Design I 16.03.17 I by

5 literary boltholes you can book

Where to pen your novel

If you know your JK Rowling from your Jack Kerouac, chances are you favour a more sophisticated home away from home. But immersing yourself in literature doesn’t have to be as obvious as being surrounded by books…

We’ve picked five of the best apartments and hotels with literary links, from cabins that helped Aldous Huxley and D H Lawrence overcome writer’s block, to a hotel that housed literary luminaries Joseph Conrad and John Le Carré. Here’s where to be inspired.

The Renwick’s Gertrude Stein suite

Renwick Hotel: Gertrude Stein Suite
Photography: Sean Thomas / Courtesy of The Renwick Hotel

New York’s The Renwick has been host to some big names – F Scott Fitzgerald apparently wrote his letters in the bar, and John Steinbeck and Thomas Mann resided in the building in the 1920s. The Gertrude Stein Suite, designed by Kim Edwards of Stonehill & Taylor, is its first room dedicated to a female writer and is styled accordingly. Books by the author – and regular attendees of her salons – are stacked around the suite, alongside portraits and photographs. Smaller details such as dried lavender and vintage fittings also nod to Stein’s Paris apartment.
Writers’ Suites from $448 per night

Green Farm Retreat, home to Aldous Huxley and DH Lawrence

Green Farm Retreat, home to Aldous Huxley and DH Lawrence
Courtesy of Airbnb

If you’ve got your own literary ambitions, this could be a good place to bring them to life. Set in a remote part of New Mexico and surrounded by forest, Green Farm Retreat’s rustic cabins have been home to both Aldous Huxley and DH Lawrence. Huxley even constructed an outhouse on the farm, which is still in place. Located far enough away from civilisation for would-be novelists to immerse themselves in their work, there’s also a nearby river and hot springs – for when writer’s block strikes.
From £83 per night

Mandarin Oriental Bangkok, home to Iris Murdoch, VS Naipaul and Tennessee Williams

Mandarin Oriental Bangkok's authors' suite
Courtesy of Mandarin Oriental Bangkok

There’s no shortage of writers to have passed through the doors of the Mandarin Oriental Bangkok, which has been the haunt of everyone from Iris Murdoch and Barbara Cartland, to Tennessee Williams and VS Naipaul. Suites in the Author’s Wing – which was renovated in 2016 – are named after some of its most famous guests, and the palm-filled Author’s Lounge is a place to enjoy afternoon tea, watched over by portraits of some of the greats.
Authors’ Suites from £924 per night

Bret Easton Ellis’s East Village apartment

Bert Easton Ellis' apartment for rent
Courtesy of Brown Harris Stevens

This East Village Loft witnessed not just the creation of Bret Easton Ellis’s 1991 novel American Psycho but, according to the author, some lavish parties. Its spare interior may perhaps recall protagonist Patrick Bateman’s own severe apartment – although there’s a sizeable terrace to escape to if the similarities get too much. At $5,900 a month though, this is definitely a literary hideaway for those with deep pockets.
From $5,900 per month

Milan apartment on the birthplace of Alessandro Manzoni

Milan apartment to rent that comes with literary links
Courtesy of Airbnb

If you know your Italian literature, this Milan apartment is a chance to enjoy some literary history while immersing yourself in midcentury design. Set on the site of poet and novelist Alessandro Manzoni’s birthplace, the spacious bolthole features coffered ceilings, and its own mini bar – in case you need a cocktail while you finish reading those final chapters.
From £170 per night

Read next: 8 creative retreats for artists, writers and musicians

Emma is an editor and writer who contributes to Dezeen, Grafik and Creative Review

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