Ultimate Library have been lucky enough to curate bespoke book collections for a huge array of wonderful, luxury hotels in locations all over the world. However, this particular trio stands out when it comes to their vibrant history! These hotels are particularly inspiring for the way in which the heritage and culture of their iconic locations has been celebrated throughout their designs, and also in their book collections. For all of these hotels, the history of their location was paramount in considering their briefs for their libraries.

1. Le Bristol, Paris

Luxury hotel in Paris
Le Bristol, Paris

Opened in 1925, Le Bristol is decorated in traditional French Regalia style and the property features Versaille-style furnishings, antique statement pieces and period designs and accessories which all work together to add to the grandeur of the hotel. Located on the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, Le Bristol is set right in the centre of the French capital just a short walk from Jardins Des Tuilieres.

Thanks to its location and opulent design, this hotel has hosted a number of significant guests, from Nicholas Sarkozy to a huge number of French fashion models and boasts a strong reputation as the press centre for international film stars throughout the last century. Given its proximity to some of Paris’ most historic sites such as, Place de La Concorde, Le Louvre and Musee d’Orsay, it is not surprising that it acts as an epicentre for press junkets. The exciting creative history of Le Bristol sets it apart as one of the most unique venues in the city and it is the perfect location for anyone looking to take in some of the best sites in the stunning city centre.

For this collection, Ultimate Library sourced a number of titles that reflected the intricate history of the hotel. The collection heavily featured books on fashion, art and film in order to reflect some of the glamour of the location. Alongside these glossy titles, books that spoke to French food, culture and heritage were also chosen to complement the uniquely French design of the hotel. A book collection which helped to elaborate on the history of this location was also the perfect way to personalise the experience of the guests whilst maintaining the warm and authentic atmosphere that is championed at Le Bristol.

2. Old Bank Hotel, Oxford

Luxury hotel in historic Oxford
Old Bank Hotel, Oxford

Independently owned, Old Bank is situated on Oxford’s historic High Street. Nestled between some of Oxford’s oldest colleges, Old Bank boasts stunning views over the City of Spires. There is even a new rooftop room, complete with terrace that looks out over the High Street, and for those who have a penchant for historical architecture, this is the ideal spot to view the city from. Inside the building, the interior is light and warm with modern artwork chosen from the owners’ private collection and this combination of traditional and modern elements helps to reflect the history of innovation that Oxford boasts.

Just a short walk from the Bodleian Library, the Ashmolean and the Pitt Rivers Museum, Old Bank is the perfect location for those interested in expanding their knowledge of Oxford’s weaving history. Guests can enjoy guided walks or bus tours across the city which detail some of the most exciting facts about Oxford’s iconic past.

Ultimate Library were tasked with adding to a smaller collection of books that had already been installed at Old Bank. The curation project included a huge array of titles, from art and history to books on nature and anthropology which were all tied together by the historic location. As well as these, three metres of Penguin Classics were included to add texture and colour with their iconic bright orange spines. These titles also added a historic edge to the interior design, giving it a vintage yet traditional feel.

3. University Arms – Cambridge

Luxury hotel in Cambridge with history
University Arms Hotel, Cambridge

Set in the heart of Cambridge, this unique and elegant hotel is the perfect place to visit for those looking for luxury accommodation with historical edge. University Arms was redesigned in 2018 by architect John Simpson in collaboration with interior design studio, Martin Brudnizki. The style of design is undeniably British, with a grand ballroom and the traditional Edwardian interiors of the rooms which are furnished with leather writing desks that speak to the vast literary history of Cambridge.

To reflect some of this vibrant history, Ultimate Library provided bespoke selections of books for the guest rooms. These books were curated with the city in mind, and we chose titles from The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame to Porterhouse Blue by Tim Sharpe, which worked to create a distinct sense of place as well as to detail some of the history of the location. The books in rooms helped to add something a little bit special for guests, as well as complementing the authentic, cosy and traditional design of the hotel.

As well as its history, University Arms is also well known for its stunning view over Parker’s Piece, a 25-acre common in the centre of the city which is much-loved by the students in the summer. In addition to its reputation as a great meeting spot for the students, Parker’s Piece is also regarded by many as the birthplace of football as we know it today. The city itself offers a huge array of historic pursuits, from the Fitzwilliam Museum to the iconic King’s College Chapel and is the perfect place to stay for any budding historian.