Wrought iron balusters
Prison hotels: welcome to a night in the nick
Plans for new ‘superprisons’ mean some of the UK’s most famous old slammers could get a new, very different, lease of life … as boutique hotels. It’s a model that has proved popular elsewhere
British boutique hotels could be about to get a boost from an unexpected quarter. Yesterday, new plans were put forward for a series of “super prisons” holding as many as 3,000 inmates. Which will mean that some of the nation’s most famous old slammers could get a new, and very different, lease of life.
A thinktank has suggested that notorious nicks such as Dartmoor, Wormwood Scrubs and Pentonville could be reinvented as boutique hotels. Where once meals were shoved through hatches in the door, Bolly and blinis will be delivered on room service. In-room massage treatments will replace doing time on a hard bed.
The idea is not entirely new, of course. Back in 2005, the Malmaison boutique hotel company re-opened Oxford prison as a 95-room addition to its cool chain, promoting “Nights in the nick” from £95. In the notorious A-wing (familiar to fans of Inspector Morse), smart rooms were fashioned by knocking together the original 19th-century cells. They had the advantage of nice, thick, sound-proofed walls, if a somewhat claustrophobic feel, courtesy of high windows and iron bars.
The model has proved popular internationally, too. In Boston, Charles Street jail was given a makeover so chic you could be forgiven for never guessing its original role, except for the tongue-in-cheek name – the Liberty hotel. The Karosta hotel in Latvia has taken things in a different direction. This ex-military prison offers a freakish themed experience complete with strict guards and cold, unconverted cells.
Most conversions, though, go for the style ticket. At the Het Arresthuis hotel in Roermond, Netherlands, oversized chandeliers and violet mood-lighting soften the effect of what were once gloomy corridors lined with wrought iron. This Dutch creation is a model of how to spin spartan into modern minimalism.
If every town in England has a prison hotel, won’t the novelty be lost though? And while it’s a bit of a giggle to sip a cocktail where inmates once ferried meal trays, who wants to try to patch up their marriage in a lifer’s old cell?
Certain former prisons lend themselves better to the hotel idea than others, too. It will be one thing to wake up with views across Devon moorland, but not all the prisons on the list have the aesthetic attributes of Oxford, or a location such as Dartmoor. There is a chilling hint of Colditz, for example, about Shepton Mallet in Somerset. At 400 years old, it was the UK’s oldest working prison until its closure in March, and once housed the Krays. It is a forbidding building in a location that has little to recommend it besides being walking distance from the Mulberry factory shop. Then again, it is splendidly handy for bands booked to play at Glastonbury. Who would have guessed that HMP Shepton Mallet could have a future in jailhouse rock?
Having a good terrace or a balcony is a must as it is one of the most utilised corners of any house. But unfortunately, most homeowners don’t pay much attention to decorating and maintaining it. Consequently, they end up not using their terrace or balcony because of dirt and untidiness. It is important to beautify such open spaces so that it can be used as a hang-out place during house parties, informal get-togethers or just for lounging or reading books.
Below are some tips that will help you transform this underutilised corner to an inviting space:
- Clean your balcony/terrace of weeds and debris to give it a fresh and tidy look for further enhancements to be done.
- Polish or paint railings or fencing around your balcony/terrace to get rid of paint cracks.
Also, you can lightly sandwood the rails and touch up wrought iron nails to get rid of rough spots using outdoor matte black spray paint.
People not living on the ground floor can place an outdoor woven grass rug to cover the majority of their terrace area to give it a garden look.
If your balcony is facing a parking lot or any other unpleasant view, place potted plants and curtains to add a natural and inviting touch. If your balcony has a good view, place outdoor related accessories and items to maintain the scenic beauty.
Furniture is another important thing that needs to be taken care of. You can place a weather-resistant couch or a rocking chair with a lamp placed on a small side table in the balcony.
Balcony-related accessories and items can actually enhance the architectural feature of the ambience. You can do so by placing a gazing ball, window frame against the wall or rustic trellis among the plants. Placing a water feature can also be a good idea. A gold fish bowl or a small bubbling fountain will further bring life to your space.
