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Top 5 literary locations

Art and travel have always had a special relationship, with one influencing the other for centuries. And now luxury travellers can truly ‘lose’ themselves in their favourite novel, film or play during their time away. Peter Jackson’s blockbuster The Hobbit focused the world’s eyes on New Zealand as a key destination and, consequently lit the touchpaper for the set-jetting trend. With the Cannes Film Festival having recently taken place and the 27th annual Hay Festival underway in Hay-on-Wye, on the edge of the Brecon Beacons National Park, here is our choice of some of the most inspiring literary locations and where to stay when you are there.

The Luminaries, Eleanor Catton – South Island, New Zealand

Catton’s epic novel about the New Zealand goldrush is set on the South Island’s west coast. Winner of the Man Booker prize, the author depicts a wondrous 19th Century New Zealand with its rivers of gold shrouded in mystical mists. In the present day, a trip to this land of wild natural beauty offers the contrasts of two islands and one inspirational experience. A ‘Highlights of New Zealand Tour’ captures the best of this awe-inspiring country. I would highly recommend chartering a private helicopter for a flight over Milford Sound before landing at a remote mountain setting for a Champagne picnic; a truly exceptional way to experience the exceptional vistas of this beguiling country.

South Island, New Zealand

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Romeo & Juliet, William Shakespeare – Verona, Italy

A 15th Century palazzo a few steps from the famous balcony, Palazzo Victoria is a boutique hotel that offers a modern take on the romance of Renaissance living. Jacuzzis, hammams, flat screen televisions and mood lighting have been cleverly integrated to complement original frescoed ceilings, Veronese marble and traditional parquet floors. Dating back to the era of Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet, it is easy to imagine secret trysts and dawn duels taking place here when you gaze out over the old town from the balcony of the Victoria Suite.

Verona, Italy

Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert – Bali

Life imitates art at COMO Shambhala Estate; a collection of contemporary styled suites and villas encircled by rainforest in the Balinese spiritual centre of Ubud. The wellness programmes at this award-winning spa retreat promise a similar sense of enlightenment to that experienced by Julia Roberts’ character in ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ during her sojourn here in Bali. Marrying cultural discoveries with an exercise regimen; guests can join an outdoor jungle gym class, explore the paddy fields by bicycle, glide past sparkling waterfalls river rafting or simply unwind in the vitality pool.


The Goldfinch, Donna Tartt – New York

2014’s Pulitzer Prize for Fiction was awarded to Donna Tartt for her latest novel which centres on Dutch painter Fabritius’ masterpiece of the same name. The narrative focuses around a tale of loss and obsession triggered by a tragic event at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art – the city acting as the setting for the suspense sustained throughout the novel. New to the Carrier portfolio this year, a stay at the sophisticated and quirky The Quin hotel in Midtown Manhattan – once home to artists Georgia O’Keeffe and Marc Chagall – will fully immerse you in New York’s rich cultural legacy. I suggest attending the hotel’s successful ongoing exhibition series and meeting one of the artists in residence that have taken much inspiration from the spirited landscape of the city.

New York

The Island, Victoria Hislop – Elounda, Crete

An intimate, family-owned and run boutique villa hotel of ten individual suites and 18 luxurious pool villas that enjoys sweeping sea views, Elounda Gulf Villas & Suites is an exclusive retreat on Crete’s unspoilt coastline. Boasting a spa and two à la carte award-winning restaurants, the hotel is situated in a traditional fishing village – immortalised by the novel, ‘The Island’, by Victoria Hislop. A short ferry ride from the tiny harbour of Plaka takes you to the former leper island of Spinalonga, crowned by its imposing Venetian fortress, where much of the drama of the novel takes place.


Images: Shutterstock

Maxine Roberts is Head of Marketing at Carrier.

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  1. This is a good list of artistic destinations. Prague would also be a good addition, with writers like Franz Kafka, Milan Kundera and, of course, former president Vaclav Havel hailing from here. Many films were shot here, too, like Milos Forman’s “Amadeus” and Barbara Streisand’s “Yentl” (and many more!).

  2. Yes, great selection. I’ve been to 3 of the 5.

    I’d also like to give a shout out for my neck of the words – the English Lake District. It is a landscape that has inspired many an author, poet and artist, including the likes of William Wordsworth and Beatrix Potter (some of you may have seen the Hollywood film ‘Miss. Potter’).

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