12 DECEMBER 1987, Page 49


Theme hotel


IN Competition No. 1501 you were asked for an extract from the brochure of a hotel 'with an unusual theme as its attrac- tion'.

. The oddest hotel I know (I have stayed In it twice, 50 years separating the occa- sions) refused to serve alcohol but had no objection, or perhaps no power to object, to guests consuming it. It was populated naturally by serious drinkers, each of whom had a locked cupboard in the lounge with a name tag, from which, when six o'clock struck, or the sun and the yardarm were properly related, they pulled out their bottles and glasses and got stuck in — and all at retail price. The Me Hotel, I'd call it. Your unusual hotels were less enjoyable to contemplate — the Day Roost, a home from home for night owls; Defaulters' Towers, a corrective hotel for Army mis- fits; Dunteachin Hall, converted into a facsimile school to attract superannuated teachers; Exe Manor, exclusively for pub- lic servants who have been forced to resign; the Hereafter, run by Mrs R. U. There, the celebrated spiritualist hotelier, for guests who have not yet made that final Journey; the Eccentric, where you are allowed to pay your bill in farthings; La Nausee, London's only Existentialist hotel; the Grand Dwarf Hotel; the Public School Hotel; the Hotel for those who Hate Hotels. . . . Only the Arcadia beckoned to me — 'the only child-free hotel in Europe'. Why doesn't someone try it?

The winners printed below take £15 each, and the bonus battle of Champagne Palmer Vintage 1979, presented by Marie- Pierre Palmer-Becret, is awarded to John O'Byrne.

Are you a loner? Tired of the teeming masses and their hideous babble? We know the feeling. You want to get away from it all without being forced to share your holiday with strangers. The Solitaire Hotel is the place for you. We guaran- tee total isolation from the time you arrive to the moment you depart. No organised sightseeing, bucket-and-spade outings, tea-dances, congas, communal meals, public bars or honeymoon couples.

We are located in a preserved lighthouse off the coast of Donegal. Our discreet staff may not exist for all you see of them. A trained sheep- dog checks you in (no inquisitive receptionist) and brings your baggage to the room (no obsequious porter). Telephones, televisions, tabloids and timepieces are banned. Rates negotiable. Credit cards not accepted.

(John O'Byrne) Here at the Hades Court Hotel the agoraphobia sufferer can enjoy for the first time the comforts of a fine hotel. Formerly Throckleton Deep Main, a National Coal Board property, it has been sensitively converted into the only five-star hotel which is entirely underground.

You will be collected from your home by one of our fleet of luxuriously refitted Black Marias. After that, the hotel's facilities are yours. You may care to explore the many charming galleries or 'seams'. Or you can relax in the Persephone Room or have a late-night drink in Pokey's.

Ramblers especially will enjoy the unique experience of a five-mile walk without risk of meeting anyone or seeing the sky. Our nine-hole golf course is a godsend to agoraphobic golfers. The international cuisine is based on mushrooms from our own kitchen garden. Central heating and lifts throughout. (Noel Petty) Are yo a DIY fanatic? Do conventional holidays frustrate you? Do you yearn for a real busman's break? If the answer is Yes, then look no further than a Build-It-Yourself holiday at the Handy- man Hall Hotel. On your arrival you will be shown to your room: four walls, ceiling, floor nothing else! What will you tackle first? Wiring? Plumbing? En suite bathroom? Or perhaps you are a creature of comfort and will give priority to making a nice cosy bed! No need to worry about set meal times — you can eat whenever you wish. Our restaurant is open 24 hours a day, as is our very own DIY superstore. We admit this is not a cheap holiday but remember — we take responsibility for putting the room back as you found it!

(A.D. Gibbons)

How often have you sighed, as you put down a novel by your favourite author, 'I wish life were really like that '?

Well, it can be! Here at the Cartland Hotel we've made your dreams come true.

You're a heroine from the moment the gilded doors are flung open for you by satin-coated footmen. Pampered and petted, your wish is our command, whether it's Royal Jelly for break- fast, or pink champagne to tone with the flatteringly soft lighting in the Fruits of Love Restaurant.

Nor does Romance stop at the bedroom door . . . . Within each sensuously silken suite you will find a complete collection of books by the Queen of Romance. Four hundred chaste and innocent volumes! Sink voluptuously into scented pillows with the sin-free story of your choice.

Long after everyone else has given up we're keeping dreams alive — Romantically, for you — at the Cartland.

(D. A. Prince)

The North Face is the hotel for mountaineering and rock-climbing enthusiasts. All equipment is lent free of charge when you climb aboard! The entrance is on the top floor. Make your way up the outside of the building with its challenging overhanging balconies and ingenious crevices. Plenty of pitons and handholds. Graded routes to cater for beginners, experienced and profes- sional climbers. Once checked in, you can abseil two hundred feet down to the 'Base-Camp' dining-room or traverse four-inch beams to your bedroom. The adventurous can bivouac on narrow ledges outside the twentieth floor. Breakfast will be lowered to you by rope; tin mug, camping-gas stove and can-opener pro- vided. The communal shower is a special fea- ture: a waterfall! Yes, cling to the simulated rockface and enjoy the 2000-gallon-per-minute wash of all time!

(Jeremy Carlisle)