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Rooms with a View: The Secret Life of Grand Hotels

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Salvador Dalí once asked room service at Le Meurice in Paris to send him up a flock of sheep. When they were brought to his room he pulled out a gun and fired blanks at them. George Bernard Shaw tried to learn the tango at Reid’s Palace in Madeira, and the details of India’s independence were worked out in the ballroom of the Imperial Hotel, Delhi. The world’s grandest hot Salvador Dalí once asked room service at Le Meurice in Paris to send him up a flock of sheep. When they were brought to his room he pulled out a gun and fired blanks at them. George Bernard Shaw tried to learn the tango at Reid’s Palace in Madeira, and the details of India’s independence were worked out in the ballroom of the Imperial Hotel, Delhi. The world’s grandest hotels have provided glamorous backgrounds for some of the most momentous – and most bizarre – events in history. Adrian Mourby is a distinguished hotel historian and travel journalist – and a lover of great hotels. Here he tells the stories of 50 of the world’s most magnificent, among them the Adlon in Berlin, the Hotel de Russie in Rome, the Continental in Saigon, Raffles in Singapore, the Dorchester in London, Pera Palace in Istanbul and New York’s Plaza, as well as some lesser known grand hotels like the Bristol in Warsaw, the Londra Palace in Venice and the Midland in Morecambe Bay. All human life is to be found in a great hotel, only in a more entertaining form.


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Salvador Dalí once asked room service at Le Meurice in Paris to send him up a flock of sheep. When they were brought to his room he pulled out a gun and fired blanks at them. George Bernard Shaw tried to learn the tango at Reid’s Palace in Madeira, and the details of India’s independence were worked out in the ballroom of the Imperial Hotel, Delhi. The world’s grandest hot Salvador Dalí once asked room service at Le Meurice in Paris to send him up a flock of sheep. When they were brought to his room he pulled out a gun and fired blanks at them. George Bernard Shaw tried to learn the tango at Reid’s Palace in Madeira, and the details of India’s independence were worked out in the ballroom of the Imperial Hotel, Delhi. The world’s grandest hotels have provided glamorous backgrounds for some of the most momentous – and most bizarre – events in history. Adrian Mourby is a distinguished hotel historian and travel journalist – and a lover of great hotels. Here he tells the stories of 50 of the world’s most magnificent, among them the Adlon in Berlin, the Hotel de Russie in Rome, the Continental in Saigon, Raffles in Singapore, the Dorchester in London, Pera Palace in Istanbul and New York’s Plaza, as well as some lesser known grand hotels like the Bristol in Warsaw, the Londra Palace in Venice and the Midland in Morecambe Bay. All human life is to be found in a great hotel, only in a more entertaining form.

40 review for Rooms with a View: The Secret Life of Grand Hotels

  1. 5 out of 5

    Saturday's Child

    While I have never stayed in them I am interested in grand (iconic) hotels and their history. If I ever won Tattslotto my plan is to travel the world and stay in some. Adrian Mourby has been fortunate enough to do this so and I found his accounts of many of them an interesting read.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Sevelyn

    This elegantly produced and nicely written book is about as perfect a book as you’ll come across. Crisp and accessible, it is an interesting way to approach history: through the doors of the world’s grandest and most storied hotels. Seriously researched, it is full of great anecdotes and compelling imagery. Just an thoroughly enjoyable read that while envy-producing, is considerably less costly than the obvious alternative.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Fran Cormack

    Love hotels? Love history? You will love this book too then.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Antony

    An interesting and well researched book, but a bit formulaic and elitist. I'm not sure it warrants the secret but of the title - I was hoping for something a bit more exciting and a bit less focused on the glamour. An interesting and well researched book, but a bit formulaic and elitist. I'm not sure it warrants the secret but of the title - I was hoping for something a bit more exciting and a bit less focused on the glamour.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Sheena

  6. 4 out of 5

    Celestine

  7. 4 out of 5

    Shirley

  8. 5 out of 5

    Alvin

  9. 4 out of 5

    Mia Pierce

  10. 5 out of 5

    Alberto Garcia

  11. 4 out of 5

    Wei-Hsiang

  12. 4 out of 5

    Penny

  13. 5 out of 5

    Diana

  14. 5 out of 5

    Seb Sebastian

  15. 5 out of 5

    Olwen

  16. 5 out of 5

    Lily

  17. 4 out of 5

    Bridgid

  18. 4 out of 5

    Hardcover Hearts

  19. 4 out of 5

    Lena Jenkins

  20. 4 out of 5

    Karen

  21. 4 out of 5

    Chiara

  22. 4 out of 5

    Michael D Lindemann

  23. 4 out of 5

    Michael

  24. 5 out of 5

    Georgia

  25. 4 out of 5

    Drorah

  26. 4 out of 5

    Maria

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jannika

  28. 4 out of 5

    Elie Salem

  29. 5 out of 5

    bookateatime

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ashley Buckmaster

  31. 5 out of 5

    BookGirl

  32. 4 out of 5

    Pam

  33. 4 out of 5

    Sherly

  34. 5 out of 5

    Anuar Fariz

  35. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

  36. 5 out of 5

    Debba

  37. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

  38. 4 out of 5

    Brenda

  39. 5 out of 5

    Kate

  40. 5 out of 5

    Asa Zulkifly

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