Not only one; hundreds of them. Hotels are repositories of a good number of books that clients left behind when they check out from their rooms. Is this a way devised by the creative genius to propagate from one person to another? Maybe so. The truth is that forgotten books become part of a hotel’s story, being available to new hosts. At Vincci Hotels, we have been receptors, sometimes voluntarily, sometimes by chance, of that lost, abandoned or donated literature.
We have lovingly kept those books and tried to give them new purpose and new readers. ‘We usually find two or three forgotten books at the hotel every month’ –we are told by the Vincci Capitol hotel staff. ‘They are of varied content: novels, books about wine, art or decoration’. Usually, the books are kept logged in the Lost and Found department for six months, in case someone claims them. ‘After that time, we find them a place in our library, becoming available to all our clients’, comments the hotel Vincci Selección La Plantación del Sur, in Tenerife, hotel staff.
Some books have interesting stories behind them. The Vincci Palace Valencia hotel staff says remember one occasion when ‘during a blind date, a client told us that, when a girl arrived with a copy of ‘Caffè al veleno a Piccadilly’ in her hands, we should tell her to meet him at our cafeteria. The book was left behind in one coach and we never saw the couple again’. Or that other time, at the Beach Club Estrella del Mar in Marbella: ‘one client was enjoying her tea before having a Swedish massage. She forgot her book over the table and, when she returned, the book was no longer there. At the end of the day, the receptionist found the book exactly where its owner left it. Other guest must have borrowed it’.
Sometimes, books find their own way around. Sometimes, we give them a little push in order to achieve that. Surely, you must have heard of the BookCrossing initiative, inviting to leave books behind at public venues in order to find new readers. That’s what happened at the Soho Madrid Vincci hotel. The hotel housekeeper tells us about it: ‘The waitress, Dana, brought a book she had found in a room, and we saw it contained a label that read “liberated book”, stating that it had previously been found at the Obradoiro Plaza, in Santiago de Compostela, and urging us to liberate it again after reading it. The book was ‘The Constant Gardener’, by John Le Carré. We left the book in one of our suites, in order to follow the chain’.
The majority of the books we have found are written in English, German and Italian, and are very varied in their content. ‘Most of them are love stories, but we also find a lot of crime and mystery novels’, says the Vincci Posada del Pation Hotel staff, in Malaga. At the Vincci Marítimo hotel in Barcelona, the staff has already found almost 40 books left behind in rooms and common areas. Some of the most notorious titles are: ‘Rachel’s Holliday’ by Marian Keyes, ‘Sinuhe the Egyptian’ by Mika Waltapi and ‘The Master Of All Desires’ by Judith Merkle Riley.
At the Vincci Lys hotel in Valencia there are over 50 orphaned books, including ‘Maggie’s Tree’ by Julie Walters, ‘Micro’ by Michael Crichton and ‘Il dio ignoto’ by Giorgio Napolitano.
But not every book that has been left behind by our guests have been forgotten. As the Buenavista Golf&Spa hotel Tenerife staff points out, ‘some of them are gifts our clients purposefully leave behind for other guests to enjoy. That was the case with a client that, without even knowing, signaled where we should build our library. While she stayed with us, she talked to the hotel director and commented that it was a wonderful hotel for readers, due to its calm and quietness, and bowed to return every year and enjoy reading a book by the hearth. And that’s where we built our library’.