Last weekend I had the pleasure of staying at the Sylvia Beach Hotel, an author-themed Bed and Breakfast complete with library! Each room is themed for a different author, some of which include Agatha Christie, Mark Twain, Tolkien, Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Amy Tan, and JK Rowling. Being obsessed with Harry Potter, I had to stay in the JK Rowling room of course.
There is definitely one thing very clear about the people that run this place: they LOVE books. The whole idea behind the hotel is pure genius. They have no TVs, no Wi-Fi, no radios, no telephones. It’s designed for complete relaxation, and I imagine staying a full weekend instead of just one night would succeed in its goal magnificently.
There were a couple things that I noted that could have been improved, the first being that it’s not handicapped friendly from what I could tell. The building has three floors of rooms and a fourth floor loft that contains the library, but has no elevators. This is really the only thing truly wrong about the hotel. Other than that, I noticed that the shower curtain rod was rusted and could easily have been replaced with a newer one that would make it look all the nicer.
The amazing things far outweighed the bad, though. The JK Rowling room exceeded my fangirl expectations. It had everything I could have dreamed of – “stone” walls, the four-poster bed with curtains, a cage with Hedwig the owl in it, Quidditch gear suspended from the ceiling, a writing desk complete with quills and potions, Fluffy the three-headed dog, the Monster Book of Monsters, all of the Harry Potter books displayed and accessible for reading, a Gryffindor scarf. Every little detail was seen to, from a Harry Potter themed room service and do-not-disturb sign for the door to Moaning Myrtle in the bathroom. And on either side of the bed were pictures on the nightstands, one of JK Rowling herself and the other of James and Lily Potter. It was truly an amazing experience, and that was just of the room itself.
The library was full of books to browse through and then you can just plop yourself on a chair or couch that overlooks the beach and read as long as you want. There is a cozy little fireplace to read by that runs through the winter, and there are several board games available to play as well. But one of my favorite selling points: hot spiced wine served at night! Then, of course, the breakfast in the morning. They had a nice little buffet of cold foods (cereals, fruit bars, muffins, boiled eggs, etc.) and then they also came out and offered the hot meal for the morning. The hotel staff were all very helpful and kind and I could tell that they loved their jobs.
Overall, I feel the hotel deserves a five out of five. The atmosphere was creative, comfortable, and welcoming, the room was clean and I could tell a lot of thought was put into its design, and the food was wonderful. And let’s face it, what avid reader could do anything but rejoice in a hotel that was specifically tailored to their greatest passion? Be sure to check out some of my pictures below and follow the hyperlink in the first paragraph to check out their website.