Five Best: Gothic haunts
From coffin beds to spooky castles, get into the spirit of Hallowe'en.
Saturday 28 October 2006
Larnach Castle Dunedin, New Zealand
Larnach is the only castle in New Zealand, and gothic revival style at that. Built in 1871 by William Larnach, a merchant and politician, it has a tragic history. Larnach's first two wives, half-sisters, both died aged 38. Then his daughter died of typhoid. Larnachcommitted suicide after discovering that his third wife was having an affair with his son. With reported ghost activity in the castle, you might be relieved to find that visitors stay in a separate building.
Larnach Castle, 145 Camp Road, Otago Peninsula, Dunedin, New Zealand (00 64 3 476 1616; www.larnachcastle.co.nz). Doubles start at NZ$240 (£85), including breakfast
Hotel Danieli, Venice
You don't get much more central than the Danieli. The hotel is right next to the Doge's Palace on the lagoon and within biscotti-throwing distance of St Mark's Square. Not that you have to fight your way through the riff-raff to get in; the hotel also has a private waterside entrance. A mish-mash of different architectural styles are split between a trio of buildings, dating from the 14th to 20th centuries. If it's gothic you're after, make sure you book a room in the oldest, a former palazzo. And if you can't afford to stay here, you can always have a peek at the hotel's soaring gothic atrium.
Hotel Danieli, Riva degli Schiavoni, Venice, Italy (00 39 041 296 1222; www.luxurycollection.com/danieli). Doubles start at €315 (£225), room only.
Propeller Island City Lodge Berlin
A giant work of art in which you sleep may not be an obvious contender for a gothic hotel experience but all becomes clear if you check into room 31. Here, the main feature is two coffins, into which you can climb and sleep, lid down, though there's also a conventional bed to escape to if you get the creeps. Don't be misled by the hotel's name. Set in the centre of Berlin, rather than on some lonely atoll, it takes its name from a mythical island written about by Jules Verne.
Propeller Island City Lodge, 58 Albrecht Achilles Strasse, Berlin, Germany (00 49 30 891 9016; www.propeller-island.com). The "Gruft" or coffin room starts at €140 (£100), room only.
Night Hotel, New York
With its brooding, sky-scraping black façade and gothic script motif carpeting, there's more than a little something of the night about this new Manhattan boutique retreat. A "Gothic Gotham" fantasy, it's the latest venture by nightclub owner Vikram Chatwal and is primarily a place for partying after dark, with a restaurant and bar that stay open until 4am (anyone for a Kobe beef hot dog?). Best described as Robert Smith meets Andre Balazs, the rooms come with monochrome Timorous Beasties wallpaper, Dean and Deluca nibbles and iPod Nanos (black, of course).
Night Hotel, 132 West 45th Street, New York, US (001 212 835 9600; www.nighthotelny.com). Doubles start at $376 (£209), room only.
The Witchery by the Castle, Edinburgh
Almost as much a part of Edinburgh as the Scott monument, it's now a quarter of a century since rampant antiques collector James Thomson opened the Witchery just a few steps downhill from the city's castle. Since then Thomson has opened the Tower restaurant at the Museum of Scotland and a fantastically over-the-top hotel, Prestonfield, on the outskirts of the city, yet the Witchery is still going strong. It is a restaurant with rooms rather than a hotel, and its seven decadent, gothic-style suites have seen more celebrity action than Colin Farrell.
The Witchery by the Castle, The Royal Mile, Edinburgh (0131-225 5613; www.thewitchery.com). Suites start at £295, including breakfast and champagne.
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