At the Langham Hotel in London, three of the world’s most powerful literary figures met for an intimate dinner in summer 1889. At the Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh in room 552, JK Rowling typed the words, ‘All was well.’ Cosseted in his suite at Brown’s Hotel, Rudyard Kipling is staring out of the window before scribbling the words “To each his own fear” creating characters we meet as children and remember as adults.
Follow us and get in touch with your own creative genius as we take a look at some of the hotels that inspired the stories that we have grown up with.
Brown’s Hotel – Rudyard Kipling
A hotel with an extraordinary history, Brown’s has been the setting for many literary landmark moments. On one memorable morning in 1907, Mark Twain scandalised the British press by appearing in the hotel’s lobby in his dressing gown (“’Scuse my pyjamas”), while the hotel was also popular with Queen Victoria and even inspired Agatha Christie’s 1965 thriller, At Betram’s Hotel.
But perhaps the hotel’s biggest claim to fame is the fact that author Rudyard Kipling penned The Jungle Book there. The book became an instant success having ignited the nation’s imagination with tales of the exotic Indian jungle. Rudyard was already a well-known author but became a huge celebrity after the success of The Jungle Book.
Not surprisingly the hotel named a suite after him, The Kipling Suite, which features floor-to-ceiling windows, wooden floors and a large living room. The spacious sitting room is perfect for entertaining guests and boasts design touches reminiscent of the jungle.
The Balmoral Hotel – J.K. Rowling
J.K. Rowling says she had always known the last line of the Harry Potter series would be “All was well.” In January 2007 she finally typed those words whilst ensconced in the beautiful Balmoral Hotel in the heart of Edinburgh.
In an interview with Oprah in 2010 – also at The Balmoral – JK Rowling explained how the chaos of children, dogs and window cleaners at her own house led her to The Balmoral Hotel for some peace and quiet. After the first day of writing went so well she continued to return and the rest is history.
Most of the rooms at The Balmoral are named after Scottish castles and rivers and feature Sean Connery as James Bond prints. However, room 552 has since been renamed the JK Rowling Suite and features a bust of Hermes signed by the author. Sometimes seeking out peace and quiet is all you need to be inspired and The Balmoral certainly offers all you need to relax.
The Langham – Arthur Conan Doyle
On a warm summer’s night in August 1889, Arthur Conan Doyle, Oscar Wilde and Joseph Marshall Studdart, editor of Lipcott’s magazine, met for dinner to discuss both Wilde and Conan Doyle contributing serialised stories for the magazine.
Conan Doyle later described it as “a golden evening for me”. Wilde’s resulting contribution was The Picture of Dorian Gray whilst Conan Doyle agreed to write The Sign of Four and thus the Sherlock Holmes series was born.
That same restaurant, now named Roux at the Landau retains all its Victorian splendor with beautiful bay windows, high ceilings, gilted fittings and incredible food served up by father and son team Albert and Michael Roux.
Dukes – Ian Fleming
Standing at the bar of Dukes Hotel, staring down into his Martini, Fleming might have thought to himself “it always tastes better when it’s shaken.” Calling the barman over, perhaps Fleming ordered another drink; “a Martini please, shaken not stirred”. This is at least how we imagine the momentous moment went, when Ian Fleming coined the catchphrase of his suave spy, James Bond.
Dukes Bar is said to serve the best Martinis in the world and has even created its own concoction now known as the Fleming 89. If Martinis don’t float your boat then there’s also a Champagne Lounge where you can sip on a flute of bubbly amongst plush surroundings, or even wonder out to the Cognac and Cigar Garden to relax.
The Grand – Agatha Christie
On Christmas Eve in 1914 Agatha Miller married Archie Christie – a wartime soldier home on leave – who had proposed just six months before. They married in Bristol, with just one friend as a witness and wearing their day clothes. Archie then rang The Grand hotel in Torquay and the couple boarded a crowded train to spend their Honeymoon night at the hotel – Miss Miller – now Mrs Christie – was soon to be one of the most successful female authors of the twentieth century.
The hotel still stands in all its grandeur along the English Riviera on the Devonshire coastline. Featuring incredible Victorian architecture, high ceilings, large sea-view rooms, plus an indoor and outdoor pool, The Grand is perfect for a weekend getaway to explore the area that inspired so many of Agatha Christie’s thrillers.
Look out for the annual Agatha Christie Festival held between the 14-18 of September.
Been inspired to put pen to paper in a hotel? Let us know your favorite hotels in the comments below!