Curlin' Up With Cocoa: Cozy Hotel Libraries That'll Warm You Up This Winter
It's chilly out there, and sometimes there's nothing better than curling up with a cup of hot cocoa and a book -- or even just the cocoa. But when you're staying in a hotel, it can be tricky to find the perfect corner for dozing off reading. That's where we come in -- Oyster.com investigators have stayed at hundreds of hotels with libraries that run the gamut: everything from one-book "lending libraries" to luxurious library-themed bars to entire hotels devoted to the Dewey Decimal System. So pick a book (or turn on your Kindle) and check out our favorite hotel libraries below!
For the dignified historian: The Jefferson, Washington DC
After a massive renovation in 2009, this boutique hotel reopened, and regained its place among DC's elite hotels. The staff went to great lengths to incorporate aspects of Thomas Jefferson's life that are less known than his accomplishments as a statesman and an author. Jefferson the architect? The custom-made toile draperies in the rooms depict scenes from Monticello and other buildings he designed. Jefferson the book lover? Enter the lovely library, and peruse its impressive collection of vintage hardcovers (Writings of Thomas Paine, The Age of Voltaire, Encyclopaedia Americana). With the blazing fire, the velvet chairs, and the resulting romantic ambiance, any historian would feel right at home in this intimate, luxurious space.
For the skier reader: The Sebastian - Vail
This luxury boutique resort opened in Vail in 2010, and prices are often more than fair for what you get: Two great restaurants, including the farm-to-table Block 16, plus a chic lounge; an outdoor pool; four Jacuzzis; an upscale spa; and beautiful, high-end decor in the airy lobby and cozy (yet spacious) library -- no cabin kitsch here. The lobby has light stone walls, a barrel ceiling with wood beams, stylish furniture, and a sleek black fireplace with a surround of perpendicular stacked wood slats. The intimate library, by contrast, is a cozier area with comfy leather seating, dim lighting, and an extensive collection of books within its towering black bookshelves. Guests can also find free newspapers in the library every morning.
For the true librarian: Library Hotel
This homey, literary-themed boutique, located down the block from New York's famous Public Library, features 60 rooms organized in the Dewey Decimal System. The 2nd-floor reading room is lined with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves (Nixon, Neruda, or Tom Wolfe, anyone?), and fresh orchids sit on each of the tables. Guests can come at any hour to pore over the paper (New York Times or USA Today, TimeOut New York or City) with pastry and a cup of coffee or an espresso from their La Cimbali machine.
For the design diva: Viceroy Santa Monica
Best known for its sexy bar and pool scenes, the Viceroy Santa Monica is one of the few beach-focused hotels in Santa Monica with a library -- and a super stylish one at that. The Kelly Wearstler-designed hotel features some of her favorite motifs, such as animals and pops of color. In the library, however, she went for a 60s homey vibe with lemon-yellow furniture and a shag carpet, but she still kept it fashion-forward with funky bookshelves (reflected in the mirrored coffee table) and a modern chandelier.
For the literary partier: Hudson Hotel
Okay, so the Library Bar at the Hudson Hotel may not be an actual library, but it's certainly cozy enough to be one. The hotel features four popular bars -- and though celeb sightings were more frequent back when the hotel first opened in 2000, the Library Bar still draws in an attractive, fun crowd. But the scene is calmer now, so you probably could curl up with a book and some spiked cocoa if you wanted to.
For the vintage lover: The Iroquois
Five minutes from Grand Central and 10 minutes from bustling Times Square, the Iroquois is an uncommonly quiet, 114-room hotel with an ideal Midtown West location. The hotel's biggest asset, however, is its library. Right by the entrance, it has huge, blown-glass windows looking out onto 44th Street and a collection of vintage books. There's also a complimentary computer and printer if the free Wi-Fi (available throughout the hotel) doesn't cut it. Besides books, the hotel also offers complimentary DVD rentals (which you can watch from your in-room DVD player).
Other libraries we'd love to curl up in:
Draycott Hotel in London
Trump SoHo New York in New York City
The Grand Del Mar in San Diego
Rosewood Sand Hill in Silicon Valley
Rusty Parrot Lodge and Spa in Jackson Hole
The Westin Portland in Portland