Friday, April 1, 2016

A Night with Ernest Hemingway

The Sylvia Beach Hotel

This charming old hotel in Newport, Oregon, sits high up on a cliff overlooking the ocean.  Each room is literary-themed.  We had a hard time deciding among the Jules Verne, John Steinbeck or Ernest Hemingway rooms, but the safari-based theme of the latter won us over.  After checking in, I immediately reached for The Old Man and the Sea, and my travel buddy picked up Green Hills of Africa.  With books in hand, we ordered glasses of wine from the receptionist and went up to the reading room for two hours of peace and quiet.  Pure bliss!

This is a hotel for book lovers.  There are no televisions.  Guests read books or take long walks on the beach.  The neighborhood is very artsy with galleries, restaurants and a performing arts center down the block.  I would love to return at some future date for a long weekend.  Perhaps stay in the Steinbeck room next time.

Dinner is shared, family style if you opt to partake.  We decided to do just that.  A dinner bell rang promptly at 6 pm and we were seated with two other couples.  Ironically, books were not discussed because we all discovered we had something else in common:  Travel!  We covered the world, from Alaska to Estonia to New Zealand to the Middle East for the rest of the evening.  Four courses were served, all paired with a different wine.

Back in the Hemingway room, we read long into the night; the sound of the surf finally lulling us to sleep.

A big breakfast is included with the price of the room.  Once again, we lingered at the table enjoying the company of other guests.  One man, now a widower, had been coming here for many many years.  He told us he always stays in the Jane Austen room because that was his wife's favorite.  He claims her ghost roams the halls.

Although we had miles to go, we stayed until the check-out time of 11 am.  I didn't want to leave.

The Sylvia Beach Hotel is a destination hotel--a unique world unto itself.

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