Booked Up: Irish and International Hotels With Lovely Libraries - The Gloss Magazine

Booked Up: Irish and International Hotels With Lovely Libraries

Hotels that provide an escape with luxurious rooms and well-stocked libraries are on our radar

Sheen Falls Lodge, Co Kerry

The library at Sheen Falls Lodge is far from a collection of old books left behind by other guests. It has a cigar room ambience, a quiet space tucked away, walls lined with great dark wood bookcases filled with books – erudite, rare, witty, visual, historical, patriotic, foreign language, novels – and an antique table with the latest magazines from Private Eye to World of Interiors. There’s a pretty view, deep armchairs and a vintage digestif served discreetly should you want it. As with everything at this hotel, someone has thought things through. The library adds to the overall experience, the sense of comfort, service and welcome. The book collection was curated by Julia Holland and Noel Fursman, who moved to Kenmare from the UK to open a bookshop. They began curating the library at Sheen Falls Lodge over 20 years ago and are also responsible for the excellent selection of book in its sister property Trinity Townhouse, Dublin. Having sold their bookshop, they now write full time, their most recent publication was Rosie’s War. Rates at Sheen Falls Lodge start from €510 for bed and breakfast for two people;

University Arms, Cambridge

At the University Arms, Cambridge, highbrow and humorous touches abound: all rooms are stocked with a copy of Hilaire Belloc’s Cautionary Tales, a Tom Sharpe novel and The Wind in the Willows. Guests can choose to stay in suites named after literary legends including William Wordsworth, John Milton, Alfred Tennyson, AA Milne and Lord Byron. Each suite’s library contains a selection of books by the namesake author or by those that would have inspired them.  For example, Isaac Newton’s suite contains a book on apple orchards. Literature reaches every corner of the hotel, from the gorgeous library curated by posh booksellers Heywood Hill to the quirky public bathrooms which feature a recording of Alan Bennett reading Wind in the Willows;

Ham Yard, London

The hand-picked library at London’s buzzy Ham Yard hotel is inspiring for lovers of design and literature. Created by interior designer Kit Kemp, walls are adorned with her Christopher Farr Ozone fabric with sumptuous Suzani curtains from her Chelsea Textiles collection. As for the books, they’re eclectic and categories span travel, history and world affairs, along with a section dedicated to London – its literature, arts and politics;

The Dylan, Dublin

There’s much to like at Dylan Hotel – from its intimate cocktail bar – the setting for its current Tipsy Afternoon tea – to the stylish Eddison Restaurant, which has just launched its new summer menu, including a special Ars Italica caviar menu for connoisseurs. Afterwards, slip into the library to admire the impressive collection of beautifully bound first editions and scene-stealing artwork by Gerard Byrne. The library was designed by Gráinne Weber of Gráinne Weber Architects and is characterised by its abundance of natural light and comfort. It can be hired for private events for up to 35 people;

Il Salviatino, Florence

In Florence, Il Salviatino, is a 15th-century villa where Salvador Dalí once lived. In the 1970s the villa was Stanford University’s Italian headquarters. With so much history, it’s no surprise that the hotel’s library, with plush leather couches, is unparalleled. It includes every stylish coffee table tome from Italian Florentine art books to style bibles on Coco Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent;

Ett Hem, Stockholm

Everywhere you look in Ett Hem, Stockholm, there are books or magazines to flick through and read – part of the masterplan of owner Jeannette Mix and interior designer Ilse Crawford. They have transformed this former Arts and Crafts residence into a repository of modern design staples and vintage finds, creating a cosy country house vibe. The library, curated and updated by staff, serves as a backdrop to the dining room and bar, while the conservatory is a great place to read. To celebrate its tenth anniversary, the hotel has just unveiled its second house next door, and is also creating three residences for longer stays and fully equipped gym for guests, due to open this autumn;

Castle Leslie, Co Monaghan

Enjoy an overnight stay at Castle Leslie Estate, Co Monaghan, with a two-course evening meal in Conor’s Lounge from €300. The bonus? A night cap in the library;  

Brach Hotel, Paris

When reimagining a former 1970s postal sorting office, Philippe Starck made French novels and art books a prominent feature of his whimsical yet luxurious design at Brach Hotel in the 16th arrondissement. It’s also an example of how to curate a “cabinet of curiosities”;

The Library Hotel, New York

At The Library Hotel, in Manhattan New York over 6,000 books are housed on ten floors. Organised by the Dewey Decimal Classification, each floor is home to a different books category, from languages to philosophy, history and the arts and guests can choose accommodation based on their reading interests. There’s also a dedicated Reading Room, Writer’s Den and Poetry Garden;

The Bushmills Inn, Co Antrim

Who doesn’t want to stumble across a secret library? There’s something mysterious about hidden libraries and the one at The Bushmills Inn, Co Antrim is no exception. Browse its collection of books and read your favourite in front of the log fire with a glass of whiskey. An overnight stay is from £225 per night and includes some treats to help with reading – prosecco and chocolate; 

Ballyfin, Co Laois

Keep an eye out for the false bookcase, a secret door through which you’ll find the conservatory at Ballyfin. Its collection of art, books and magazines is peerless, while its 80ft library with Edwardian-style sofas, also includes a 16th-century New Testament, €1,030 for an overnight stay for two; 

The Bloomsbury, London

Authors Virginia Woolf, EM Forster and Vanessa Bell were some of the members of the Bloomsbury group or set who were united in their belief in the importance of the arts. They influenced not only literature, aesthetics and economics but also modern attitudes towards feminism and sexuality. They lived in the leafy area surrounding The Bloomsbury hotel, which references the group in numerous artworks and portraits as well as in its interior design which is strong on graphics, warmth and texture. The Bloomsbury group loved colour and their homes were a riot of dusky blues, burnt orange and aubergines. The hotel channels this exuberance from the flamboyant Dalloway Terrace to The Coral Room bar, where the quote “Mrs Dalloway is always giving parties to cover the silence is at the entrance” adorns the entrance. The hotel feels like a modern literary salon, further reinforced by the impressive wood-panelled Seamus Heaney Library on the first floor, filled with the first editions and vintage reads some still bearing the stamp of the YWCA Central Club Library which once stood on the site. Cerebral, central and comfortable, an overnight stay starts from £306;

The Harrison Chambers of Distinction, Belfast

OK, the hotel doesn’t have a library per se, but each of the 16 rooms at The Harrison Chambers of Distinction, Belfast, has their own story and reading material inspired by the name of the suite. Bronte biographies, Seamus Heaney anthologies and Yeats memorabilia will all delight, while this offline location is an ideal place to put pen to paper. From €176;

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