SpotLight: Sylvia Beach Hotel


I rarely return to the same place. Well, you can’t count London or Paris because large cities can have unique visits a kazillion times. But rarely do I plan to return to any small individual place…there are just too many things to explore.  However there have been a few places that earned the right for repetition.

I told you recently about the Howard Creek Ranch….a place I first visited with my two sons back about 12 years ago when Sam was 5 and Dan was still in high school. When we made a similar trip up the West Coast 5 years ago, Sam and I decided it was so special to us that we needed to share it with Graham. It was interesting that he didn’t feel what we did about the place, but I think I will return still again, perhaps with one of my sisters or long term sister type friends.

On that first trip we hit another place and I brought Graham there last March. He loved it. We expected we would return there again in the future when we move to Oregon and want to go to the coast, but my sister has moved there now and we might crash with her ocean view…and her too of course.

The Sylvia Beach Hotel is a Bed and Breakfast perched high above the Pacific Ocean in the Nye Beach section of Newport, Oregon.  Dedicated to books and authors, there is a marvelous third floor reading room with a great view, the restaurant that serves breakfast of course but also dinners where tables play two truths and a lie as a wonderful icebreaker, and no televisions or internet. At the time of my first visit I learned that Sylvia Beach was NOT the name of the sand  below the cliff. It is the name of a woman who lived in Paris between the world wars, offered her home as a salon to the expat writers who lived there, but more significantly opened the English language bookstore Shakespeare and Company and she was the one who published James Joyce’s Ulysses when publishing houses turned it down.

The Bed and Breakfast is dedicated to books and authors. There is a marvelous third floor reading room overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the restaurant that serves breakfast of course but also dinners where tables play two truths and a lie as a wonderful icebreaker, and no televisions or internet.


The best part are the rooms, each one decorated in the theme of a specific author.

Last time we stayed in the Dr. Seuss room with a huge Cat in the Hat painted on the wall and a great collection of Theodor Seuss Geisel  books, both the ones we have read as kids and to our kids but also ones he wrote for adults.

This time we were in the Herman Melville Room which had a great view of the ocean.

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But there were new rooms this time for me to explore. One, for JK Rowlings, was a great Hogwarts room.

Another, the Tolkien room, had a great Lord of the Rings theme. 

In addition to many rooms with queen beds, there are several that cater to  families as well as a group of singles. Two look like the best hostel dorms I ever saw.

So the Sylvia Beach Hotel is a great place to visit while exploring Oregon’s coast, especially if you are a bibilophile and can appreciate a bit of time away from electronics.

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