No hotel worth staying in ever offered itself as a home away from home. It is difficult to bring into thought any idea duller than a hotel which replicated the familiar address of home. Maybe somebody else’s home, where all of the instruments of mundane purpose, all of the reminders of duty and responsibility have been discretely removed.
If the Joan Didion quote about great hotels being flawless mirrors held up to reflect the societies which they service is true, then the guests who languidly move around the house and estate are paid a heavy compliment.
I am sitting in the lobby. It is a quietly sumptuous still life. It feels entirely connected to no particular era or aesthetic episode. A well tended open fire cracks, wheezes and breathes warmth and a slight smoke perfume.
Tall panelled walls are painted a fragrant, soft and gently faded green. The morning sun reveals the slight ripples and irregularities in the timber planes. The flaws that render something more beautiful than consistent perfection. The wall with its tiny traces and lines of life visible, is a manifestation of the idea that a great house takes a lifetime to evolve into being.