The Tamburlaine is a new luxury hotel in Cambridge, England. With 155 rooms, it is one of the largest hotels in the city, which is rapidly shedding its sleepy university image for one of a vibrant metropolis. With its traditional yet modern design, the hotel, very artistically marries the two.

As part of the development of the Tamburlaine in the Spring of 2017, Ultimate Library was asked to create a bespoke collection of antiquarian books for the reception and Library. The collection of leather bound books needed to make a design statement that also nodded to the literary and academic heritage of Cambridge.


Tamburlaine Hotel Cambridge


Working with the design studio, Bryan O’Sullivan, Ultimate Library transformed the space into something more than just a Library. Books as art was the desired effect. Rather than offering a traditional Library with books for guests to use, the Library at the Tamburlaine was an artistic presentation of books of different heights, colours and condition that alluded to tradition by means of aesthetic rather than content. The leather antiquarian style of books helped create a unique setting within an otherwise modern space.


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Books can provide an important visual element. With thick leather spines and gold embossed lettering, one can quickly upscale the space from a white canvas to an area that oozes with old world luxury. With the use of colour, books can accent the walls of a room, providing visitors with an aesthetic feast that complements its surroundings.

In total, we supplied the Tamburlaine with 50 metres of Antiquarian leather books, which in book terms was nearly 2,000 titles. Cost per title was less than £5.00, which is a heavily discounted rate compared to standard leather bound book prices.


Tamburlaine Hotel Cambridge


The Ultimate Library also installed the books on site in Cambridge. Bryan O’Sullivan studio had wanted the book experts to present the book collection in the best way possible. Spending the day on site arranging the titles allowed the Ultimate Library the time to create a space that offered old world elegance and modern sophistication to an upper floor hidden area of the hotel.

“Part of the design for the Tamburlaine was to have books in the public areas. We wanted to make a statement without being too loud about it, which is why books were the ideal medium. The choice of antiquarian leather bound books allowed us to bring a sense of old world elegance and heritage to a new hotel in Cambridge, a vibrant and important regional city in England. Ultimate Library, with their book knowledge and installation expertise, were the ideal partners for us. They supplied books quickly and cost-effectively, responding to the brief in a timely and professional manner.” – Blá Farry, interior designer for Brian O’Sullivan Studio

“The selection of antiquarian leather bound books provided by Ultimate Library were perfect for our reading area at the Tamburlaine. They have been a huge success with many guests and visitors commenting on the elegance and heritage the books lend to the hotel in Cambridge. Ultimate Library did a great job.” – The Tamburlaine Hotel