending Library, guests can seek solace amid hundreds of pieces of literature, including classic novels to current magazines.
W Austin - Austin, Texas
Home to the famous SxSW music, film, and interactive festivals, Austin also prides itself on being the "Live Music Capital of the World." With that in mind the W Austin has created a truly unique library of … music. The hotel’s popular Living Room Bar is comprised of four rooms, including the Records Room. The cozy, den-like retreat features a large fireplace and more than 8,000 vinyl records lining the room’s walls. And for those looking to do more than peruse the collection, the records can be played on the vintage McIntosh stereo that’s set up in the adjacent Secret Bar.