By Deborah Yaffe, May 18 2020 01:00PM
For some unaccountable reason, lately I find myself fantasizing longingly about travel to exotic destinations. (Not even that exotic! The mall would be fine!)
In other words, I’ve been in the perfect mood for discovering a boutique hotel in Ontario, Canada, whose rooms are named after famous artists, including Jane Austen. The Arlington Hotel is located in the quaint little town of Paris, about seventy-five miles west of Niagara Falls. (Yes, Ontario boasts both a London and a Paris; who knew?)
The Arlington’s twenty-three rooms, twenty-two of which are pictured on its website, are mostly named after nineteenth- and twentieth-century literary figures, from Lewis Carroll and Virginia Woolf to Hunter S. Thompson and Maya Angelou. But a smattering of other creative types are also represented — Leonardo da Vinci, Leonard Cohen, Monty Python.
Judging from the website photo, the décor of the Jane Austen room tends toward the Austen-as-avatar-of-swoony-femininity trope: the walls are painted a pale lavender, the chairs are upholstered in pink satin, and Regency prints decorate the space. It’s not as entertaining as, say, the Freud room, whose walls are hung with Rorschach ink blots, but these days, I’m in no mood to be picky.
The Arlington isn’t the first small hotel to mine world literature for inspiration: Loyal blog readers may remember that a few years ago I wrote about the Sylvia Beach Hotel, on the Oregon coast, whose twenty-one rooms were also named for literary figures, including Jane Austen. (In fact, the two hotels have given identical names to nine of their rooms – good news not only for Janeites but also for fans of Agatha Christie, Emily Dickinson, Ernest Hemingway, Dr. Seuss, J.R.R. Tolkien, Mark Twain, Oscar Wilde, and Virginia Woolf.)
The Sylvia Beach Hotel is currently closed for coronavirus quarantine; the Arlington seems to be open, or at least hasn’t announced a closure on its website or social media. Alas, my travelling will probably remain the armchair-only variety for the foreseeable future, but someday I hope to see Paris – and the Jane Austen room -- in the springtime.