Romance Wanderlust: Literary Hotels

Romance Wanderlust - a yellowed and burnt edge map with a compass in the corner, with Romance Wanderlust written across itBack in November, 2017, I wrote a Romance Wanderlust piece about apartments in the New York City Library branches. The response to that column convinced me that yes, we do love our castles and treehouses and our Regency estates, but what really gets the Bitches excited is being around a lot of books.

In this month’s Romance Wanderlust, we’ll explore two very different bookish hotels. As always, I’m obligated to say that I haven’t been to either hotel (sadly) and therefore this is not a review or endorsement.

The Library Hotel in Manhattan is swanky, and when I say “swanky” I mean “they leave a Belgian chocolate on your pillow every night.” The hotel is organized by the Dewey Decimal System. Starting with the third floor, the categories for the floors are Social Sciences, Language, Math and Science, Technology, The Arts, Literature, History, General Knowledge, Philosophy, and Religion. Each room is a subcategory. For instance, you can stay in Room 1100.006 (Love) or Room 500.005 (Dinosaurs) or 700.005 (Music). If you are feeling amorous, you can stay in Room 800.001 (Erotic Literature).

Needless to say, there are books in every room pertaining to the Dewey Decimal number of the room. However, as far as I could tell by looking at pictures, there aren’t very many books per room. Luckily there are more books in the lobby and in the Reading Room. The Reading Room is open 24 hours a day and always provides snacks, plus a continental breakfast and a nightly wine and cheese reception. There’s a greenhouse on the roof with more books and a bar which the hotel website describes as “trendy.” It’s expensive and has a “business casual” dress code (I’m more of a pajama person, myself), but it also has views of the city and more books. Best of all, the hotel is close to the New York Public Library!

the reading room - chairs, tables, books!

The Library Hotel is all about theme and glamour. In contrast, The Literary Man Hotel, in Óbidos, Portugal, is all about the books. This hotel is located in a former convent. The guest rooms were once the chambers of the nuns. Some of the rooms are decorated in a modern style and others in a more traditional style. According to, there were about 45,000 books at the hotel in 2016, and at that time the owner had a goal of reaching 100,000 books. I haven’t been able to find out how many books the hotel has now, but I’m comfortable with saying “a lot.”

The restaurant - full of books!

The Literary Man has an onsite restaurant and a bar, a very old wine cellar and onsite massage services. It’s hard for me to believe that I would ever leave the building, but it is located in a beautiful coastal medieval town that is home to a 700 year-old castle (soon to have a Romance Wanderlust entry of its very own since it is also home to a hotel). Every July the town hosts a giant medieval market fair reenactment. Some of the hotel’s books can be checked out or purchased, so you can go to the shore or the castle with your new book whenever you want a change of scene.

room with access to garden

Based on online reviews, it looks like the Library Hotel is a nice place to stay whether you like books or not, assuming that you enjoy Big City glamour with your reading. The books add a special element to what is already a glitzy and romantic place. On the other hand, while there are many nice things about The Literary Man Hotel, the real draw is the books. The location is good in terms of walking around town, but there’s no parking. The rooms are small. Some people rave about the food and some don’t. It’s the books that make it so special!

Have you stayed in a literary hotel? If not, which of these would you want to travel to?

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