A Journey Through Notable Bars, Unsolved Mysteries, and Exotic Escapes
For many creative, inspiration can be found in many places and their travels have provided the foundation for their next great story. As a travel writer, I always took an interest in learning more about authors I read growing up and visited their favorite haunts. For this guide, you will be taken on a literary journey around the world to famous literary hotels frequented by classic writers like Oscar Wilde, Ian Fleming, Tennessee Williams, Ernest Hemingway, and more.
L’Hotel – Paris, France
“I am dying beyond any means.” Even on his deathbed, Oscar Wilde writing one-liners while drinking cognac. Formerly known as the Hôtel d’Alsace, the author of the Picture of Dorian Gray and many other famous works, Oscar Wilde, spent the last years of life living at the hotel and also died of illness. It was also the sight of his final address while living miserably in exile. Oscar Wilde wasn’t the only famous resident of the hotel. Spanish poet and essayist, Jorge Luis Borges, also resided here and was also a big fan of Oscar Wilde, translated Wilde’s “The Happy Prince” into Spanish. Today the hotel is a luxury property in the Saint Germain neighborhood where visitors can stay in the famous Oscar Wilde Suite.
Pera Palace Hotel Jumeirah -Istanbul, Turkey
“The impossible could not have happened; therefore the impossible must be possible in spite of appearances.” British crime novelist, Agatha Christie, was a frequent guest of the hotel and it was in the same room that where she allegedly was inspired to write the bestseller “Murder on the Orient Express.” Established in 1892 to host passengers from the original Orient Express, the Pera Palace is the oldest European hotel in Turkey. The hotel was featured in the work of Ernest Hemingway. In a short story named “The Snow of Kilimanjaro”, the main character, Harry, stays at the hotel during World War I. In the modern times, the hotel reopened its door in 2010 after major renovations and has immortalized the Agatha Christie’s legacy with the Agatha Christie where guests can stay and indulge in her famous crime novels.
Hotel Elysee – New York, NY
“America has only three cities: New York, San Francisco, and New Orleans. Everywhere else is Cleveland.” Those immortal words from the playwright, Tennessee Williams, lived both a captivating yet tragic life with soaring highs and devastating lows. New York City held a special place in his heart, and he lived at the Hotel Elysee for fifteen years until the time of his death where he was found lifeless in his suite. He resided in what known as the Sunset Suite where he wrote his final play, Masks Outrageous and Austere, memoirs on his life, and a play based on the experiences of author F. Scott Fitzgerald and his wife, Zelda. Today, the Sunset Suite has been split into smaller units, but the hotel has dedicated their Presidential Suite to the famous playwright decorated with his published works and memorabilia.
D’Angleterre Hotel – Copenhagen, Denmark
“Every man’s life is a fairy tale, written by God’s fingers.” Hans Christian Anderson has penned some of our most beloved fairytales. The D’angleterre is historical five-star hotel located at the center of Copenhagen. The Danish author spent much time at the luxury property, even writing his short story, What Father Does Is Always Right. He was a regular at the hotel from November 1860 to 1871, four years before his passing, and even celebrated Christmas there in 1865. He spent a lot of his time in his favorite rooms on the ground level, which is now the site of the hotel’s restaurant, Marchal. Today the hotel has a suite dedicated to Anderson right above his two favorite rooms with several of his paper clippings framed around the suite..
GoldenEye Resort – Oracabessa, Jamaica
The James Bond series has become apart of pop culture with a string of successful movie adaptions. In the tropical setting of Oracabessa, Jamaica is where the famous British writer’s imagination flourished, and it was here where the James Bond series was born. Fleming’s legacy at the hotel has made the island property achieve international fame, hosting celebrities and diplomats from all over the world. Today, you can book to stay in Fleming’s Villa with his original desk and furnishings. It was also where singer Sting wrote his famous classic “Every Breath You Take.”
Hotel Monteleone – New Orleans, LA
Another one of Tennessee William’s favorite cities, the Hotel Monteleone has been the setting in plays such as “The Rose Tattoo” and “Orpheus Descending.” Outside of the famous playwright, the hotel has a long literary tradition of being a well-known refuge for Southern writers and referenced in several works by Rebecca Wells, Erle Stanley Gardner, and Harry Stephen Keeler mentioned the legendary Carousel Bar. The hotel has since has become a literary landmark to New Orleans with authors such as Ernest Hemingway and William Faulkner making it a point to stay at the hotel while visiting New Orleans. Guests can also stay one of the famous literary suites named after writers that have stayed there.
Raffles Hotel – Singapore
The Raffles Hotel has a literary history of famous authors. In 1888, one year after its grand debut, writers Joseph Conrad and Rudyard Kipling were among the first guests of the luxury hotel starting a long literary tradition of writers visiting the hotel. The hotel has since transformed into one of the best luxury hotels in Singapore with a rich history. At its center is the legendary Writers’ Bar that celebrates their proud history of famous authors while enjoying an original Singapore Sling. To commemorate their distinguished guests, guests can stay at one of their Personality Suites named after famous guests including writers like playwright Noel Coward, novelist William Somerset Maugham, and Pulitzer Prize winner James A. Michener. The hotel is currently under significant restorations will be re-opening later this year.