Wonderful Hotel Libraries

Courtesy Gladstone's Library

E-readers and tablets can’t compete with these
beautiful book collections.

Books have long been essential traveling
companions—perfect for pulling out on airplanes, perusing during solo meals or
sparking 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 comfort
in the familiar pages of a favorite novel.

These days, as travelers turn
increasingly to e-readers and tablets, the allure of libraries might seem to be
fading—but luckily, some hoteliers are preserving, and even revitalizing, the
tradition of linking travelers with books. And they’re doing so right in their
own hotels.

For these hoteliers, a carefully
curated in-house library speaks volumes (no pun intended) about their
property’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 distinctly
modern spin on the library experience: for example, The Library resort in Koh
Samui, Thailand, where the slick, white-on-white reading room evokes a poolside
gallery space. And some hotels have been teaming up with art-book publishers to
offer brand-specific reading material—like the Trump Soho in New York City,
where the library is stocked exclusively with Taschen monographs and art
anthologies.

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

“Someone once said that ‘a hotel
should 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 the
globe? The following are ten truly outstanding hotel libraries around the
world.