Shake the dice and you'll be transported back to yesteryear
Sunday 16 January 2011
Ever fancied playing away? Well now you can at the Bailiffscourt Hotel & Spa in Climping, West Sussex.
But don't get too excited, the games being played here aren't risqué – the hotel has come up with an innovative Indoor Games Break, where the fun is all about the roll of the dice and shuffle of the pack.
To offer guests some traditional fireside fun for the opening months of the year, Bailiffscourt has called in the expertise of Jaques of London – the oldest sports and games manufacturer in the world, and inventors of games such as croquet, ping-pong, ludo and snakes and ladders.
After checking in to this historic house – originally the home of the Guinness family – guests will be invited to settle down in the original Card Room and await the personal attention and insider tips of the Jaques-trained Games Concierge.
Individual lessons will be available on how to play a range of games, including old favourites such as bagatelle, shut the box, and backgammon, to the less-familiar crokinole, as well as family staples such as happy families, snakes and ladders and ludo. The package, which includes dinner and breakfast for two, costs from £280 per room per night.
"It's been great fun learning how to play these traditional indoor games," says Chris Alger, general manager at Bailiffscourt, "some of which – such as bagatelle and cribbage – I remember from my childhood. It feels like we have come full circle – we want guests to come here and relax with some good, old-fashioned fun where the Guinness family once gathered to play games together."
And it's not just about the winning; it's about the joy of taking part. Bailiffscourt's Card Room is now stacked with Jaques of London indoor games – beautifully crafted pieces that have been made by six generations of the same family since 1795 – so just playing the game promises to be a sensuous, mood-lifting experience.
"Since the recession hit, we've sold more and more traditional indoor games," says Joe Jaques, head of the family business. "I think the idea of settling down with your favourite people and getting stuck in to some great games is so much fun."
And guests can even take that feeling home, with a complimentary Jaques goody bag, which includes a luxury snakes and ladders or ludo set, a set of playing cards and five poker dice, as well as packs of happy families and snap, with original artwork by Sir John Tenniel, illustrator of Punch and Lewis Carroll's books. So, everyone's a winner.
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