Saturday, May 8, 2021

Sylvia Beach Hotel

Picture this: a writer sits in a comfy leather chair by a window over looking the sea, in a room of well-worn sofas, reading lamps, and side tables. Pictures of other writers, legendary ones, grace the walls. Outside, a small tempest rages. Rain smacks the windows and the wind shakes the building, felt strongly in this third floor salon. The sea is the color of slate and the waves pound the deserted beach. The writer is blissfully alone, warmed by the heat that issues forth from a vent by her feet. A cup of chamomile tea perches on a small table nearby. She tries not to be distracted by the perfection of the moment which almost seems staged to suit a writer of her ilk. She taps on her computer keyboard, and her novel unfolds beneath her fingers. If only the moment could last forever. 

This was my moment, the hour I was able to dedicate to my writing during our brief visit to the Sylvia Beach Hotel in Newport, Oregon. It's a hotel for readers and writers, dedicated to authors and books. Each room is named for an author and its decor reflects that writers aesthetic. Jon and I stayed in the Melville room, conveniently on that same third floor of the salon where I found myself miraculously alone during my writing hour. Why didn't I have more than an hour? Because there were other things to accomplish on this overnight getaway we allowed ourselves  in mid-March, 2021, a year into the Covid pandemic. 

This is what we did during the 24 hours of our trip:

Left Portland around 10:15 am. Drove to Lincoln City, on the coast. Arrived at 12:30.
Got to-go salads for lunch from McMenamin's and ate in the car overlooking the beach. 
Went for a long walk on said beach. 
Drove the half an hour further south to Newport. 
Arrived at Sylvia Beach Hotel at 2:30, at which time they let us check in, a half an hour early. 
Took a walk on Nye Beach and explored the little village around the hotel. 
Ensconced ourselves for an hour of writing time - Jon did his in the room. 
Relaxed in the library on the fourth floor and explored the books there. 
Drove into Newport to get a couple of things we needed and then picked up fish and chips from a restaurant in the Nye Beach village. 
Ate in our room. 
Ventured back into the salon where Jon made a fire in the fireplace. 
With the place still to ourselves, we lounged in front of the fire, laughing our heads off, drinking the hot mulled wine the hotel provides. 
Retired to our room.
Morning: Woke up, showered, and ate breakfast. 
Took another walk on the beach.
Checked out at 10:15.
Arrived home, 12:30. 

I don't know if you can tell simply by reading the itinerary, or by the description of my writing hour in the salon, but the trip was completely and absolutely perfect. The Sylvia Beach Hotel is a must-visit for anyone who loves books. If you check the website below, you can view out the different rooms but, just to give you an idea, author-themed rooms include Melville, as mentioned, Jane Austen, Emily Dickinson, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Alice Walker, Jules Verne, Ken Kesey, and many more. We chose the Melville room not only because we're big Moby Dick fans, but also because it is the only room in the hotel with a king sized bed, plus lots of sea-inspired antiques, and a cute dining/reading nook. 

There is no elevator in the four-story hotel, so you have to be able to climb stairs, or you can stay in the rooms on the first floor. There are also no TVs, phones, or Wifi in the rooms, but there's cell service in abundance. There is a restaurant on the premises where you can reserve a table for dinner. We opted not to because of the pandemic but they assured us there was plenty of social distancing, and, of course, masks were required in all public spaces in the hotel. We also could have had breakfast in the dining room but we were being extra cautious, so they delivered it to our room, boxed up neatly: a delicious quiche, turkey sausage, and potatoes. Coffee and tea is available for free in the snack room any time you want it - serve yourself. 

Every single thing about our stay was ideal and we can't wait to go back. As a result, I rate the Sylvia Beach Hotel: Extraordinarily sincere!

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