The "slow travel" movement has definitely made space for itself in 2019. This trend encourages travelers to take their time in locations, keeping a spirit of appreciation for the place and maintaining quality over quantity in terms of experience. Luxury hotels and restaurants are catching on to the trend and creating spaces for guests to unwind while remaining connected to the local culture and people.
Literature has always been one of the best ways to get to know the stories behind destinations, and while preparing for a trip with a good read about where we're headed behooves all of us, curling up with a book while we're in the thick of it is an experience all in itself. Imagine yourself in a book club on the coast of Colombia––in between surf lessons you're catching up with other intrepid travelers about local history. Or in the United States' intellectual capital city, sipping literary-themed cocktails.
Reading is also an effective way to relax and take a step back from the chaos and activity that often comes with even the most intentionally relaxing vacations. We've brought to you a few hotels around the world with carefully curated onsite libraries and inspired literary programs that allow an escape into the pace of another culture.
La Réserve, Paris
Steps from the Champs-Élysées lies the epitome of luxury Parisian hotels. Not only does La Réserve have a wine cellar, a manicured courtyard, and a swanky smoking lounge, but its Duc de Morny Library, cloaked in Parisian chic with damask wallpaper and cherry wood fixtures, is a sophisticate's fever dream. Teeming with first editions of works from Voltaire, Honoré de Balzac, and Victor Hugo, this seductive space offers hours of unparalleled literary exploration.
Conrad Cartagena, Colombia
At this hotel on the Caribbean coast of Colombia, there is a restaurant, Biblioteka, that boasts a library-inspired design that transports guests’ taste buds to new worlds through international cuisine. In an effort to make enjoyable education about the region a part of this luxurious experience, the restaurant just launched a series of new literary programs to teach guests about the city’s vibrant history. At Colombian Corner, guests can immerse themselves in local literature while enjoying complimentary Colombian coffee. At the Fireside Poetry Readings, guests are able to read selections of poems from the library or perform their own new work by the expansive firepit. In addition to the weekly book club, Libros y Licor, there is a literary immersion tour where guests can explore the house and route of legendary Colombian novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
The St. Regis, New York City
This Midtown hotel is a New York City legend. Yes, the hotel's King Cole Bar invented the modern Bloody Mary, embodying the halcyon days of Manhattan sophistication. The property’s second-floor Astor Library originally served as Astor’s personal apartment; today, the space houses his collection of more than 3,000 titles, which he personally commissioned from Schribner & Sons. Among the highlights are one-of-a-kind prints of works by Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Rudyard Kipling, Mark Twain, and Edgar Allen Poe.
Segera Retreat, Kenya
For those with no qualms about traveling far and wide for a peek at the unpublished letters and manuscripts by greats like Ernest Hemingway, consider Segera Retreat your next destination. This collection of stand-alone villas spread across the savannah will take you back in time as you explore the resort's Explorer Lounge library's assemblage of fantastic, rarely seen literature. If a safari is on your bucket list (or maybe just next moth's getaway), stop by this hotel's library for some R&R.
The Jefferson, Washington DC
This luxury DC hotel pays homage to Thomas Jefferson's love of literature with their First Library program: for every room a guest reserves, the hotel donates one book to a child. For foodies, bookworms, and solo travelers, the hotel's popular lounge Quill