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This story was published before Summer 2021, when we launched our new digital experience.

Wonderful Hotel Libraries

Books have long been essential travelingcompanions—perfect for pulling out on airplanes, perusing during solo meals orsparking conversations (remember how Jesse met Céline in Before Sunrise?).Libraries, too, have traditionally been welcome retreats for those abroad;travelers can learn about a new culture through its literature, or find comfortin the familiar pages of a favorite novel.

These days, as travelers turnincreasingly to e-readers and tablets, the allure of libraries might seem to befading—but luckily, some hoteliers are preserving, and even revitalizing, thetradition of linking travelers with books. And they’re doing so right in theirown hotels.

For these hoteliers, a carefullycurated in-house library speaks volumes (no pun intended) about theirproperty’s character. Some, like the Taj Falaknuma Palace, in Hyderabad, India,embody the timeless bibliophile’s fantasy of ceiling-high shelves,leather-bound tomes and cozy armchairs. Other properties put a distinctlymodern spin on the library experience: for example, The Library resort in KohSamui, Thailand, where the slick, white-on-white reading room evokes a poolsidegallery space. And some hotels have been teaming up with art-book publishers tooffer brand-specific reading material—like the Trump Soho in New York City,where the library is stocked exclusively with Taschen monographs and artanthologies.

Some hoteliers need guidance inselecting what should go on their library shelves—which is where companies likethe Oxford-based Ultimate Library come in. By helping to create bespoke librarycollections especially for hotels and resorts, says Ultimate Library’s chairman, Philip Blackwell, his company “enhances the guest experience withbooks to educate, inspire and entertain.

“Someone once said that ‘a hotelshould be a home from home but better,’”Blackwell continues. “Books are a vital component in creating this homeyness.Carefully chosen, they create a sense of place.”

Ready to bookmark—and to spin theglobe? The following are ten truly outstanding hotel libraries around theworld.

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