Autumn inspires to more reading, and we have collected ten of our favourite literary hotels.
Many authors lead more eventful lives than the characters in their own books. They are romantics, with seemingly unlimited stories in which to enchant anyone who listens. They also often travel extensively in search of adventures and inspiration, and often they become quite at home in their luxury lodgings across the globe.
From Hemingway to Hardy, Bronte to Browning, many writers have become synonymous with the hotels they stayed and wrote at. Here we take at look at our ten favourite hotel haunts of some of history’s greatest wordsmiths.
Described by Ernest Hemingway as “the best hotel in a city of great hotels”, the historic and timeless Gritty Palace was also a favourite of Orson Welles, Graham Greene and W Somerset Maugham – who, like Hemingway, has a suite named after him. The Gritti’s perfect location on the Grand Canal prompted Maugham to exclaim that “there are few things in life more pleasant than to sit on the terrace of the Gritti when the sun about to set bathes in lovely colour the Salute”.
Venice’s most celebrated hotel underwent a £36.5 million renovation in 2013, with the hotel not losing any of the mystique that has enchanted its guests for generations. It features 61 guest rooms and 21 opulent suites, including the Redentore Terrazza Suite, with a 360-degree rooftop terrace and pool. Beyond its unassuming facade, timeless Venetian elegance makes it one of the finest hotels, not just in Venice, but the world over.
Located in the French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana, the Hotel Monteleone was designated an official literary landmark by the Friends of the Library Association in June 1999. Over the years, the hotel has attracted the likes of Tennessee Williams, Ernest Hemingway and William Faulkner, while the hotel and well known rotating Carousel Piano Bar & Lounge has featured in over 173 stories and novels. Truman Capote even once claimed that he was born in the Hotel Monteleone. He wasn’t, however, although he was born at a nearby hospital as his mother lived at the hotel during her pregnancy. Anne Rice, Stephen Ambrose, and John Grisham have also stayed at the hotel.
The 600-room hotel offers 50 suites, including six signature “Author Suites”, dedicated to the great Southern writers whom both frequented the hotel and wrote about it. Along with the Carousel Piano Bar & Lounge, the hotel boasts two restaurants, a heated rooftop swimming pool, a spa, gym, business centre and 25 meeting and events rooms.
Built in the late 1800s, the Pera Palace is one of Istanbul’s most iconic hotels and has played host to literary heavyweights Ernest Hemingway and Agatha Christie – the latter of which was recently celebrated at the hotel with a week long crime fiction-themed festival called Black Week to mark the author’s 125th birthday.
In fact, Agatha Christie has played a very important role in the rich history of Pera Palace Hotel Jumeirah – she penned ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ in room 411. This room was later re-named after the author, along with the hotel’s Agatha restaurant.
- 4. Ritz Paris
Ernest Hemingway once wrote, “When I dream of afterlife in heaven, the action always takes place in the Paris Ritz.” This most mythical of Paris hotels reopened this summer after an extensive four-year renovation. Included in the refurbishment was Hemingway’s favourite bar – a bar in which he drank so much it was named after him in 1994.
The grand hotel features 142 rooms, including 71 suites, 15 of which are named in honour of famed guests, including Hemingway, Marcel Proust, the Duke of Windsor, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Coco Chanel. In addition to Bar Hemingway, the Ritz Paris has three restaurants and two other bars.
The Plaza has long been considered a literary landmark – Hemingway once suggested to his friend F. Scott Fitzgerald that he leave his liver to Princeton and his heart to The Plaza. The hotel now has a suite named after Fitzgerald which was unveiled to coincide with the latest The Great Gatsby film. Truman Capote also threw a lavish bash here following the publication and subsequent success of ‘In Cold Blood’.
James Bond author Ian Flemming was very fond of the bar at the Dukes Hotel – which was reportedly where he came up with the famous “shaken, not stirred” line. Fittingly, the bar now specialises in martinis, and is even said to serve the best Martinis in the world. The bar also offers a martini masterclass where you can learn to make a cocktail that 007 would approve of.
The prestigious 90-room boutique hotel features a cognac and cigar garden, a Drawing Room where traditional afternoon tea is served, as well as a Champagne Lounge where you can sip on a flute of bubbly amongst classic English luxury.
One of Hemingway’s favourite haunts when he was visiting Madrid (more for the hotel’s bar, unsurprisingly, which appears toward the end of his 1926 novel, ‘The Sun Also Rises’), Palace Hotel is situated just around the corner from the Prado museum, to which ‘Don Ernesto’ was a regular visitor.
The hotel houses 467 spacious rooms and suites, marble bathrooms, a restaurant and the bar. Hotel Westin Palace in Madrid is ideally located for sightseeing with Museo del Prado, Plaza de Cibeles and Puerta del Sol all within walking distance. It is also within walking distance of La Latina and Gran Via.
Built in 1890, Tasburgh House has many literary associations – Dickens, Wells, Austen, Hardy, Shelley, Brontë, and Browning, to name just a few, all stayed here. The boutique hotel’s traditional English country house-styled rooms are named after these famous authors and poets. There is also a yearly Jane Austen festival, held in September.
The hotel is set in 7 acres of beautiful gardens which run down to the Kennet & Avon canal. It features a golf course, meeting rooms, as well as an in-house spa and wellness centre.
With only 20 rooms, L’Hotel Paris is the city’s smallest 5-star hotel. Oscar Wilde lived and died in this quintessential French hotel, nestled in the heart of the Left Bank. The hotel now houses the Oscar Wilde Suite, which features a terrace and writing desk, just in case inspiration strikes.
In 1967, the hotel was remodelled by renowned designer Jacques Garcia and is now home to the acclaimed Michelin starred Le Restaurant and chic Le Bar. L’Hotel also has its own Hamman and pool situated underground in a sort of vault-like setting.
Originally built as a private mansion, Hotel du Cap Eden-Roc opened as a hotel in 1870 and has long been one of the most expensive hotels in the world. Over the years, the hotel has seen a long line of distinguished guests – including royalty, dignitaries and Hollywood stars – stay within its extravagant walls. The hotel was also the inspiration for F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Hotel des Etrangers in his novel, ‘Tender is the Night.’
Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda were some of the hotel’s most frequent guests, along with other notable members of society such as Picasso and the Kennedy family. There is a plaque in the garden quoting French writer Anatole France: ‘What will be, is what was”.
So, there you have it. We hope this list has inspired you to follow in the footsteps of some literary greats by staying at the same luxury hotels that inspired them. If you think we have missed any great literary hotels or you have any tips for us, please comment below, as we are always looking for the finest and most fascinating hotels in the world.