5 Literary-Themed Retreats We Don’t Want To Visit

Colin Firth’s portrayal of Regency rogue Mr. Darcy in the BBC miniseries Pride and Prejudice ruined an entire generation of women for men who don’t sport waistcoats and rakish grins. (While also single-handedly causing the Great Smelling Salts Shortage of 1995.) Nowhere is this literary-lust more palpable than in Shannon Hale’s 2007 novel Austenland, which is now on the big screen in an adaptation starring Keri Russell. The story follows 30-something protagonist Jane Hayes, who is so enamored with the idea of Darcy that she takes to a Jane Austen-themed resort to find—or finally get over—her Mister Right.

Jane’s stay is quite lovely (save for the era-appropriate underpants, that is!). But it got us thinking about other book-themed (and completely made-up) retreats we most certainly wouldn’t want to visit.

The Firehouse, based on Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
Itinerary: Train like a real fireman from Ray Bradbury’s dystopian classic. Learn all the best practices for book burning, including how to start a simple blaze with just flint, steel, and a copy of Stieg Larsson’s The Girl Who Played With Fire. Platinum package holders will receive advanced instruction in Library Arson.
Price of Admission:  Your entire book collection, boxed, and doused in gasoline.

Buffalo Bill’s Beauty Ranch, based on The Silence of the Lambs, by Thomas Harris
Itinerary: Enter this world-renowned spa and fitness center from the mind of the famed serial killer. With its patent-pending fast-and-cleanse program, you’ll leave feeling lighter and—dare we say—looser in your skin. Many satisfied customers have likened the experience to sloughing off a raggedy cocoon. Prepare to be reborn.
Price of Admission: Lotion. In a basket.

The Arena, based on The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
Itinerary: Choose your weapon and choose it wisely, because this outdoor adventure could be your last! Face down 23 of your peers in a televised battle to the death. Winner gets bragging rights, a steak dinner and an appearance on the Today show—not to mention plenty of memories!
Price of Admission: A loaf of burned bread.
(Editor’s note: Apparently this isn’t as unappealing as we thought.)

Miss Havisham’s World, based on Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens
Itinerary: A vacation designed just for you single ladies! Time practically stands still when you take up residence in this charming historic mansion, perfect for a little R&R from your unrequited love. You’ll be swathed in the finest pearlescent fabrics while left to feast on the remnants of long-forgotten wedding cake. Adoptive daughter optional.
Price of Admission: Your grip on reality.

Hell, based on The Divine Comedy, by Dante
Itinerary: This seems pretty self-explanatory, no?
Price of Admission: Your soul.

What book would you want (or really, really not want) turned into a retreat for you to visit?

  • Anon

    Mark Darcy is not from Pride and Prejudice. His first name is Fitzwilliam. I think you are confusing Mr. Darcy with Firth’s Bridget Jones’s Diary role.

    • emmachastain

      Oh boy. My excitement about this fall’s new Bridget Jones installment must have completely overtaken all editorial functions in my brain. Thanks for catching that! I swear, I’ve read P&P at least six times—you have to believe me! :)

  • Carrie

    I think I might like to visit Miss Havisham’s World, based on Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens..Always loved that book and the imagery of Miss Havisham sitting at that table..

  • Steve O’Rourke

    Hell would be interesting if, like Dante, I was just passing through… ;)

  • Hillary

    Rosemary’s neighbors’ house in “Rosemary’s Baby” by Ira Levin. Oh wait, Stepford in “The Stepford Wives.”

  • dynommoose

    Your description of Mr. Darcy as a rogue tells me that you not only never read Pride and Prejudice, but skipped every film and television adaptation.

    • Betsy

      Or doesn’t know what the word “rogue” means. “You keep using that word. But I do not think it means what you think it means.” (Inigo Montoya, Princess Bride)

      • dynommoose

        I prefer to give her the benefit of doubt on that one.

  • Hillary

    And Azkaban Prison in Harry Potter books.

  • Hillary

    I’m an amateur cake decorator and party planner. I would LOVE to see Miss Havisham’s world.

  • Teresa P

    Moreau resorts and hotels

  • TM

    I’d like to see a list of attainable literary retreats. Which ones exist?

  • Madcow

    Mrs. Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children?

  • Karen Gilbert Richardson

    The tropical island from Lord of the Flies is somewhere I would not want to visit!