9 Unique Reading Hotels and Resorts
by Isabel Eva Bohrer | September, 2011
Despite audio books and iPads, there are still plenty of book worms out there. The literature aficionados among you will be glad to know that you can combine travel with reading. And by that, I mean more than just bringing your own book.
Recent trends include the emergence of specific “Literature Hotels,” where the focus is all on reading, books, literature, authors and more. Here are nine unique hotels and resorts where words, sentences and paragraphs become part of the amenities.
#1: Literaturhotel Friedenau (Berlin, Germany)
The Hotel Friedenau is the first literature hotel in Berlin, run by Christa Moog who is an author herself. The website recounts that:
It was in Friedenau that Christoph Meckel wrote one of the most beautiful novels of the last century, Bockshorn (1973), the story of two boys’ search for their guardian angel. A few streets away, Uwe Johnson collected the days and dreams of his heroine, Gesine Cresspahl in his masterpiece, Anniversary (1970…), who remembers New York and the Hudson, Mecklenburg and the Baltic Sea. Meanwhile, his neighbour, Günter Grass, noted in From the Diary of a Snail (1972) that during the election year of 1969, Willy Brandt wore the watch of August Bebel… Rosa Luxemburg, Kurt Tucholsky, Erich Kästner, Max Hermann Neiße, Kurt Hiller, Rainer Maria Rilke, Hans-Magnus Enzensberger, Nicolas Born, Max Frisch … Their apartments and houses are still there.
Through the aid of photos, readings, books and conversations, the hotel seeks to initiate the literary dialogue in Friedenau once more. No two rooms are the same and all are replete with literary décor.
“When do you ever have time to take a novel, a book of poetry or short stories down from the shelf if not when you are travelling?” asks the hotel. Indeed.
#2: Literature and Art Hotel (Shanghai, China)
The Shanghai Literature and Art Hotel (formerly literature and art hall) prides itself as being the ideal location for guests “from all walks of life, especially personalities from literary and art circles.”
A twelve-story building, the hotel has sixty units of standard twin rooms, single rooms and Chinese as well as Foreign styled suites. Updated new flats with study are also available. Here, you can read in peace.
In addition, the hotel boasts a grand hall for multiple purposes, including large meetings, banquets, buffet parties, balls, theatrical activities and films, for example. Several medium and smaller-sized meeting rooms, guest rooms and oval-table rooms are also available if you want to host seminars, discussions, displays and/or exhibitions.
#3: Boutique Hotel Stadthalle (Vienna, Austria)
The Boutique Hotel Stadthalle is part of the Bibliotels initative, which seeks to provide bibliophiles with the optimal reading conditions during their travels. In the selected Bibliotels, you can find the amenities present in regular hotels, along with countless activities for those who love reading.
The Boutique Hotel Stadthalle is particularly special because it combines literature with ecological design. The Hotel is called a “Null-Energie-Hotel” meaning “zero-energy-hotel.” That is, depending on the weather, 160 m² of solar panels heat up enough hot water to supply the entire hotel with renewable energy. In terms of books, this is an ideal location to explore garden and nature-related literature.
#4: Eleonas Agrotouristisches Hotel (Greece)
Another hotel that is part of the Bibliotels initiative. Eleonas, the Greek olive grove, stands on a hill surrounded by trees planted 100 years ago, in the fertile and naturally sheltered river delta. With help from the EU Leader program, Eleonas was built to the highest specifications found in the agrotouristic hotels in Greece, achieving category-A rating.
The hotel has its own restaurant, a children’s activity center in a wooden cabin, a study corner with a small library, even a loom to try your hand at weaving!
All ten rooms have been designed to be relaxed, informal, contemporary and of the highest quality, maximizing the advantages of the beautiful rural setting. Here, you can read among olive trees and breathe in the pure air.
#5: Hotel Hof Weissbad (Switzerland)
At the foot of the Alps, you might have a hard time deciding whether you should go out in nature or conquer Hotel Hof Weissbad‘s fantastic library. Bibliotels suggests that you take a book from the library outdoors and sit and read while admiring the spectacular landscape.
The hotel’s collection specializes in local literature, traditions, history, culture as well as modern art.
#6: Mas La Colline (France)
At France’s Mas La Colline, you will feel as if you are in a French film! In the country house decorated in the typical Provence style, you can travel back to the 17th century, when it was built.
As you go, revel in the stories of francophile authors. Any reader interested in travel, culture, philosophy and history should browse the books in this hotel’s library. At the same time, you enjoy intact nature and a time-old cultural landscape, where you can relax or take part in the ample cultural and athletic program that the hotel offers.
#7: The Algonquin (New York)
Located at 59 West 44th Street, the Algonquin Hotel is an official New York City Historic Landmark. Designed by Goldwin Starrett, an architect who envisioned it as a residential hotel, the Algonquin first opened its doors in 1902.
The first owner-manager, Frank Case, put in place numerous traditions, the most famous of which was bringing together experts of literature and theatre. This tradition became known as the Algonquin Round Table.
At the Algonquin Round Table, journalists, authors, publicists and actors joined forces to interchange their opinions about numerous topics. With their heated discussions, the core members acquired the nickname of the “Vicious Circle.” If you enjoy literature and want to travel back in time to the discussions of Alexander Woollcott, Dorothy Parker and others, stay here at the Algonquin.
#8: Hotel Marini (Italy)
The garden of the Hotel Marini is as if taken from a fairy tale. From here, you can lift your head from your book and look out onto the wine terraces and the town of Meran. Up above are the mountain passes and peaks of South Tyrol.
The highlight of this hotel’s literary collection lies in gardening, fruits and their processing, wine, hiking and the mountains. It’s all about the local and natural surroundings.
#9: Hotel Kafka (Madrid, Spain)
Alright, it’s not officially a place where you can sleep. But since Hotel Kafka carries the name “hotel”, I will include it here.
Hotel Kafka is more of an educational space for creating art, whether that be literature or otherwise. It seeks to provide an open space for interchange between students and teachers, where both can learn in the endeavor of creating. In addition to services such as wi-fi and a very ample calendar of activities, the space has a library for those who love to read and consult.