Got wanderlust? These days we may be doing less physical moving around, but at least we are free to wander in our imaginations! Reading has a special way of taking us anywhere, transporting us to special and magical places without ever having to leave the house.
Locations around the world know that we’re just on pause — everyone is just awaiting their next big adventure — and until we are traveling again, we are turning pages. These 20 hotels share unique book recommendations to help us find inspiration:
The Water is Wide (1972) — Situated in the heart of South Carolina Lowcountry, this 1972 memoir by highly-acclaimed author Pat Conroy recounts the true story of Conroy’s work as a teacher to the Gullah people on Daufuskie Island, South Carolina. The island, called Yamacraw Island in the book, takes readers to a magical place comprised of sandy roads shaded by great oak trees dripping with spanish moss. Located across the waters from Montage Palmetto Bluff, this inspiring, uplifting story celebrates a destination where history, heritage and culture are as sacred as the land and sea of its people.
The Great Gatsby (1925) — While The Great Gatsby is set in New York, travelers can actually see the home that inspired the plot of the American classic in Lake Forest, IL (one of the wealthiest suburbs in the US). For a truly transportive experience, book a stay at the nearby Deer Path Inn, where guests can enjoy a spot of Afternoon Tea in The Garden Room, sip on Fitzgerald’s favorite cocktail – the gin and tonic – at The Bar, or curl up with one of Fitzgerald’s classics by the fireplace in the Hearth Room.
Casino Royale (1952) — From the 15 acre oasis where the series was written to the adventures taken by 007 himself, James Bond and his creator, Ian Flemming, have been intertwined with the island of Jamaica for over 60 years. In Ian’s first super-spy novel, Casino Royale, Bond’s cover as a rich Jamaican playboy introduced readers to his lavish lifestyle maintained throughout the series. Today, the luxury all-inclusive Royalton Negril Resort and Spa offers guests the same indulgences Bond was accustomed to from high-class suites and on-call butlers to gourmet meals and endless “shaken not stirred” martinis.
Meet Me in Monaco (2019) — Set in the 1950s against the backdrop of Grace Kelly’s unforgettable wedding to Prince Rainier of Monaco, travelers can immerse themselves in Princess Grace’s life at Hotel Metropole Monte-Carlo. The Hotel Metropole Monte-Carlo offers an exclusive Walking in Grace Kelly’s Footsteps experience, which includes a private guided tour of iconic locations marked by the Princess’ presence, including la Roseraie, the Monaco Cathedral, the Princess Grace Foundation and the famous Irish Library.
A Land Remembered (1984) — Each room at Florida’s Streamsong Resort presents a copy of Patrick Smith’s historical novel, intentionally selected by architect Alfonso Alberto to encourage guests to get lost in Florida’s rich, rugged history. The classic follows three generations of the MacIvey family through hardships and success, until they ultimately realize the land has been exploited far beyond human need. Today, the luxury golf resort – built as a reclamation project – tells a similar story of land preservation, nestled atop the remnants of a region of former mining land known as “Bone Valley.”
A Walk to Remember (1999) and The Choice (2007) — Setting the stage for an amorous getaway, where wild horses roam freely and southern charm meets rich maritime history, Beaufort is nestled along North Carolina’s Southern Outer Banks. Here, “Sparks” truly do fly — romantic couples love stepping onto the oak-lined streets of historic Beaufort and it is not uncommon while dining at a waterfront cafe to see wild horses roaming freely on Carrot Island, just across the glassy waters of Taylor’s Creek. Historic walking and culinary bicycle tours inspired by Nicholas Sparks’ Beaufort-set romance novels, A Walk to Remember and The Choice are popular with active couples. Intimate bed and breakfasts with elegant Victorian suites and charming gardens, like the Pecan Tree Inn, boast decadent home-cooked meals in close proximity to quaint shops, a waterfront boardwalk and divine fresh-from-the-docks restaurants.
Christy (2006) — Follow 19-year-old Christy Huddleson as she moves to the Smoky Mountains to pursue a job in teaching in Catherine Marshall’s classic novel. While teaching school children, Christy explores the mountains and life there by making new friends and learning more about the area. Westgate Smoky Mountain Resort & Spa guests will be transported to the early 1900’s as they engage and learn more about the mountains and daily life with Christy.
The Watergate Girl (2020) — Visitors to Washington, DC can find history all around, but not many hotels can boast as much historic notoriety as The Watergate Hotel. Just as author Jill Wine-Banks take readers inside her trial by fire as a Watergate prosecutor, the hotel where it happened takes guests inside as well, offering its own Scandal Room tour featuring one of the rooms involved the infamous break-in.
Cocoa Beach: A Novel (2017) — Set in the 1920’s in Cocoa Beach, Florida, Beatriz Williams’ classic novel will allow guests of Westgate Cocoa Beach Resort to delve into the enchanting beach town, seeing it through the eyes of protagonist, Virginia Fortescue. Readers follow recently widowed Virginia as she searches for the truth in her new world of citrus groves and white beaches. Today, guests are able to explore the same white beaches Virginia visits while reading and relaxing at the resort.
Cinderella (1634) —The Roxbury at Stratton Falls suggests reading the classic fairy tale, Cinderella, before visiting as one of its brand-new Catskills cottages is themed around the iconic fable. The room titled Cinderella’s Gown welcomes guests with an 18-foot ball gown doubling as a bedroom canopy and an enormous pumpkin morphing into a golden-carriage style bathroom. The 17th century European-inspired design fills the cottage, as well as the original, repurposed 1848 beams to give the space the feel of time-traveling.
