Somewhere in the beginning stages of planning I’d run across a mention of the Sylvia Beach Hotel. As I searched for more information it became clear to me that if I went only one place on the Oregon coast it would have to be there for a night.
I loved the website, it felt like home, bohemian, both website and the premises it promised. It told of writers and writing, evocative places and times, interior a reflection of a vintage exterior, a refusal to be modern though not in a mannered way. But very straightforwardly, no elevator, TVs or WiFi, and reservations by telephone only. The rooms were priced in appropriate categories, some had views or were much larger. Winter and summer pricing, higher on the weekends, a discount for singles, breakfast included, tax included, all spelled out, no tricks. I was in love.
Entrance to the lobby, left.
When I called to make a reservation I was surprised to find that all the rooms that most appealed to me, on a weekday night in off-season, were booked and I had the vague feeling I was applying for a reservation, that depending on what I said the outcome was not necessarily sure. I began to feel guilty about taking so much of her time, me in front of my computer looking at the photos of each room she mentioned, booking one measly night, but she was gracious and unhurried, said she had time, yet one more reflection of another era. And I suspect my indecision wasn’t unusual. In the end I was booked and rarely have I been so pleased.
From the hotel website, “Sylvia Beach Hotel was named in honor of Sylvia Beach, the expatriate American bookseller and publisher who opened Shakespeare and Company bookstore in Paris in 1919.” Built in 1912 and now on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, in the 1980s the hotel became what it remains today, 21 rooms, 21 authors’ lives and writing honored.
Above, J.K. Rowling. F. Scott Fitzgerald, below.
Gertrude Stein, then Oscar Wilde.
Wanting to see all of the Sylvia Beach, I ascended and descended flights of stairs exploring, looked in the open doors of waiting guest rooms, and public rooms - the library and lounge at the top, down to the Tables of Content Restaurant below the first floor lobby. The hotel’s location high above Nye Beach demanded a walk down to look back up at the dramatic setting of my home-for-a-night, fit for a gothic novel.
The comfy 3rd floor lounge.
The Tables of Content Restaurant
The table d'hôte dinner menu was tempting but I opted for a recommended place down the street, Pacific Kitchen and a huge burger that I rarely crave but this was one of the times.
In the morning, a surprisingly good breakfast of blueberry pancakes and sausage was served in the restaurant with a table-full of assorted additions. The food and the view demanded that I take my time and finishing would mean I’d be leaving. But one more planned stop was 100 miles down the road and I’d remember the Sylvia Beach Hotel as a place I might very well return, not impossibly far from home, next time with a granddaughter or 2 for company.
SYLVIA BEACH HOTEL
“truly a hotel for book lovers”
Next week, Shore Acres State Park, a garden in
a spectacular setting with an unusual history.
And more stories are here.