Monday, March 12, 2012

Hello again, Sylvia Beach Hotel!

The last time we visited the Sylvia Beach Hotel (SBH) was nearly 3 years ago, and at the end of my blog post, I wrote, "All in all, a delightful celebration of our 19 years of wedded bliss. We sincerely hope it will not be another 3 years before we return!" Each time we go to the SBH, we vow that we must return again soon. Our first visit was in 1995, for our fifth anniversary, when we stayed in the Jane Austen room (our first conversation was about Jane Austen). This time we stayed in the Robert Louis Stevenson room for the first--and last--time. It's about to be redone as Jules Verne.

Door of RL Stevenson

RL Stevenson Room

We typically stay in the mid-range rooms (bestsellers), but this time we decided to save a bit of money and stay in the lowest-price novel room. These rooms do not have ocean views and tend to be smaller. RL Stevenson, though, seems to be the largest of the bunch, and it has a deck (although the weather was not nice enough for us to use it). The only downside of the room was that it seemed to have a loud running water sound (from the floor above it)? That's what you get with a 100-year-old hotel!

On Friday evening, we had dinner in Nana's Irish Pub a few doors down from the SBH. Great Irish beer and Strongbow on tap, with yummy and authentic Irish food!

Mike perusing the menu

With my perfect-temperature Guinness

Mike had "Taigue's Delight," Irish breakfast sausages topped with apples
and onions sauteed in Strongbow hard cider,
with mashed potatoes, peas, and a side of mushroom gravy.

I had "Celtic Veggie Curry Pie," carrots, parsnips, golden raisins, pinto beans,
corn, mushrooms, celery, onion and garlic
in a yellow curry cream sauce topped with a flaky pastry crust

On Saturday morning after breakfast we read in the third-floor library for a bit:

View from my chair
(SBH is the one place on the Oregon Coast where I don't mind the wind and rain--
because of the wonderful library views!)

Then we decided to take advantage of the weekend's child care (thanks, Mom and Dad!) and take in a movie. Mike wanted to see "The Artist," but I dragged him to "The Descendants" instead. After weeping our way through that beautiful movie, we went down to the bayfront to look for a (very late) lunch at 3:30. We ended up at Local Ocean Seafoods, which had been recommended to Mike. We both chose the roasted garlic & dungeness crab soup (a cup for me and a bowl for Mike), which was absolutely delish! But the service could have been better--we could sense the waitress' displeasure that we were not ordering a larger meal. We had booked a reservation for SBH's Tables of Content restaurant for 7:00, though, so we could not eat too much.

It was a small group at dinner...a mother and her 15-year-old daughter (who was extremely bright and articulate); a couple from Portland who were staying at the Best Western but visited SBH for dinner; and a couple from Gresham whose son is living in Japan. We played the traditional "two truths and a lie" game, and these were my stories--can you guess which one is the lie?

1. I saw Mary Tyler Moore at the Statue of Liberty
2. I flew in first class with Al Franken.
3. Kenny Loggins dedicated a song at a concert to Christopher.

The other guests ask you questions to figure out which is your lie. The last time we were there, I won and received a standing ovation, but this time they guessed my lie correctly. Our table mates all had really interesting stories, and we enjoyed ourselves!

Mike with our dinner mates
After dinner I was so full that I passed up the hot spiced wine in the library...I think that's a first!

The next day we had a few rare moments of sunshine, but it was still very blustery. We went down to the beach for a (VERY BRIEF) jaunt. Too windy and cold!!
View from the climb up from the beach

Sunny view of the beach from library window
We hung out in the library after checking out. The SBH is celebrating its 25th anniversary, in addition to the 00th birthday of the building and the 125th birthday of Sylvia Beach, the famed owner of the Shakespeare & Co. bookstore in Paris. The hotel had an open house on Sunday afternoon, when they opened up all the rooms for guests to wander through. Many of the visitors were not your typical SBH guests, and they also didn't follow the protocol of keeping quiet in the library. Although it was fun to poke through all the rooms at once, Mike and I both thought there were too many people! (The rooms are always open to wander through if they are not occupied, so we had already been in them at one time or another.)

So here is your virtual tour of the rooms!

Herman Melville Room, one of our favorites because of the big bed
and next-door proximity to the library

Melville Room



Dr. Seuss Room

Dr. Seuss Room

Dr. Seuss Room
Fish tank toilet in Dr. Seuss

View from Dr. Seuss
Oscar Wilde Room

Oscar Wilde

The new Amy Tan Room, which is not yet finished

Amy Tan

Mike in Amy Tan Room

Gertrude Stein Room

Lincoln Steffens Room

Lincoln Steffens

Lincoln Steffens

Emily Dickinson Room

Mike poring over the journals in Emily Dickinson
to discover when we'd stayed in that room

My favorite room--Shakespeare!

Props in Shakespeare


Prop case in Shakespeare

View from the four-poster bed
(I want a four-poster bed!)

More Shakespeare

Out! Out damned spot! (above the sink)

To pee...or not to pee..
(above the toilet)

More Shakespeare
Now you can see why I love the Shakespeare room--so much to look at!
Colette (the prettiest of the three "classic" [most expensive] rooms)



Colette fireplace

Mark Twain (another classic)


Twain bathtub

Window seat in Twain

Jane Austen--our first memory of the SBH!

Mike trying to find our first visit in the journals

View from Jane Austen

F. Scott Fitzgerald



One of the newest rooms--JK Rowling (used to be Poe) 
Most famous feature of the old Poe Room
(hanging over the bed!)

Dolores Umbridge proclamations

Wand and potion collections


Another four-poster bed!

Moaning Myrtle in the bathroom

Broom and goggles

Gryffinder crest on the door

Sorting hat and snitch

Hotel cat, Shelley

Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie

Christie fireplace

Door of Agatha Christie
Alice Walker (we stayed in this room once--in the late '90s?)

Alice Walker

Mural in Alice Walker

Alice Walker

Door of Alice Walker

Virginia Woolf--I like this decor!

Virginia Woolf

Virginia Woolf
Ernest Hemingway

JRR Tolkien
Tolkien bed, which we didn't like as well as the old bed:

This was taken during our last visit in 2009 (they apparently
had to replace the bed because people complained about getting injured by the bed??)
Map of Mordor
John Steinbeck (also new)


That afternoon we met Sally Ford, one of the co-owners of the hotel with Goody Cable, who we finally met on our last visit. Sally and Goody have known each other since they were 3, and they are now related by marriage!

Sally Ford and Goody Cable, visionaries and book lovers!
Many of the hotel staff have been there for years, including one of the managers, Charlotte, who has been there from nearly the very beginning. The waitress at the restaurant has been there for a long time, as well.
Anniversary banner

Lobby/gift shop

Mural in the lobby

Sad to leave!

Outside of our room

Front door of hotel
Goodbye, SBH--
Hope to see you again soon!


  1. How lovely! I hope I can convince my dear husband to take a weekend trip out here, now that we're back in the Pacific Northwest :-)

  2. Good luck! I always feel like I can't quite get enough time there...