Vancouver Island: Literary Landings

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Every island traveler knows the feeling - that urge to pick up a pen and spout the poetry that your surroundings inspire. Perhaps that's why some of the world's favorite authors have had favorite island retreats. Take note: Robert Louis Stevenson wasn't the only writer who found treasure in the islands.

For Rudyard Kipling, who penned The Jungle Book, solace was to be found on Vancouver Island, Canada, at the Fairmont Empress hotel in Victoria. "To realize Victoria," he said once, "you must take all that the eye admires most in Bournemouth, Torquay, the Isle of Wight, the Happy Valley of Hong Kong, the Doon, Sorrento, and Camps Bay; add reminisces of the Thousand Islands, and arrange the whole round the Bay of Naples, with some of the Himalayas in the background." The eclectic spirit he admired is ever-so-present at the Fairmont Empress, where he stayed from 1911 to 1912.

This year marks the hotel's centennial anniversary, offering the perfect opportunity to celebrate this literary landmark's history. Step into its Edwardian-style lobby (think rich, hardwood floors, gauzy lace drapes and wicker furniture), and you'll feel transported to the days when Kipling toured the halls. In the Bengal Lounge, sip wine produced in nearby Cowichan Valley and munch on the curry buffet. As childhood memories of Mowgli and Baloo come flooding back, just try to resist your inner writer's itch. Rates start at about $143. fairmont.com/empress

More Authors' Delights:

  • Sit on the veranda at the Fairmont Princess Hotel on Bermuda and smoke a cigar for Mark Twain, who frequently did just that in the late 19th century. Rates start at $269. princessbermuda.com

  • On Catalina Island, stay at the Zane Grey Pueblo Hotel, the cliff-side resort the author called home when he wasn't penning American Western Classics. Rates start at $65. zanegreypueblohotel.com