"To put it bluntly," Fran Lebowitz once said, "I'm not the kind of guy who wants to go back to the country; I'm the kind of guy who wants to go back to the hotel."
Inevitably, it's hard to imagine Lebowitz, this sharp-tongued New York bon vivant, social critic and heroine of Martin Scorsese's documentary series "Pretend It's a City", knee-deep in potting soil with a frilly apron and rose scissors. This woman belongs in the marble lobby of a grand hotel, a martini in her hand and a mocking smile on her lips as she gazes at the bizarre menagerie of the human zoo around her.
250 years ago, on 25 January 1774, London wigmaker David Low opened the first "grand hotel" at 43 King Street, Covent Garden in London, in the leased house of a former admiral of the fleet, inspired by the lamentations of his rich clientele about the stinking dosshouses in which the high gentlemen were forced to stay when travelling.
The price per night: 15 shillings. It was the start of a phase of luxury mania and escapist longings for escape among the better-off in politically turbulent times. What could be better than escaping the present, provided you had the means to do so, and having cocktails brought to you in a spa hotel in Davos or Nice, snuggled up in a lounger, while the distant world went up in flames?
Source: Editorial Network Germany
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