Famous 'writer hotels' give you a change of scenery--and inspiration
Published: May 1, 2009
|In the June 2009 issue of The Writer, Lauren Carter described six landmark lodgings where readers were apt to feel inspiration—and "famous footsteps." Following are some suggestions from her about additional "writer hotels." |
• Saratoga Springs, N.Y.: If the famous writers colony of Yaddo turns you down, check into this nearby mansion originally titled the Kaser-el-Nouzha, an Arabic expression meaning "palace of pleasure." Built in 1873, the unique building is crowned with a mansard roof and the suggestion of a minaret on the tallest tower. Now called the Batcheller Mansion Inn, the elaborate inn's nine guestrooms evoke exotic glamour. Stay in the deluxe Katrina Trask room, named after the co-founder of Yaddo, and venture out on the stroll—"a walk for people who like to walk," says innkeeper Daniel DelGaudio—to Yaddo's gardens. Available for public viewing until dusk, the rose beds, water lilies and 100-year-old pines have no doubt inspired Yaddo's retreating writers, from Sylvia Plath to James Baldwin. Rates start at $160, including breakfast. www.batchellermansioninn.com
• Phoenix: Dazzling with its historic Art Deco design and the world's second largest gold-leaf ceiling, the Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired Arizona Biltmore opened in 1929 as the desert city's first resort. Ten years later, according to the resort, songwriter Irving Berlin composed his famous tune White Christmas while staying at the 39-acre property, explaining to the local paper that the sunshine was important for his process. If you feel the same way, pull up a deck chair and sketch some scenes beside one of eight pools. A moody Arthur Miller likely penned a few impressions of his own beside the Catalina, Marilyn Monroe's favorite swimming spot. Host to big wigs from Fred Astaire to Barbara Walters, this alluring resort is a story unto itself. Rates from $279. www.arizonabiltmore.com
• Toronto: At this city's oldest continuously operating hotel, the Gladstone, ride the manually operated cage elevator up to a room designed by a local artist. "Some rooms speak to the heyday of Victorian train travel and the history of the hotel," publicist Chris Mitchell says. "Others are just whimsical." A collage of celebrity shots reminiscent of Tiger Beat magazine hangs in the Teen Queen room while the grand Billio Room boasts richly colored fabrics, antique furnishings and an original hotel blueprint. Situated in the heart of the city's art and design district, the Gladstone Hotel also hosts art exhibits, music events, book launches and a regular reading series organized with an independent bookstore. In the café, congregate with local writers using the Wi-Fi or put pen to page in a more old-fashioned way. Rates start at $125 CAN. www.gladstonehotel.com
• Los Cabos, Mexico: Well-heeled writers looking for plenty of pampering while penning their masterpiece should check into Las Ventanas al Paraiso, a five-diamond, all-suite resort at the tip of the Baja Peninsula. Untangle plot knots while wandering desert gardens, staring out at the Sea of Cortez, or swimming up to the bar. When the task proves difficult, explore another galaxy through available telescopes or ask a visiting writer for advice. In 2008, Salman Rushdie spent several days at the resort, dining with guests and discussing his latest book through a program called Hot Type. This unique program also offers a sneak peek at anticipated novels, some as much as six months away from hitting store shelves. Rates start at $595.
--Posted May 1, 2009