Five Best: Hotels for book lovers

Rhiannon Batten selects the prime places around the world for travelling bookworms
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The Independent Travel

Le Prince Maurice, Mauritius

This classy hotel is situated beside the Indian Ocean. Some of the suites are even closer to the water, rising out of the sea on stilts. The décor has an understated tropical style. But for bookish visitors, the main attraction is the library, a traditional reading room with parquet floors and extensive range of travel literature and novels. The hotel also hosts an annual literary prize.

Le Prince Maurice, Choisy Road, Poste de Flacq, Mauritius (00 230 413 9100; www.princemaurice.com). Suites start at €270 (£193), including breakfast.

Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi

Liberace would have felt at home in the showy, government-owned, Kempinski-run Emirates Palace, a great ghetto-blaster of a building that emerges, lights flashing, chandeliers glinting, from the sand. Opening in November, it features 114 domes, a ballroom, two "pool landscapes", two spas, and a whopping 16 bars and restaurants. If you like your luxury hotels big and brash, this is the place for you. Otherwise, you can escape with a bestseller from the hotel's menu of electronic books on the plasma TV in your room. And if that's too much effort, you could even have one read to you using text-to-speech technology.

Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (00 800 426 313 55; www.emiratespalace.com) Doublesstart at AED2,000 (£300), including breakfast.

Mandarin Oriental, Chiang Mai

The newest Mandarin Oriental resort encompasses 60 acres of rice paddies, tropical hardwood groves and plantations. Looking more like a temple complex than a hotel, it hascarved, gilded rooftops and a structure that's built around a collection of separate pavilions. Facilities include a spa and fitness centre, restaurants, a cookery school and a 5,000-volume library. If the lure of reading up on the region by yourself starts to wane, the resort also plans to host lectures from visiting academics.

Mandarin Oriental Dhara Devi, 51/4 Chiang Mai, Sankampaeng Road, Chiang Mai, Thailand (00 66 53 888 888; www.mandarinoriental.com). Doubles start at $329 (£183), including breakfast.

The Cavendish, London

The Cavendish may be a haven of cool, contemporary design today but it wasn't always so orderly. In the 1800s it was owned by Rosa Lewis, a tradesman's daughter from Essex who had worked her way up to being chef and later hotelier to the aristocrats. Surprisingly little scandal erupted from the hotel, thanks to Rosa's demand that her guests burnt any illicit love letters. Today's guests shouldn't have need for any extra-curricular reading, though. A book at bedtime service means guests can request a specific book and have it bought for them.

The Cavendish, 81 Jermyn Street, London (020-7930 2111; www.thecavendish-london.co.uk). Doubles start at £140, including breakfast.

Library Hotel, New York

Hotel heaven for serious (and seriously stylish) readers, New York's Library Hotel is set in a characterful 1900s building round the corner from New York City Public Library. Decorated with a good mix of chic modern design and old-school clubby touches, each floor is dedicated to one of the ten major categories of the Dewey Decimal System - social sciences, history, the arts and so on. The hotel boasts over 6,000 volumes and tailor-made packages to suit.

Library Hotel, 299 Madison Avenue, New York (001 212 983 4500; www.libraryhotel.com). Doubles start at $309 (£172) including breakfast, evening reception and passes to the New York Sports Club.

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