At London hotel, room service brings bedtime stories

Ever craved to have a bedtime story read to you in the comfort of your hotel room?

For two weeks starting Monday, Hyatt's new Andaz Liverpool Street in London will host the hotel world's first "Reader in Residence."

Writer Damian Barr, 31, will read to guests or talk literature with them. "Most people haven't been read to since they were children, and they don't bring a lot of books to hotels," he says. "I always pack a selection, because you get tired of being in the CNN world."

Andaz is a cheeky, cutting-edge hotel chain, but the idea came from Barr, a freelance journalist and former resident writer at London's Royal College of Art. The service is free, and no books are off-limits — even racy ones.

He won't serve as a "literary callboy," he says.

"If somebody was perhaps responding to the reading in a way that was inappropriate, I would try to stay in the safe confines of my armchair," he says. "And hotel security is always on standby."

Barr is so excited by the prospect of his new job that he plans to remain available by phone to hotel guests after his stay for "bibliotherapy." Many people are "intimidated" by choosing books, by what they think they "should" be reading, he says.

Just enjoy, he says. "I always take three to four books (to a hotel)" -- from trash to profound works, "because I don't know what mood I'll be in."

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