Select and assemble potted plants to fit both the view and area of the terrace. Appropriately placing large plants at the edge and small ones in the front create your own in-home beautiful lush landscape.
Instead of going for modern lighting you can use outdoor lanterns that connect you to conventional life while belonging to the urban culture. If planning a party or a bonfire over weekends, an ember firepit and a cheers put make a great combo in bringing home party people.
The terrace is as important as any other room in your house; you must address this space as you would the interior of the house.
Source: Elvy Lifestyle
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by Scott Bridges
Beginning in 1876 as a two-story adobe guesthouse, The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa in historic downtown Riverside, approximately 55 miles east of Los Angeles, now occupies an entire city block that encompasses 320,000 square-feet.
I made the short trek out the 60 Freeway to the 91 interchange recently to get my first glimpse of the hotel as it celebrated its 110th anniversary. I had not expected such grandeur. The mission-style structure is the crowning jewel of a charming downtown. It’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is a State of California Historic Landmark, and is a member of Historic Hotels of America.
Tours of the property are available through the Mission Inn Foundation, which operates the on-property museum. Docents are available to give 75-minute presentations of the history behind the Mission Inn Hotel & Spa. While touring the property, I careened back and forth between being educated and awed.
More than $7 million of antiques and artifacts adorn the hotel. The museum displays an extensive collection of artifacts from around the world, including Craftsman period furniture, 16th and early 20th century paintings and Far Eastern historical pieces.
In 1903, original owner Frank Miller began to expand the original facilities, a process that took more than three decades to complete, and which incorporates design elements from across the southwestern U.S. and the Mediterranean, with a particular influence from the California missions. It incorporated the work of notable California architects like Arthur Benton, Myron Hunt and G. Stanley Wilson, whose work blended several architectural elements, such as flying buttresses, domes, a bell tower, clock towers, interior courtyards and patios, a five-story open-air rotunda and a circular wrought-iron staircase.
In December 1992, the hotel reopened after a seven-year, $55 million renovation. Today, under the guidance of owner Duane R. Roberts, the Mission Inn Hotel & Spa includes 238 guest rooms, including 27 suites. The property also contains 20,000 square feet of meeting and banquet space, 5,000 square-feet of outdoor courtyard space, an outdoor swimming pool and two wedding chapels.
Over the years, the Inn has hosted numerous dignitaries, including five acting presidents. It was the site of Ronald and Nancy Reagan’s honeymoon, and has been the site of countless weddings, including both Bette Davis’ and Richard and Pat Nixon’s. On-property staff coordinates weddings large and small at the ornate St. Cecilia Chapel and the breathtaking St. Francis of Assisi Chapel.
With some $17 million in renovations over the last five years, every room has been revamped, and all feature distinct architectural details like domed ceilings, wrought-iron balconies, tile floors, stained glass windows or carved pillars.
The hotel features pampering, restorative and wellness treatments at Kelly’s Spa, a luxurious, serene European-style spa. The 7,000 square foot spa has a dozen treatment rooms, a pair of spa villas and a nail salon. It offers a variety of variety of therapeutic massage and revitalizing treatments, as well as soaking tubs, outdoor patio.
There is also an outdoor swimming pool and Jacuzzi, as well as a fitness center. In addition, there are recreational activities nearby including tennis, golf, shopping and wine tasting.
The Inn featuers several dining options, none more impressive than Duane’s Prime Steaks and Seafood, the Inland Empire’s only AAA Four-Diamond restaurant. It recently earned the Golden Bacus Award for outstanding wine selections. Duane’s embraces a farm-to-table philosophy and features a menu that includes many small plates and shareable dishes.
Duane’s steaks are a reminder of why human beings took up meat-eating in the first place. The Porterhouse and the Filet Mignon Oscar are worthy of song. And the scallops are the size of hockey pucks and practically melt on the fork. Furthermore, the lobster bisque is so rich and creamy with chunks of lobster meat strewn throughout, it is like liquid love.
