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Hotel Bemelmans
About the book
  • Published: 2 December 2002
  • ISBN: 9780091887872
  • Imprint: Ebury Press
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 320
  • RRP: $27.99

Hotel Bemelmans

Formats & editions

Humorous and generous tales of kitchen life behind the scenes at the Ritz in 1920s and 30s New York

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 fairy tale. 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.

  • Pub date: 2 December 2002
  • ISBN: 9780091887872
  • Imprint: Ebury Press
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 320
  • RRP: $27.99

About the Author

Ludwig Bemelmans

Ludwig Bemelmans (1898-1962) wrote and illustrated over 40 books including the world famous Madeline children's books. Born in the Austrian Tyrol, he was sent to America at the age of 16 after he shot a head-waiter at his uncle's hotel. He arrived in New York sporting pistols to fend off Native Americans. A legendary traveller and bon vivant, he asked to have 'Tell Them It Was Wonderful' carved on his gravestone.

Also by Ludwig Bemelmans

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Praise for Hotel Bemelmans

“A complete original”

Saturday Review

“An artist in both line and words ... with talents of gold”


“Very entertaining ... an excellent story-teller”

Sunday Times

“One reads Bemelmans not as one reads a serious novelist but for the sheer momentary pleasure given by his evocation of atmosphere and mood”


“A note of expensive cosmopolitan is brilliantly sustained. There are stories here that could hardly be done better”

New Statesman

“The singularity of Bemelmans, whether he draws or writes, is his double capacity to see freshly like a child and comment shrewdly like a grown up. The product is an awry wisdom, the wisdom of a reflective innocent who is surprised at nothing and delighted with everything”

Clifton Fadiman

“Mr Bemelmans is always pricking bubbles, discreetly, appreciatively, out of a sense of duty rather than a desire to shock, and the process is delightful”

The Times

“The adventures of the original bad boy of the New York restaurant/ hotel underbelly continue. Whether writing about the backstairs misadventures of cooks and waiters or travel to faraway lands, Bemelmans is always funny, insightful and dead on target. No one has ever surpassed the master.”

Anthony Bourdain

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