Paperback Ô Hotel Bemelmans PDF/EPUB ✓

If there is such a thing as a comfort food book Bemelmans' stories are it His evocative tales of grand hotel life have a reporter's eye for sensory detail yet he always manages to bathe his world and it's lovable characters in the mood of a fairytale Meet the girl hungry hotel Magician Kalakobe the African cook Mr Sigsag Monsieur Victor Mespoulet and an unforgettable cast of down but not yet out hotel employees A feast of food writing And once you've read one Bemelmans' tale you fall in love and want to read the lot


10 thoughts on “Hotel Bemelmans

  1. says:

    I am really glad that I read this for book club I probably would not have picked it up otherwise I gave it four stars for Bemelmans' descriptive passages Here's one of my favorites descriptions of a waiter that has dreams of becoming a boxer and is very fastidious in caring for his boxer's physique He has immaculate linen fine muscles and he brings his chest out of the shower as if it were a glass case full of jewels Another one I liked was his description of a very particular restaurant guest who polished his whole place setting before he allowed his meal to be served in a very specific way today we'd probably say he had OCD To this atmosphere of Te Deum and fetish the ascetic countenance of Mr Tannenebaum was entirely appropriate It was the face of a man a few days drowned his hair the colour of ashes I think these passages are great examples of how he brings his artist's eye he wrote and illustrated the 'Madeine' children's books for example to give the reader an arresting and clear visual while succinctly capturing the essence of the subject's personality as well I think it's genius but maybe I need to get out These short life sketches are a good example of 'slice of life' writing as they really have no connecting theme other than the fact that they all occurred during the time of Bemelmans' life when he worked in a ritzy New York hotel during the 20's Besides the great character sketches there are some interesting details of life from this time that appealed to my inner history buff


  2. says:

    It was the great Anthony Bourdain's recommendation that inspired me to seek this out and read it It's a memoir from the fellow best known as the author of the Madeleine books Well a memoir of sorts but probably the non fiction tag can be applied with a pinch of salt given the outlandish yarns found in this florilegium It's a collection of sybaritic scenes and larger than life characters in the great Ritz Carlton where Bemelmans found himself after being sent to America for depending on what you believe chafing at discipline at his uncle's hotel or shooting a busboy There's a competent but noble Lothario of a magician a waiter who becomes a millionaire after his stockbroker customers give him stock tips a washer who proudly dresses himself in an ornate uniform and many other memorable employees The clientele is often than not portrayed as spoiled and snooty while the management fusses over them in hopes of big cash payouts which rarely ensue It's an amusing book in all not uproariously funny nor is it exactly a bombshell of an exposé of the hotel industry Despite the satire it's largely a tender hearted look at the hotel business a sort of love letter to the schemers the corrupt and the incompetent who keep a place like the Ritz going


  3. says:

    I love used books stores I could never describe them with the magical fairy tale whimsy of Bradbury but aside from that wonderfully addicting aroma of well worn pages that permeates used bookstores lulling you into a sort of trance it's because I find books like this that I love themHaving worked in hospitality a long time finding this book was like Christmas With an introduction by Anthony Bourdain Hotel Bemelmans is a scratch collection of the kinds of stories that are told behind the doors and in the sculleries of the service industry woven together to form a portrait of hotel high society it’s plethora of minions and the dirt that hides in the cracks You feel like a fly on the wall as Bemelman describes the oddball cast of characters that inhabit the “Hotel Splendide” in New York in the first decades of the turn of the century and while those who have never worked in the industry in some form or another might simply find these accounts mildly interesting I considered it a treasure trove of all the sights smells pitfalls and pratfalls and one of a kind hard cases found in almost every branch of the hospitality industry all described with loving affection in wonderfully descriptive detail by Bemelman“He was again in charge of the monkey house the dismal corner of the restaurant where the carpet was patched where service doors banged where draughts of cold air came down from ventilators directly overhead and cooking smells mixed with the vapours of dishwater came in warm waves from the kitchen”Like eavesdropping on a group of hotel employees as they skulk about their duties exhibiting both great pride and great disdain for their vocations and imparting the dirty secrets of the high brow society that stayed there The Splendide feels like something entirely fictional it isn’t Beginning in a small Austrian town where Bemelman grew up at his father’s brewery and exhibited a rapscallious penchant for trouble making eventually sent to the United States with a nothing but a brace of pistols to fend off Indians and a letter of introduction Hotel Bemelman reads like a nostalgic urban adventure the likes of which many of us have had some kind of experience with at some time or anotherBeautifully written descriptive prose fascinating humorous stories fly on the wall insight into a world that no one ever sees outside of the industry and characters that will stay with you long after you’ve closed the book Books like this don’t come along very often It may not be considered a classic and I’m sure that very few people outside of Bemelman fans he authored and illustrated the ‘Madeline’ series of children’s books would even know the book exists But while this book may not be everyone’s cuppa it’s well worth a read and a perfect companion for the subway ride home after work