By Terry Trucco
Did Herman Melville dream up the first themed boutique hotel?
Never mind that this was never his intent. But I’m rereading Moby-Dick, and it’s hard to ignore what we know about modern-day hotel design when Ishmael, roaming around New Bedford, Massachusetts looking for a bed for the night in Chapter 2, spots The Spouter Inn, “the dilapidated little wooden house” that “was the very spot for cheap lodgings.” (Our narrator had already dismissed The Crossed Harpoons and Sword-Fish Inn as “too expensive and jolly.”)
If the names aren’t enough to conjure up themed lodging, consider Melville’s description of the Spouter Inn as Ishmael wanders in.
“You found yourself in a wide, low, straggling entry with old-fashioned wainscots, reminding one of the bulwarks of some condemned old craft.”
An attention-grabbing oil painting, “thoroughly be smoked and every defaced,” depicts a fight to the death between a ship’s crew and a gigantic whale, in a hurricane no less. (more…)