NATIONAL REPORT—The next chapter of bedside amenities at luxury hotels is a real page-turner. Bedside Reading is offering guests complimentary access to critically acclaimed literature on site and at home.
It was during a breakup while on vacation in St. Maarten that Jane Ubell Meyer, founder of Bedside Reading, realized the company of a good book.
“Luckily, I was given a fabulous book to take on my vacation, Anne Rice’s Cry to Heaven, and it saved my trip,” said Meyer. “I always remembered this incident and, years later, I always remind myself to take a book everywhere. As I was thinking about this—and since bookstores are on the decline—I decided Bedside Reading was a great solution for travelers and hotels.”
Meyer believes this program is perfect for upcoming books as well as authors who need to find new fans.
“Hundreds, if not thousands, of books are published annually,” she said. “How many of them make it to the top of The New York Times or Amazon list? We are here to offer authors a new way to expand their fan base and build new fans as well. Word-of-mouth is so important to a book. Placing books in hotels rooms where influencers stay-and-play provides a great opportunity for books to be discovered.”
Founded in 2017, the Bedside Reading program partners with leading publishers such as Penguin Random House, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Simon & Schuster, and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, as well as independent publishers and authors. Much like a good book, the idea has captured the attention of several luxury hotels like The Waldorf Astoria Chicago, Chamberlain West Hollywood, Morrison House and The Alexandrian Hotel, and many more.
“Hotels usually find us,” said Meyer. “We are considered an exclusive amenity, and we are now being pursued by many hotels, which is always appreciated.”
“It’s no secret that reading is a popular pastime for many guests when they travel, and we anticipate that our Morrison House guests will appreciate the convenience of having a selection of complimentary bestsellers in-room to enjoy at their leisure,” said Mike Nelson, general manager, Morrison House and The Alexandrian Hotel. “It’s a unique amenity that aligns with Morrison House’s overall brand ethos of creating an atmosphere that is like being at home. Visitors will also have the option of enjoying a selection of books in the hotel’s cocktail lounge—notably named The Study.”
Jamison DeTrolio, director of sales and marketing, Chamberlain West Hollywood, added, “The new Bedside Reading amenity has been a great option for our guests to unplug, unwind and feel at home in our hotel. The Chamberlain is a home away from home for many of our guests visiting West Hollywood, and guests are delighted to find these complimentary acclaimed books on their nightstand to read throughout their stay, whether by the cozy fireplace in our redesigned suites or while lounging on the newly revamped rooftop pool deck.”
In this digital age, there’s something about turning the pages of a book. It’s a tactile feeling that connects guests to what they’re reading. It’s very in the moment.
“I enjoy reading while traveling, so partnering with Bedside Reading caught my attention right away,” said Todd Temperly, general manager, Waldorf Astoria Chicago. “We spend so much time in front of screens these days, it’s a nice benefit to be able to offer guests a unique amenity such as this. A great perk is that the book is complimentary, so guests may read while staying with us or take the book with them upon departure. We will always have a couple of different options, so at any given time, our guests have a variety of recently published selections to choose from.”
This month, guests of Morrison House and The Alexandrian properties can thumb through Night Justice by Diane Capri; Come Home by Patricia Gussin, Freckled by TW (Toby) Neal; and Depth of Winter by Craig Johnson (audiobook). The hotel will also carry several ebooks by Diane Capri: Wasted Justice, Fatal Dawn and Ten Two Jack.
“Bedside Reading curates the selection to align with the region and the hotel, so guests can develop a connection to the hotel and destination through the books during their stay,” said Morrison.
While guests may be tempted to take home a hotel’s fluffy bathrobe or sample the treats inside the minibar, the Bedside Reading amenity is one they can take home without charge upon checkout.
“We have tents in our guestrooms promoting the amenity, which encourage guests to read the books, take the books with them, or leave for the next traveler,” said DeTrolio. “We also have shared what books are available at the hotel on our social media pages.”
As hotels strive to find new and interesting ways to surprise and delight guests with the latest technology, sometimes it’s good to go back to basics with a bound book they can carry on their journey.
“We are thrilled to be the first hotel in Chicago to partner with Bedside Reading to offer guests complimentary access to critically acclaimed literature that they can enjoy during their stay with us and that’s free to take home,” said Temperly. “We are always striving to inspire our guests and leave them with unforgettable experiences. Therefore, an unexpected great read can make a guest’s stay even better.”