The latest idea in concept hotels is taking place in Japan. The “Book and Bed Hotel” in the commercial and entertainment district of Ikebukuro in the Toshima ward of Tokyo, is a hotel that is set inside a “library.”
Although it may not be the traditional public library with card catalogs and Dewey Decimal systems, the owners have partnered with Shibuya Publishing & Booksellers to provide all of the books that make up the majority of the inside foundation and entertainment at the hotel. There are no rooms at the Book and Bed Hotel; instead there are small cubbies and nooks with beds that patrons can sleep in over night. Some privacy and light blockage will be provided with curtains. Customers can also come in during the day to read. So far, prices have not been set for the “hotel rooms” and it is set to open sometime in Fall 2015.
While this may seem like a pretty radical idea, it is just a new spoke in the wheel of the re-conception of what a library is, as well as confirming how important the book as a physical object is to people. Obviously, people could just read from a tablet or computer screen, but many still prefer a paper book as an object of comfort and desire. So, to pair it with the idea of sleeping, and perhaps via that, home, just makes sense.
Books are objects of comfort as well as escapism. Books and the stories written in them have the power to take you on a journey. While some patrons of this hotel may be from its neighborhood, most people who stay in hotels are travelers, just like a reader of a good book is a traveler to the world within it. Many of us have traveled to the Land of Oz with Dorothy, to a tea party in Wonderland with Alice, to the Chocolate Factory with Charlie, and to Never-never land with Peter Pan. To be able to travel inside of a bookwhile visitng Japan– or wherever else this concept hotel may pop up again—is a pretty amazing idea. I know where I plan on staying if I ever travel to Japan!