10 Travel-Themed Coffee Table Books That Will Transport You Around the World
From hotels in Tanzania to the white-sand beaches of Kauai, a picturesque destination is waiting to be discovered in the pages of these books. We asked international jet-setters and tastemakers to share their favorites.
A good travel-themed coffee table book can do more than elevate the vibe of your living room. It can also provide you with a mental escape. "I love travel-related books for two reasons," says Patrick Janelle, who is also known as @guynamedpatrick. "Either because I bought one on a trip, and it's a great memento of my visit, or because it provides an exhilarating dose of travel from the comfort of my sofa. More often than not, those latter moments result in me pulling out my computer and booking flights on a whim."
Along with supplying inspiration for your next getaway, most travel-related coffee table books make beautiful table centerpieces, too. "A large coffee table book opened to a favorite page can be considered a statement piece," explains Augusta Hoffman of Augusta Hoffman Studio. "You can even change the viewable page based on the season or tone you are setting in the space."
And if you have more than one gorgeous travel coffee table book you want to show off, interior designer Tali Roth says you can easily style them in groups for a chic table display. "I group them into separate piles on my coffee table, with about three books per pile," she says. "Then I scatter vases, sculptures, and other accessories either on top of the books or on their own for a layered look."
Looking for some travel coffee table books to dress up your space (and your daydreams)? We asked a handful of seasoned jet-setters and tastemakers to share their favorites, and here's what they recommend for your reading list.
The Monocle Guide to Hotels, Inns, and Hideaways
Searching for a travel coffee table book that provides behind-the-scenes insights and images about the best places to stay around the world? Janelle recommends The Monocle Guide to Hotels, Inns, and Hideaways. "I love Monocle's recommendations for hotels large and small, from legendary standbys to off-the-beaten-path getaways," he says. "I've used the book to find hotels for my own stays in countries as distant as Brazil and Tanzania."
Shop Now: The Monocle Guide to Hotels, Inns, and Hideaways, $50, monocle.com.
Yves Saint-Laurent: A Moroccan Passion
Fashion lovers rejoice: Travel writer and creative consultant Natasha Nyanin says Yves Saint-Laurent: A Moroccan Passion by Pierre Berge is the travel coffee table book for you. "As far as travel-related coffee table books go, I am not sure it can get more intimate than this retelling of the passion Saint-Laurent and his then-partner in life and business, Pierre Berge found under the Moroccan sun," she says. "It is a book any fashion historian enamored with travel would appreciate."
Shop Now: Yves Saint-Laurent: A Moroccan Passion, $28, amazon.com.
The Last Stop: Vanishing Rest Stops of the American Roadside
If you're a fan of long drives and road trips, interior designer Becky Shea suggests employing a copy of The Last Stop: Vanishing Rest Stops of the American Roadside on your coffee table. "This book is fascinating because it encapsulates road stops, something we can all relate to but don't see often because of advances in travel," she says. "It's also really cool to see how architecture has influenced even the smallest locations."
Shop Now: The Last Stop: Vanishing Rest Stops of the American Roadside, $25, amazon.com.
A Place in the Sun
If you aren't already hip to the dreamy photography of Slim Aarons, then now's the time to smarten up. Known for his keen eye for environmental portraits, A Place in the Sun features 250 full-color photographs of socialites across the globe in their favorite destinations, including Truman Capote in Palm Springs and the Aga Khan at his Sardinian resort. "Nothing beats the infectious spirit of Slim Aarons," Hoffman says. "This book of beautiful destinations acts as the ultimate bucket list."
Shop Now: A Place in the Sun, $60.57, amazon.com.
The Bucket List: Places to Find Peace and Quiet
The only thing better than a beautiful travel coffee table book is one that's calming, too. "The Bucket List: Places to Find Peace and Quiet by Victoria Ward is a brilliant collection of some of the world's best meditation retreats as well as hard-to-find wilderness hangouts," explains Nina Magon of Contour Interior Design. "Whether you're traveling to find yourself or get lost in an adventure, this book has the next places you'll want to add to your getaway list!"
Shop Now: The Bucket List: Places to Find Peace and Quiet, $17.59, target.com.
Private Gardens of the Hudson Valley
Few things are more delightful than a photo of a gorgeous garden, which is why interior designer Meagan Camp says Private Gardens of the Hudson Valley is one of her favorite coffee table books. "If I could travel anywhere right now, it would be to one of the lush, and romantic gardens along New York State's Hudson River," she says. "This book showcases fields bursting with wildflowers to more formal, manicured spaces to long open valleys."
Shop Now: Private Gardens of the Hudson Valley, $66.85, amazon.com.
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Prefer your travel coffee table books with a little imagination? Nyanin says The Grand Budapest Hotel by Matt Zoller Seitz is every bit as beautiful as it is transportive. "As a lover of hotels and one who would gladly take up residence in Wes Anderson's brain, I thoroughly enjoy the voyeuristic deep drive into the director's process, costume design, production stills, behind the scenes stories and so and so forth afforded by the book," she says. "Sure, the Grand Budapest Hotel is a fictional place but why limit travel only to the physical plane?"
Shop Now: The Grand Budapest Hotel, $23.49, amazon.com.
African Twilight: The Vanishing Rituals and Ceremonies of the African Continent
If you like travel coffee table books that can teach you something new about an interesting culture, then Caroline Rafferty highly recommends African Twilight: The Vanishing Rituals and Ceremonies of the African Continent. "The photography is stunning and documents disappearing rituals and ceremonies from remote communities on the African continent," she says.
Shop Now: African Twilight: The Vanishing Rituals and Ceremonies of the African Continent, $150, rizzolibookstore.com.
Whether you're an avid surfer or simply craving a sunny getaway, Beaches by Gray Malin is the coffee table book for you. Filled with 125 aerial photographs of beaches around the world, Linda Sullivan of Sullivan Design Studio says the beautiful colors and photos of this book will "automatically transport you."
Shop Now: Beaches, $40, shopbop.com.
Villas and Gardens of the Renaissance
No travel book collection would be complete without a good coffee table book about Italy, and interior designer Kendall Wilkinson says Villas and Gardens of the Renaissance by Lucia Impelluso is hard to beat. "I have a deep passion for Renaissance architecture, art, and design," she says. "The imagery in this book pulls you in and takes you on a journey. Add a glass of Italian red, close your eyes, and imagine walking through one of these tantalizing gardens and magnificent villas."
Shop Now: Villas and Gardens of the Renaissance, $50, amazon.com.