Half Broke Horse (2009) — Jeanette Walls’ novel encourages guests of Westgate River Ranch & Rodeo to be transported back in time as protagonist Lily Casey Smith overcomes poverty and tragedy and follows the journey of her life. Growing up on a frontier in Texas and learning to break horses, Lily rides horse-back 500 miles to become a school teacher, later in life becoming a cattle rancher with her husband. Throughout her journey, she fights injustice and prejudice, earning extra money through poker and riding in horse races. Guests of the Ranch can experience Lily’s tale through horseback riding, a Saturday night rodeo, archery and more.
Charm City: A Walk Through Baltimore (2007) — Canopy by Hilton Baltimore Harbor Point (opening Summer 2020) suggests setting off on a walk through the city, like writer Madison Smartt Bell did in this book. You’ll enjoy the facts and history he picked up along the way, as well as on the spot conversations he has with people about the neighborhoods as he treks around.
Jurassic Park (1990) — Michael Crichton, the author and mastermind behind Jurassic Park, spent a lot of time in Costa Rica during the 1980s. Fascinated by the land and culture, and wanting to honor the beautiful country, Crichton made it the backdrop for his novel. The literary sensation soon-turned blockbuster tells the tory of a billionaire’s disastrous attempt to create a theme park inhabited by genetically recreated dinosaurs, and follows Paleontologist Alan Grant and his graduate student, Ellie Sattler, as they’re called to the park as consultants following a series of mishaps and attacks in Costa Rica and on the nearby island of Isla Nubar. Today, authentic memorabilia from the film can be found on property at the Planet Hollywood Beach Resort in Costa Rica – inspiring adventure in the breathtaking jungles of one of the most extraordinary coastal landscapes in the world.
The Cold Dish (2005) — This first novel in the Walt Longmire mystery collection that inspired a Netflix original series follows a surly sheriff in Wyoming’s Absaroka County. Author Craig Johnson makes frequent appearances at Northern Wyoming’s Red Reflet Ranch, where visitors can truly enjoy this beautiful, quiet area of Wyoming while experiencing what it’s like to working with cattle and other livestock on a working ranch property.
The Desert Rose (2002) — Pulitzer-prize winner, Larry McMurtry’s novel on Harmony, a Las Vegas showgirl in the American Heartland will transport guests staying at Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino with the heartwarming tale in the city of second chances. Harmony maintains a calm cheerfulness among neon landscape of supermarkets, drive-in wedding chapels, and all-night casinos as her fame is fading while exploring her relationship with her daughter throughout the novel.
To Have and Have Not (1937) — As a destination rich in literary history, Key West’s iconic Casa Marina Resort is a Henry Flagler-built landmark listed on the National Register for Historic Places and once host to notables including long-time Key West resident Ernest Hemingway. One of Hemingway’s books, To Have and Have Not, is a tale about Harry Morgan, a fishing boat captain out of Key West, Florida, forced by dire economic circumstances to run contraband between Cuba and Florida.
Huckleberry Finn (1884) — Home of Mark Twain’s in-laws where he spent summers writing, Mark Twain’s famous Huckleberry Finn was written in the legendary writer’s study – still standing today on the grounds of Elmira College in the Finger Lakes Region on Central New York. The nearby Holiday Inn Elmira-Horseheads would suggest reading Twain’s acclaimed work while dining at Jerusalem Hill’s Hill Top Inn, with a mountainous and foliage-filled backdrop from the deck famously known as “the view that inspired Mark Twain.”
Crossing Blood (1999) — Visitors to the Hotel Duval in Tallahassee, Florida can experience the south before arriving by reading Nanci Kincaid’s classic novel on of two young children learning about love during the Civil Rights-era. Based in the 1960’s, the classic details the enchanting city and its features while exploring the history that took place in Florida’s capital during this time through the eyes of young Lucy Conyers. Readers will be enthralled by the novel and be able to preview the beautiful scenery and enriching history of Tallahassee before visiting.
Goldeneye: Where Bond was Born: Ian Fleming’s Jamaica (2014) — Jamaica is renowned as the birthplace of the 13 James Bond novels and serving as the filming location for three Bond films including the 25th Bond title, “No Time to Die,” travelers can see the island through Ian Fleming’s eyes. Franchise fans can explore the birthplace of Bond with a trip to Fleming’s real-life GoldenEye estate, James Bond Beach and Dunn’s River Falls for thrill-seekers looking to follow in the footsteps of Sean Connery and Ursula Andress in the film “Dr. No.” Less than a 10 minute drive from Dunn’s River Falls, the adults-only all-inclusive Jewel Dunn’s River is the ultimate relaxing respite after a day of scene scouting for Bond-inspired cocktails including Vesper Martinis and Americanos and curated 007 spa treatments at the Radiant Spa.
The Complete Peanuts Vol. 1: 1950-1952 (2016) — Kobe in Japan’s Setouchi Islands has a Peanuts Hotel that suggests guests get well acquainted with Charles Schulz’s full Peanuts collection. The entire hotel is based off of Schulz’s famous comic strip and has18 private rooms, all decorated after a different Peanuts strip. Rooms contain whimsical Peanuts and Snoopy branded amenities like shampoos, conditioners and toothbrushes. The comic-strip fun extends past the rooms with the first floor of the hotel housing a Peanuts Café while the second-floor host to a Peanuts Diner where dinner and lunch are served on Peanuts-themed silverware.
Kate Michael is a Writer, Emcee, On-Camera Host and Fashion/Commercial Model. Follow her at @kstreetkate