Hotel Nomads

Den of the debauched gin hag, refuge of the hunted heriess, one of the greatest joys of travel is a solo sojourn in an anonymous hotel.

From Dylan Thomas prostrate in his puke in the Chelsea to TS Eliot measuring out his life in teaspoons at the Pont Royal, hotel life is so steeped in the warm martini of literary, filmic and cultural cliche that any affected aspiring artist worth her salt dissolves into an intertextual orgy of mannered, self-conscious posturing as soon as her heels hit the lobby.

As I stayed alone over the weekend in both London and Limerick, shouldering the mink-lined mantle of the mysterious broad abroad with sufficient elan and eclat proved almost too weighty a responsibility to bear. By the time I had perfected an appropriately red-lipsticked, kohl-eyed, hunter-green midi-skirted ensemble and developed just the right degree of self-absorbed froideur to radiate whilst sipping dry sherry and drafting poetry in a Moleskine for three hours at the bar, the restaurant was simply too much.

Far from defelcting the attentions of bog-dark Irishmen from behind a battered Raymond Chandler whilst vimfully addressing a thin china plate of blue steak, I uttered a cry of defeat and retreated to my room to watch Midsommer Murders from the bath, gorging on caramelised Lotus fingers washed down with a White Russian made from a Smirnoff miniature and those tiny pots of UHT milk.

Which, to be quite honest, knocked socialising with Sarte in the Sully Saint-Germain into a cocked hat.