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Posts Tagged ‘hotels’

Under One Roof

October 2, 2014 | by

Ludwig Bemelmans’s Paris bistro, La Colombe, combined two of his passions: art and innkeeping.

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Ludwig Bemelmans's Woman with a Dog, a mural from the La Colombe restaurant.

“It was precisely what I had been looking for—a lovely house, half palace, half ruin, an old house covered partly with vine,” Ludwig Bemelmans wrote in his 1958 illustrated memoir, My Life in Art. In 1953, he’d bought the hôtel particulier that once belonged to La belle Ferronnière (mistress of François I) at 4 rue de la Colombe, in the shadow of Notre Dame. “It had a bistro on the ground floor frequented by clochards and a small garden in front in which people sat.”

He christened the bistro La Colombe and covered its walls with near life-size frescoes of café society—Bemelmans’s own Bemelmans Bar. But it was not to last.    

“Fifty three was a marvelous year for him, and a terrible year at the same time,” explained Jane Bayard Curley, the curator of the New York Historical Society’s current exhibition, “Madeline in New York: The Art of Ludwig Bemelmans” (on view through October 19). “He was doing La Colombe, he was painting the murals for Aristotle Onassis, he was publishing his Caldecott Award–winning Madeline’s Rescue. So many good things were happening that year and then the wheels came off.” Read More »

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Kafkaesque Hotels, and Other News

August 27, 2013 | by

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  • “Want to lose a friend who’s a writer? Ask her, a month in, how it’s going. Better still, ask her to describe what she’s working on.” Mark Slouka explains the etiquette
  • The great affect/effect problem.
  • Libraries across Quebec are banding together to help rebuild the branch destroyed in the July Lac-Megantic oil-train derailment.
  • “The rise of the belles-lettres establishment, celebrating France’s literary culture, and even that of its neighbours, is the latest marketing sensation in the French capital, as hoteliers come up with ever more innovative—or desperate—ways to attract guests.” These include a Proust-themed hotel, a hostelry devoted to literary lovers, and a third containing an ominous-sounding Franz Kafka room. 
  • The latest in long-overdue library books: an alumna returns a volume to her Michigan school library thirty-three years late, from Dubai.

 

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What We’re Doing: Not Staying in Room 1212

August 6, 2013 | by

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Why should you never stay in room 1212? When should you tip the concierge? How can you raid your minibar—for free? Learn the answers to these and other shameful but reasonable questions tomorrow at noon when Paris Review editor Lorin Stein interviews Jacob Tomsky, author of Heads in Beds: A Reckless Memoir of Hotels, Hustles, and So-Called Hospitality.

To purchase tickets, click here.

 

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A Residential Library

June 20, 2013 | by

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Well, this is fantastic.

In 1889, British prime minister William Gladstone decided to make his 32,000-book library available to the public. Further, he envisioned the space (located in Wales) as a sort of scholarly hotel, at which visitors might spend the night and enjoy meals. And you still can! For a very reasonable $75 per night (dinner and breakfast included), you can stay in a lovely room, have access to the entire library, and roam the gorgeous grounds.

Via Bookriot.

 

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Letter from India: Rajiv and the Potassium Parmanganate

July 30, 2012 | by

The hotel was five stars but down-at-the-heels. It was the beginning of the off-season, so there were not many guests, and there were not going to be many guests for three months. For twenty dollars, we had arranged an upgrade to the best suite. It probably could have been done for less.

The suite had a lot of switches on the walls. The following morning, when our breakfast came, someone from the kitchen called and said the waiter was outside because of our DO NOT DISTURB sign. We let him in. It was seven a.m., and we had a long program that day. We did not come back to the hotel until two, and only then to get our passports from the safe—they were required for admission to a place I wanted to go.

We were waiting for the down elevator when Rajiv approached us. A member of the housekeeping staff, he was young and handsome, if a little short. His skin emitted light.

He approached quickly, withdrawing a key from his vest, saying, “Are you in room 427?”

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Letter from India: The Best Restaurant in the World

July 23, 2012 | by

My friend edits a travel magazine. She lets me review hotels. This means that I can stay at nice hotels free in return for a short review. (The magazine doesn’t pay either; it’s done “on trade.”) I can write four or five hotel reviews a year. Whenever I suggest more, my friend (who is a close friend of more than ten years) goes silent.

I recently arranged to stay at the Hotel in Delhi for two nights on trade. Rooms there start at six hundred dollars, and (uncharacteristically) they included everything—food, minibar, spa, airport pick-up and drop-off—in the trade. I mean it was all, to use their very polite and reassuring word, complimentary. Alcohol would have cost, they did say, but I am not a person who drinks anymore. I recently lost my privileges.

The thing about a free hotel stay is that you pay in time, in tours, and in the unspoken requirement that you ask questions, feign amazement, and jot notes about wall hangings, historic meetings, and persons who have sat in so-and-so chair. (“How do you spell that name? So wonderful. So he really sat here? May I sit?”)

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