Four Slept in the Cuckoo’s Nest

July 25, 2012

The Sylvia Beach Hotel may have been founded on the lofty spines of great literature, but the cool Newport bed and breakfast has always also presented a solid sense of humor. The literary-themed hotel, this year celebrating its 25th anniversary, boasts 20 rooms named for authors and decorated in theme. While one may not become silly with the giggles over Hemingway’s hunting photos and (empty) bottles of gin, it’s pretty hard to walk into the overly goofy and colorful Dr. Seuss room without smiling, especially at the goldfish swimming merrily in the toilet tank.


That sense of humor shows up with a solid tongue in cheek in the hotel’s newest room, named The Cuckoo’s Nest. Get the reference? It’s the Kesey room, of course, named for the famous book “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” written by legendary Oregon author Ken Kesey. The entire room, located on the fourth floor, is outfitted to resemble the state mental hospital in which the “Cuckoo’s Nest” narrative unfolds. Anyone who saw the 1975 film starring Jack Nicholson will immediately get the references flung about the room.

Hotel owner Gudrun Cable explains, “The room suggests a fun theme and I had a great time stamping ‘property of state mental hospital’ on everything.” Cable came up with the idea after the local library presented “Cuckoo’s Nest” in the program Newport Reads. “I read the book as did some of our staff and found it still fabulous after all these years. And of course we wanted to honor one of Oregon’s best authors—and an author who had stayed at the hotel!”

The Cuckoo’s Nest is unique compared to other Sylvia Beach Hotel rooms, most of which come with one queen or king-sized bed, in that it sleeps four, in four single beds. “We wanted a good room for four people, four friends, college buddies, a family with older kids, etc.”

Just make certain ahead of time that your fellow roomies won’t mind sleeping in the mental hospital. “There are jelly beans by your bed in a little pill cup, and medical charts for guests books,” says Cable. “A good table with four chairs sits in the center of the room for a game of cards or Monopoly (please don’t eat the hotels!). The decor is fun but a little on the institutional side,” Gudrun admits.

At $160 for four including a big breakfast, use of the hotel’s outstanding library with great views of the ocean, and the company of other literary-minded, lighthearted souls, the Cuckoo’s Nest turns out to be a brilliant idea and a whole lot of fun.

The best part of all is, unlike the actual residents of the “Cuckoo’s Nest” state mental hospital, you can check out in the morning.

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About The

Kim Cooper Findling
Kim Cooper Findling grew up on the Oregon Coast and became a Central Oregon girl in the mid-90s, taking in the sunny skies and never looking back (except a few wistful glances at the ocean). She is the managing editor of "Bend Magazine" and the author of “Bend, Oregon Daycations: Day Trips for Curious Travelers,” "Day Trips From Portland: Getaway Ideas for the Local Traveler” and “Chance of Sun: An Oregon Memoir.” Catch her around the state sampling microbrews, hiking river trails, walking beaches, and hanging out with her family.