This story is part of our 'Unforgettable hotel nights' series, featuring tales from luxury hotel guests which were sent in for our recent travel writing competition.
The most unforgettable experience my wife and I ever had was quite close to home in this country, in the Brecon Beacons. We had had quite a good day sight-seeing but it was getting dusk and we hadn't seen anywhere to stay the night. Eventually to our relief we saw a hotel sign pointing to a house quite a distance away on the side of a hill. It looked like it could be expensive, but beggars can't be choosers. The building was in a distinctive Gothic style with two wings and a square tower between. Jokingly, I said it looked like something out of the Adams family; not so far from the truth as we were to find later.
There was a long driveway up to the house and we parked our car in a gravelled area at the back where there was just one other car. Ringing the door bell was in character, low-pitched and sonorous, and I involuntarily took a step back as the rather large door creaked open. I half-expected to be confronted by Lurch but instead a quite pleasant lady greeted us. The terms were quite reasonable so we were in luck.
The bedroom we were shown to was on the first floor, very large, with a high ceiling but clean and comfortable. A minor drawback was having to use a separate toilet and bathroom some distance down the corridor. The lounge on the same floor was huge, being in the square tower we had seen from the road. It was complete with one of those terrestrial globes on a stand and unexpectedly a large telescope on a tripod near one of the windows. We felt quite like landed gentry having the lounge to ourselves.
We weren't quite alone, there were obviously some kitchen staff as we had quite a nice meal, but again just the two of us in the dining room. We then adjourned to the bar where we had quite a chat with the lady we had met earlier. She explained that the house had once been a hotel and the current owner who still lived in the west wing had bought it to restore to private use. But he had then decided to still use most of it as a hotel. They hadn't re-opened long, apparently we were the only guests that night, and the other staff had just left for the day.
It was now getting quite late so we said goodnight and went on up to our room. As we were getting ready for bed there was the sound of a car starting up and on looking out of the window I could see that our car was now the only one in the car park, the other car had gone. There was just our lonely looking car lit by moonlight. All the lights were now extinguished downstairs. In fact there were no lights at all in the whole building, except for a distant yellowy-red glow from one window low down in the west wing; where the mysterious owner lived, apparently.
It was a strange-feeling night we spent there. We seemed to have a whole house to ourselves and it was deathly quiet. We were quite a way from the road so there wasn't even the noise of passing traffic. Needless to say after a meal and a few drinks we both needed to visit the bathroom during the night. I could however hardly blame my wife for insisting that I accompany her on this trip, through the shadows of the corridor broken with moonlight through an occasional window.
Nevertheless we survived the night. No sign of Lurch or the rest of the Adams family, much to my disappointment? The lady had returned by the time we got down for breakfast in the morning and in the light of day the house seemed strangely normal. We often remember that night and wonder if we should pay a return visit someday?
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