This was my first stay at the Sylvia Beach Hotel. I'd known about it for about six years, but most of that time, I was living on another part of the Oregon coast with my own view of the ocean. I was also put-off by some of the negative reviews on TripAdvisor, not knowing what to expect. But I am SO glad that I finally decided to check it out! It was one of the most fun places that I have ever stayed, and I am dying to go back there with boyfriend in tow!
The hotel is 100 years old, but didn't become the Sylvia Beach until 25 years ago when it was remodeled with a literary theme by the present owners. There are 20 rooms on three floors. All are named for a famous author and decorated appropriately, including books by that author. Over time, the rooms have changed somewhat, with some older, less well-known authors being displaced by some more recent ones. Current rooms include John Steinbeck, Hemingway, Lincoln Steffens, Jane Austen,
Collette, Robert Louis Stevenson, Tolkien, Amy Tan, Oscar Wilde, Gertrude Stein, Mark Twain, Agatha Christie, Virginia Woolf, J. K.Rowling, Herman Melville, Dr. Seuss, Emily Dickinson, Alice Walker, Shakespeare, and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Rooms are grouped into rate categories of Novels (least expensive), Best Sellers, and Classics (most expensive and largest) depending on whether they have an ocean view and whether they have a deck (balcony) and fireplace. All rooms have private baths. Two first-floor rooms open onto the entrance gardens. The website goes into detail on all of the rooms.
Room rate includes room tax and breakfast! And they discount room rates $10 less for singles! YAY!!!
Rates are cheaper mid-week and out of season.
Breakfast is in the ocean-front dining room, and the days I was there included a buffet of cereal, scones, pastries (lemon bars, berry bars, pear bars, and cheesecake squares), milk, cantaloupe and honeydew melon slices, grapefruit halves, bananas, and orange, apple, grapefruit, and tomato juices. In addition, each day there was a hot breakfast served as well. The first day it was scrambled eggs with ham, a hash brown square, and a piece of toast. The second day it was THE best Dutch Baby I have ever had, served with a lemon to squeeze on it and powdered sugar, plus two slices of the most perfectly crisp bacon ever!
Dinner is extra and is served family style. You must make a reservation earlier in the day and tell them which entree you wish to have (typically there were meat, fish, and vegetarian options). Dinner is $23.50 for everything. The day I had dinner the courses were: Soup (a creamy seafood), Salad (Caesar), Homemade Bread, Rice, Fresh Vegetables, and Carrot Cake for dessert. I chose the Duck Breast with Thyme Vinagrette Sauce for the main course, which was wonderful!
The guests at the Sylvia Beach are very friendly, and breakfasts and dinners led to some good conversations. Everyone likes to talk about which room they are in and ask what rooms the others are in. At dinner, our table joined in the game of Two Truths and a Lie. Unlike many places where a single person feels left out, the family style meals automatically include you.
There is an ocean-front library on the third floor with a balcony area above it. There are books, jigsaw puzzles, and games. There are comfy chairs and sofas to sit on and read, places to write letters, and a fireplace to light on cold days. The rule here is that the library is a quiet room, so it is not a place to converse, and I found that the guests not only respected that, but loved it! (I sure did!)
There is no elevator in the Sylvia Beach, so you will get your exercise on the stairs - up to rooms and the library, down to the gift shop and dining room. The gift shop is part of the main floor area, which includes the front desk - manned (or womaned) by very helpful and friendly people - and a table and chairs where guests can sit and browse through a big book with pictures of the differenr rooms. It is open 24 hours a day and sells all sorts of wonderful things, many related to literature: books, blank books, postcards, notecards, tote bags, mugs, Unemployed Philosophers Guild Little Thinkers and finger puppets of famous authors, as well as candy and nuts, newspapers, and scarves - enough to keep you browsing and shopping for quite a while. Dinners and purchases in the gift shop can most conveniently be charged to your room.
I was in the Gertrude Stein room on the second floor, overlooking the entrance garden. It was a most cozy and comfortable room, perfect for me. The bed was very comfortable, and I slept very well. The room had plenty of light: a ceiling fixture, one over the sink, a lamp on each side of the bed, and one on each side of the top of the desk. In addition to the desk chair, there was another chair for sitting in, and there was a small stand near the sink, which was in the room; the tub and toilet were inside a small closet. There was also a bookcase with Gertrude Stein books in it. And there were plenty of throws and pillows. While there is no air conditioning in the rooms, one seldom needs it at the ocean, and throwing open the window got a nice breeze blowing in. Mini-blinds kept the light out when necessary.
Nice touches: Coats and umbrellas to borrow for blustery days! The Henry Miller Memorial Restrooms - Tropic of Cancer for the women and Tropic of Capricorn for the men - on the bottom floor near the dining room. The necessary soda machine, charging only 60 cents! A guest kitchen off the library.
There is some parking across the street in a lot and spaces on the side on the hill as well as on the next block.
The doors to all the rooms are left open until they are occupied, so guests can check out the other rooms for future stays. As there is a "hotel cat," and I am semi-allergic to cats, the staff put a "Cat Alert" on my room to make sure that my door was closed until I arrived, so the cat would not visit it. I really appreciated that, as the cat was one of my concerns in staying there. As it turned out, the cat was absolutely no problem.
Rooms do NOT have phones, TVs, or radios, the idea being that this is a place to read and quietly relax, to gaze at the ocean - even my Novel room had a small oblique ocean view - and think. It is not uncommon for guests to stay inside the hotel the whole time they are there - I did!
But it you want to wander out into the Nye Beach area, there are plenty of shops there, and the ocean is just below the hotel for beach walkers.
It is good to realize that this IS a 100-year old building and has very much the feel of an old hotel. The rooms have transoms over the doors, the windows are old-fashioned sash, and sometimes the water pressure changes on you. I found that this made for a delightful stay!
So, if you want a wonderful literary get-away at the ocean with great food, go to the Sylvia Beach!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- A lovely bed and breakfast where each room is designed after a certain author. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Hotel Sylvia Beach
- Sylvia Beach Newport
- Sylvia Beach Hotel Newport, Oregon