And for dessert, nothing beats the chocolate soufflé with Grand Marnier and whipped cream. It’s proof of a devil. But for something heavenly, there’s Kelly’s apple pie — a small, full pie made with Guinness-soaked Granny Smiths.
54 Degrees at Duane’s: This interactive wine bar accompanies Duane’s, and offers an eclectic menu of wines and small bites in an upbeat, sophisticated setting. Impressively, there are more than 450 wines on the list and upwards of 7,000 bottles from around the world located in and under the restaurant (the catacombs beneath the Inn are the stuff of legend). There are an incredible 32 wines by the glass, and even by the 1.5-ounce and 3.2-ounce pour.
A handful of other restaurants offer something for every appetite. And for your sweet tooth, there’s Casey’s Cupcakes, winner of the Food Network’s Cupcake Wars. Casey Reinhardt’s confection boutique is reminiscent of a Parisian café, and features glass cases full of colorfully decorated cupcakes, each topped with Casey’s signature chocolate medallion.
Having lived in Southern California most of my life, I now consider it a travesty that I had never taken the opportunity to visit Riverside until now. I found its downtown to be an oasis of culture in the midst of a suburb-spotted desert. And the Mission Inn Hotel & Spa is the city’s finest attraction.
Traditionally-built with a countryside outlook
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There is a large garage with planning permission for further development which will include two double garages and an apartment above.
The house has a stunning entrance hall with hardwood parquet flooring throughout and a feature oak staircase with handmade wrought-iron balustrade.
The lounge has a fireplace built in limestone and granite with a limestone-flagged hearth incorporating a wood-burning stove. There is open-plan access through into the kitchen/dining/family room.
This feature room which occupies the full width of the property has hardwood parquet flooring throughout.
The dining area is dual aspect and has ample space for large table and chairs.
The kitchen is fitted with a range of modern cabinets with matching fascias and hardwood surfaces, a black four-oven range cooker with granite and stone surround beneath an oak lintel with brickwork above. An oak door opens into the pantry.
There is a conservatory with full-height window to the rear overlooking the garden and countryside beyond.
On the first floor is a spacious landing providing an extravagant approach to the bedrooms and bathroom. A feature stained-glass window has an oak surround.
Bedroom one has sliding doors to the rear which open on to a balcony, which has far-reaching views over the garden towards the surrounding countryside. There is also an en-suite shower room.
Bedroom two has an en-suite shower room and there are two further bedrooms.
The family bathroom has a free-standing double-ended bath, wash hand basin and wc all in white, plus a ceramic tiled floor.
The attic room has roof-set window to the rear and eaves storage throughout. Plumbing has been facilitated for an en suite.
Outside is an area laid to chippings providing off-road parking for two cars. A granite and stone wall with timber gate to side opens into the front garden which has areas laid to lawn and chippings together with paving.
The rear garden is laid to lawn and overlooks the surrounding South Hams countryside. At the end of the garden is a stone-built summerhouse with French windows.
Sassafras: Southern Hospitality, Hollywood Style
A haven for those who have outgrown the thumping Cahuenga Corridor club scene
by Elina Shatkin
Steeped in gilded decay, the newish bar from the vintage-obsessed 1933 Group (Bigfoot Lodge, Thirsty Crow, Oldfields, La Cuevita) feels like a hip version of Disneyland’s Blue Bayou. With its wrought iron gates, vine-covered smoking patio, and ornate drapery, it evokes a campy plantation charm.
A taxidermied bear in Knights Templar regalia watches over patrons, while “barrel-aged” cocktails in glass bottles go round and round on a repurposed dry cleaner’s rack.
Savvy libation lovers mingle with twenty- and thirtysomethings who have outgrown the thumping Cahuenga Corridor club scene. At the back bar, spin the roulette wheel for a chance to sip your mint julep or Grilled Peach Punch for free. Themed attire isn’t mandatory, but you won’t look out of place in ’20s threads.
More sophisticated than the typical Hollywood watering hole, this joint has style to spare, even after the gimmicks grow old.