There’s an old saying that states all fiction can be reduced to two basic plots: a stranger comes to town, or a man or woman goes on a journey. Both suggest travel and literature go hand in hand, right? Here are some of the coolest book-themed hotels around the world – including New York City, London and Tokyo – bookable on Culture Trip.
The name of this conceptually flexible space in Tokyo is in no way misleading; curtained-off gaps in the bookshelves house bunk capsules equipped with sockets and, of course, individual reading lights. Couples or solo travellers wanting more privacy can opt for a superior double – in which floor-to-ceiling windows provide double-aspect views of downtown Tokyo. The book cafe offers titles in Japanese and English across a wide range of genres, as well as coffees, teas, juices and sweet and savoury snacks.
Live like Bilbo Baggins in these Hobbit-style cave units on New Zealand’s North Island. Built into a hillside in Woodlyn Park – 2km (1mi) from the Waitomo Glowworm Caves – both studios feature kitchenettes, ensuite bathrooms, a generously proportioned living-dining area and circular windows looking out over the countryside. Accommodation is also available in a disused train carriage, freight plane and World War II boat. The bars and restaurants of Waitomo village are a 20-minute walk or two-minute drive away.
The layout of the most bookish hotel on Madison Avenue is inspired by the Dewey Decimal Classification, with each of the 10 floors themed after one of its categories. The six rooms on every level are dedicated to a subsection of the main category and have a collection of books on the subject. Reserve the Love Room for a private terrace overlooking the New York Public Library and a stash of titles specially chosen by Dr Ruth Westheimer. The rooftop bar offers skyline views and literary-themed cocktails to soak up the atmosphere.
Rather than taking its theme from literature, the historic Fife Arms in the Highlands has inspired a book itself – a coffee-table volume by Dominic Bradbury that looks at the restored interiors of this Braemar landmark and the eclectic art collection they contain. Literary-themed accommodation inside the 19th-century behemoth includes the Nature and Poetry Rooms, featuring furniture and decorative items made out of horn, heather and tweed and wooden headboards inscribed with verses by Scottish poet Alec Finlay. Bertie’s Bar is a low-lit whisky library offering more than 365 varieties.
Each of the 26 alphabetically ordered rooms at this Paris boutique hotel is dedicated to a European writer – “F” for Flaubert, “S” for Shakespeare, etc – whose words are stencilled onto the wall behind the headboard. Book a junior suite for a balcony with views over the 8th arrondissement or the Eiffel Tower. The Salon has a mini-library, an honesty bar and an electric open fire, and the hotel hosts several exhibitions throughout the year. Free bikes are rentable from reception to help you explore.
Named after its founder Peter Pulitzer, the grandson of the creator of the greatest prize in journalism, this five-star Amsterdam hotel occupies 25 restored canalside houses dating from the 17th and 18th centuries. For an extra-bookish stay, reserve the Book Collector’s Suite – in which you’ll find a library with titles by Pulitzer Prize winners, an antique writing desk, canal views and an archway formed by glued-together volumes. The leafy, secluded Pulitzer Garden offers breakfast, drinks, dinners and lunches.
The University Arms Hotel in Cambridge offers refined, Edwardian-style rooms with books and artwork focussing on the town and its ancient university. Art also adorns the wood-panelled walls of the 19th-century former coaching inn Parker’s Tavern – in which chef Tristan Welch cooks a mean spaghetti bolognese with two cuts of beef, smoked bacon and home-made pasta. Welch also offers a literary afternoon tea and a breakfast showcasing locally sourced eggs, bacon and pastries, all of which you can enjoy in the Library.
The only residential library in the UK was founded in 1894 by the four-time Victorian prime minister, William Gladstone. As well as 26 desks on which to write, study or read, the reading rooms feature wood-carved shelves that hold more than 150,000 titles. Attached to these scholarly spaces are 26 single, double and twin rooms and a suite; all feature bookshelf wallpaper, vintage radios on the bedside tables and lead framed windows. Don’t miss Sunday lunch at the on-site Food for Thought bistro, starring premium Welsh beef.