This hotel made such an impression on me that I wrote a poem about it. Enjoy:
The other day I Googled Philippe Starck
and saw, to my surprise, not in a zoo,
but posing in some city park,
a being bodied much like me or you.
His arms were not unusually long or lean,
his forehead didn’t slope, he wore a shirt,
and though it’s hard, from snaps, to gauge hygiene
his skin and clothes seemed fairly free of dirt.
And in the smiling close-ups I could sense
the thing anticipated least of all;
the spark of real human intelligence.
So much, I thought, for the Neanderthal
I had envisaged, having lately stayed
in one of Starck’s ridiculous hotels.
The room they gave me there, I swear, was made,
By, and for, an illiterate. How else
explain the fact Herr Starck forsook
a shelf, or bedside table, or indeed
surface of any kind to rest a book?
To make it still more difficult to read,
the silly light switch dangling overhead
would stretch the sinews of the tallest man:
To activate it, lying in the bed,
you’d need the arm of an orang-utan.
And when you do get out of bed, beware:
That stylish floor-to-ceiling window-blind
won’t close. So lest you really want to share
with all of Covent Garden your behind
be sure to book a room without a view -
or you may find yourself becoming one.
The bathroom’s worse; when you have used the loo,
don’t try to wash your hands - it can’t be done.
The basin taps are two smooth knobs of chrome
which fingers slightly damp, or touched by soap,
can’t grip or turn. The shower’s the bloody same.
How do my fellow guests, I wondered, cope?
What mug but me would fork out this much cash -
(the cheapest room’s two hundred quid a night)
to stay in a hotel where you can’t wash,
or read, or work, or hide from public sight?
And yet the place was full - and fully booked
for days ahead, said the receptionist.
And when I whined about my room she looked
at me as if I might be mad or pissed.
It obviously doesn’t happen much.
As eaves-dropped bar and elevator chat
confirmed, this guest was sadly out of touch
with the consensus, which is, broadly, that
because they were designed by great Philippe
the fittings in my room are objets d’arts.
His beds are not for reading in (or sleep);
His sinks are not for washing, nor His bar
for leaning on, His shiny cupboard door
does not have knobs because it is not meant
for opening. So what then is it for?
The answer’s simple: it is ornament
and nothing more. And this might, I suppose,
explain the patronage of this hotel
by those well known for paying through the nose
for things which make no sense. A clientele
whose shoes cannot be walked in without pain,
whose trousers hang half-mast between their knees,
whose raincoats weren’t designed to keep out rain,
whose hairstyles simulate a steady breeze.
And as I watched them teeter to and fro
On scrawny legs with sunken eye and cheek
the penny dropped. But how was I to know
when booking, this was London Fashion Week?
I saw my bill, I caused a little scene,
then walked to Charing Cross and caught a bus.
Starck and his ilk, in jet and limousine,
are making monkeys out of all of us.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- From its dazzling location at the hub of Covent Garden, West End theatres and Trafalgar Square, St Martins Lane is a dramatic and daring reinvention of the urban resort. Smart, witty and sophisticated, the hotel is filled with energy, vitality and magic. Unique features include the acclaimed Asia de Cuba restaurant, wildly popular Light Bar, and interactive light displays in every Guest Room that encourage guests to personalize their own individual space, and help to turn the hotel into a beautiful and ever changing mosaic of color. St. Martins Lane Hotel offers seasonal packages and special offers including weekend, holiday, and breakfast packages. These offers are exclusive to the site and are available for a wide variety of room types and sizes. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- St Martins Lane London Hotel London
- Hotel St Martins Lane
- St Martins Lane London Hotel England