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Quirky facts about Rocco Forte Hotels

Rocco ForteRocco Forte Hotels celebrated its 10-year anniversary this year. Ten years on, the luxury collection consists of ten hotels in ten key cities across Europe, with two new hotels due to open this summer (The Charles Hotel in Munich and Le Richemond in Geneva). Here are some quirky facts about the group’s ten hotels: The Balmoral, Edinburgh
  • J.K. Rowling finished writing her latest novel, ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows‘, the seventh and final instalment in the series at the hotel. To mark the occasion, the author signed an antique bust in the room in which she stayed.
  • Since opening in 1902, the hotel’s historic clock tower has been set three minutes early to avoid people missing their trains (the hotel is located next to Waverley Train Station). The only day the clock runs on time is 31 December.
  • In the 1970s, the Queen Mother was a regular visitor to the hotel where she liked to dine on plain roast lamb for lunch.
Hotel Savoy, Florence
  • On 9 June 2003, rock legend Bruce Springsteen greeted his fans, who covered the entire Piazza della Repubblica, from the balcony of the hotel’s Repubblica Suite.
  • Hotel Savoy is reported to be novelist John Grisham‘s favourite hotel in Italy and he wrote on of his recent novels at the hotel during an extended stay.
  • The hotel’s Brunelleschi and Signoria suites both have their own exclusive state-of-the-art steam rooms, complete with chromatherapy facilities.
Hotel Astoria, St Petersburg
  • The hotel was home to the headquarters of the British Intelligence in 1914.
  • Lenin was a guest at the hotel and gave a speech to his supporters from the balcony of room 211 shortly after the revolution.
  • Adolf Hitler is reported to have planned a victory banquet in the hotel’s Winter Garden after the defeat of the Russian army, which of course never happened.
The St David’s Hotel & Spa, Cardiff
  • The hotel has featured in hit BBC sci-fi series Dr Who and Torchwood.
  • It was Wales’ first five star hotel.
  • For those with a taste for the high life, the hotel can be hired out in its entirety for the day at a cost of £75,000.
Hotel Amigo, Brussels
  • The hotel is housed in a former prison. The Spanish rulers mistook the Flemish for prison to mean friend and translated it into their own language as ‘amigo’.
  • Valuable historical artefacts and antiques are on display in the hotel including paintings from famous Dutch artists such as Courtens, Dansaert and Wagemans and an original 18th century tapestry from Aubusson, made from silk and wool, hangs in the Ambassador meeting room.
  • Famous guests who have stayed at Hotel Amigo include David Bowie, Fifty Cent, Harrison Ford, Hugh Grant, Jane Birkin, Robbie Williams and the cast of Casino Royale.
Hotel de Russie, Rome
  • The cast of Ocean’s 12 stayed at the hotel during filming and George Clooney had a huge plasma screen installed for his stay in the Popolo suite.
  • It is the only hotel in Rome with a secret garden and World Wildlife Fund protected butterfly oasis.
  • The hotel once housed the headquarters of Italian TV channel RAI.
The Lowry Hotel, Manchester
  • To date, staff at The Lowry Hotel have welcomed over half a million guests, served over 37,000 bottles of Champagne, provided 9,000 massages and the housekeeping staff have walked approximately 8,000 miles.
  • The hotel has the longest sun terrace in Manchester.
  • The hotel was built on the site of the former Dandy and Beano warehouse.
Brown’s Hotel, London Villa Kennedy, Frankfurt
  • The hotel is named after Kennedyallee, the road on which it is situated, which was renamed in honour of President Kennedy who visited the city and passed along the road in 1963.
  • The hotel has the largest presidential suite in Germany, The Georg Speyer Suite, measuring 326 sqm.
  • Celebrity guests have included Eric Clapton, Billy Joel, Cher, Joseph Fiennes and Liza Minelli.
Hotel de Rome, Berlin
  • It is the oldest building in Berlin with a hotel and was the former headquarters of the Dresdner Bank.
  • The hotel spa is located in the old bank vault where the original safe door has been preserved. The 20 metre swimming pool is housed in the bank’s Jewellery Room and is decorated with brilliant gold mosaic tiles to represent the many jewels that were once stored there.
  • Hollywood stars Sharon Stone and Matt Damon stayed at the hotel at the recent Berlinale Film Festival.

Paul Johnson

Paul Johnson is Editor of A Luxury Travel Blog and has worked in the travel industry for more than 30 years. He is Winner of the Innovations in Travel ‘Best Travel Influencer’ Award from WIRED magazine. In addition to other awards, the blog has also been voted “one of the world’s best travel blogs” and “best for luxury” by The Daily Telegraph.

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