Dowager amongst the Victorian clutter
HOTEL DE PARIS, Norfolk
Simon Calder’s career in travel started at Gatwick Airport, where he cleaned aircraft for Laker Airways and later worked as a security officer. He became The Independent’s Travel Correspondent in 1994, and is known as “the Man Who Pays His Way” because he does not accept free travel facilities. He writes across the Independent titles, as well as for the Evening Standard.
Saturday 24 August 1996
Boldly placed at the centre of the seafront, opposite the time-battered pier, the Hotel de Paris resonates with a sense of grandeur that perhaps reverberates from the royal residence, just inland at Sandringham.
All the beautiful Art Nouveau touches are still in place in the spacious lobby, (as are some of the original staff, judging by appearances). The 20th century has (so far) failed to crush the delicacy of detail, with elaborate twirls of wood and plaster above, preposterously neo-Roman mosaics below.
I paid pounds 22 for a single room, which was the oddly crooked shape you sometimes get when travelling on your own - a room that is a cross between an L and a K. It was comfortable enough, with a television that you didn't have to put 50 pence in to coax it into life, and the makings of what Indian hotels call bed-tea.
The slouch who stays abed misses out on the goings-on in the lobby. Sipping your tea in bone-china cups, you can eavesdrop on the staff recalling the last significant event at the hotel, the day a couple of Easters ago when the BBC radio car broke down in the car park and had to be taken back to base by the AA.
Sitting back in a venerable armchair, listening to the North Sea berating the pier, you would not be in the least surprised to meet Agatha Christie or some mischievous young Royals. And, best of all, it is almost as cheap as that bed-and-breakfast down the road.
Hotel de Paris, Jetty Cliff, Cromer, Norfolk NR27 9HG (01263 513141). From pounds 22
The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations
- 1 Tunisia hotel attack: Locals form 'human shield' to protect hotel from gunman Seifeddine Rezgui
- 2 Russian officials ban yoga because it's too much like a religious cult
- 3 German ethics council calls for incest between siblings to be legalised by Government
- 4 Ginger Pride festival to take place next summer, organisers say 'time of bullying gingers is over'
- 5 Facebook rainbow profile pictures likely being tracked by social network
French air-traffic strike: Seven more days of strikes planned
Prison hotels: Sleep in a cell or eat in an old exercise yard
Inside Travel: Greece 2015 Q&A - should we cancel our Greek holiday? Are our flights safe? And what will we be spending there?
The most powerful passports in the world
The 10 Best hiking boots
The moment a Queen's Guard soldier lost it and drew his gun at annoying tourist
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Pentagon accuses Russia of 'playing with fire' over nuclear threats towards Nato
They are neither a 'state' nor 'Islamic': Why we shouldn't call them Isis, Isil or IS
£33000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A global player and world leade...
£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are friendly, sociable, ...
£22300 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This museum group is looking for a Payro...
£39,000: ICE ICT: Specific and detailed knowledge and experience of travel sys...