Back to Insanity

Having been out of the country for 10 days enjoying the warmth, atmosphere and beauty of Verona, its Roman Arena and the fantastic opera season (in a week we saw Barber of Seville, Nabucco, Traviata and Aida), we’ve come back to reality with a bump – from 35 deg C and the beauty of Lake Garda to about 20 deg C, cloud and rain – although admittedly the attractions of Cheltenham and the Cotswolds haven’t abated too much. Our golden retriever Sophie has however an attack of ‘the hump’ having been ‘abandoned’ for this period, although she has had a wonderful time without us, Diane. our locum manager (also an owner and lover of dogs) taking her home to Burford to frolic regularly with her own.  Having settled back into the routine, we were surprised by one of the messages left by potential guests, who wanted to come and stay on the strength of the recommendation in ‘the Telegraph’.  What recommendation?  We Googled, and found an item in the electronic version of The Telegraph dated 4 July (the day we went to Verona) headed ‘Nathaniel Parker’s Cheltenham’ in which the star of e.g. ‘Injustice’ and the ‘Inspector Linley’ series noted a series of things he particularly liked about the town. Although he stays in Cowley Manor because of their spa and affinity for dogs and children, in the accompanying ‘Cheltenham Essentials’ section we were the only B&B listed, and in the company of the ‘new’ Montpellier Chapter Hotel (formerly the lovely, slightly ‘stressed’ Kandinsky Hotel). As an aside, we stayed in Kandinsky (about 300 metres away), a Grade 1 Star listed building on our wedding night 8 years ago – before we’d even dreamt of moving to Cheltenham – and subsequently frequently used its bar or lounge before it was bought out by Swire group from Hong Kong and significantly modernised. Our final connection was that we hosted the very charming Dick Tong, a Hong Kong Chinese project manager brought over to supervise the final stages of the renovation for about 3 months, who quickly became a member of the family. While the publicity was being prepared for the opening, Dick borrowed Veronica’s old fashioned bicycle, complete with front basket, to appear in photographs of the entrance. Then just before the Chapter re-opened, with other selected guests, we were invited to try out the new staff and system and provide a detailed critique.  To be honest, although we enjoyed the experience, the excellent dinner and more recently the coffee lounge/conservatory and books, the hotel is not for us as it is designed for the electronically aligned business community. There is no reception desk, but a girl armed with a laptop to greet, followed by an entirely paperless (except for the library books) experience. The bedroom is ‘run’ by an iPod which provides all relevant guest information, menus, music and TV controls. Anyone who doesn’t use or understand an iPod (perhaps 50% of the population – certainly a large proportion of the older population) is on a hiding to nothing. Hanover House is the total antithesis – very manual (Veronica is a technophobe, although funnily she does love her classic music on her iPod when away from home) and full of paper, books and a very lived-in, old-fashioned feel. History almost seeps through the walls…

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.