It’s something of a coincidence that just a few days before receiving a copy of World Tour from Abrams Books, i’d sat down to watch the classic 1932 film Grand Hotel. A film that couldn’t match this book more perfectly, telling the story of the comings and goings inside this truly grand hotel. Starring Greta Garbo and Lionel Barrymore, the film closes with a revived Mr. Kringelein absent-mindedly giving instructions to the hotel staff, “Send my luggage on to The Grand Hotel in Paris!”. To which his companion-for-hire played by Joan Crawford questions, “But how do know there will be a Grand Hotel in Paris?” “Oh, there’s a Grand Hotel everywhere in the world” he replies. And so it certainly seems on looking through Gaston-Louis Vuitton’s collection of vintage hotel labels, collected on his worldwide travels in which the name Grand Hotel repeatedly appears. Ironically, the Grand Hotel of the film is in fact the Hotel Aldon in Berlin, also included among the countless examples of beautifully designed labels contained in this outstanding book.

Immediately this book tells of a labour of love; from the superb hardback presentation to the immense task of scanning in some 1000 labels, postcard reproductions, letters and scene-setting photographs. It takes you on a journey around the globe, stopping off at each hotel along the way, revealing the changes design aesthetics and approach to promotion through the years. Art Nouveau and Art Deco styling is present throughout with regal touches and hints of modernism, and it’s interesting to see where some hotels choose to promote the grandeur of their premisses (and excellent service therein) others capitalise on their iconic surroundings and the promise of good-times to come. It all tells of an indulgent lifestyle enjoyed by the privileged celebrities, artists and aristocracy of the past, with Gaston-Louis Vuitton himself working as a trunk-maker and enthusiastic collector of books, illustration, photography and design. He eventually amassed a collection of over 3000 labels, the highlights of which are reproduced with flair in this outstanding book.

As design reference its an essential buy, and as pure indulgence into these classical hotels with all their elegance and sophistication it’s irresistible and comes highly recommended.

World Tour: Vintage Hotel Labels from the Collection of Gaston-Louis Vuitton
Hardback 512 pages
16.5 x 4.8 x 24 cm