Insights • Inspirations • Destinations • Design

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Cocktails and Chanel

It's ironic, really. In an age when books are being bypassed by iPads, Kindles, iPhones and other electronic reading devices, libraries are becoming more and more coveted. It's almost as if book lovers have realised that books might become obsolete in a decade or so and have started stockpiling titles – and creating library spaces in their houses to showcase them in. Not only that, hoteliers are now creating library retreats in their boutique hotels and hideaways so that guests may be able to withdraw to their rooms for the night with a good book or three under their arms.

Ian Schrager is one such visionary. The celebrity hotelier recently opened a new hotel in Chicago called PUBLIC, which features a sexy reading room-bar called The Library. By day, it's a French patisserie-style cafe offering coffee and home-made gourmet treats, but by night it turns into a dramatic, dignified, book-lined retreat with an enormous, custom limestone fireplace that usually contains a roaring fire. (It is Chicago, after all). Guests are invited to relax, order a drink and browse through piles of specially curated coffee-table books, newspapers and magazines. Just the thing after a hard day of airports, appointments and time-zone adjustments

The Trump SoHo has also decided to appeal to book-minded travellers, reasoning that these guests would be the kind of people it would like to attract to its sophisticated suites. The hotel outfitted its library with mint-condition Taschen books (okay, so they're more glamour reads than high-brow titles), and immediately saw its media mentions rise on the strength of the Taschen brand alone.

And lastly, London's Halkin hotel has decided to go into partnership with French publishers Assouline publishers, stocking its lobby bar (pictured above and below) with Assouline's supremely stylish fashion, art, and design titles. The space has now been transformed into an elegant reading retreat featuring Assouline's iconic books, such as those on Chanel, and Dior. So now guests can pour over gorgeous fashion titles while the bartender is pouring their Bloody Mary. Author talks are also scheduled for later this year. (Images via the Halkin hotel and

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