.[To the Editor of the SrEersTon.] •
SIR,—After reading in the Spectator for December 19th an article by Sir Henry Dixon Kimber headed " British Hotels of To-day," in which he refers to me, I haVe to confess that my. head, though bloody, is unbowed. I hope that " Scadavay's " head is also safely where it was, though doubtless he- too has read and marked the article referred to, and noted the abuse that the writer of it pours upon us, with a plentiful besprinkling of commas in unexpected places.
That person " Traveller," who has made himself so ridiculous, and who actually asks comma where certain hotels are to be found, made the enquiry in all good faith, desiring to go and stay in one of these. I had read in an earlier issue of the Spectator that a correspondent praised various small country hotels because they were now equipping themselves with central heating, hot and cold 'water in all the rooms, baths and other amenities. The reason why I emphasised that word now was that it seemed odd that these hotels should only to-day be providing their guests with baths.
I am surprised to read that a letter printed on the same day as mine gave use " the lie direct." I differed from the writer of it, commended by Sir Henry for giving her name and address, on a matter of opinion—one might as well say that I gave her the lie direct, a thing I should not dream of doing.
I not only appear to object to" gasI do object to it, but that is only a matter of personal taste; Yesterday a friend said to one that in an hotel in which she had recently stayed in England' she had used the gas fire -in her bedroom very seldom,'but had had to insert many shillings into the meter. In my letter I did- not state-that British hotels arc bad ; I said that there is a widespread impression among Continental tourists that the hotels in Britain arc not equal to those in their own countries.
I can assure him, after years of travelling, that this impression exists. Instead of " fouling my own nest," I have told these same tourists that, on the contrary, there are many excellent hotels to be found in Britain, just as I have endeavoured to correct their belief - that my country is shrouded permanently in a blanket of dense and impenetrable fog. I could not, unfortunately, at the same time tell them that they would find in the ordinary British hotel the comforts that are general in hotels of the same class on the Continent. What your correspondent calls my outburst may possibly refer, as he says, to unrepresentative hotels. What is a representative hotel ?
I have lately been travelling in remote villages in the Belgian Ardennes, and in every hamlet in which I stayed there was at least one hotel, if tourists went there and were catered for,- where in addition to cleanliness and good food one found hot and cold running water in the bedrooms, and, if the hotel were open in winter, central heating also. Not contemplating keeping an hotel, I did not enquire what the • cost of putting in these installations had been, so cannot give Sir-Henry the information he desired on this point. 'llhe charges -in these foreign hotels were most moderate.--.