I have long been a fan of Murrays restaurant in the Ship hotel but had never stayed here. This I did last Thursday when invited by Tim (Horsfall-Smith) to go to see Ivanov. We were also scheduled to have a National Rust editorial conference in the morning. With this in mind I booked the Cottage as it would afford greater confidentiality.
The Cottage comprised an outer deck area, small lounge, dining room and up a steep staircase case a bedroom and bathroom. Just the job for the first night of a honeymoon or a naughty tryst!!! Wished I knew about it 20 years ago!!!
They decided to fit it out high tech and there the problems began. I have often praised the Willowbrook Lodge in Somerset West near Cape Town. There on arrival the proprietor, over a freshly brewed cafetière of coffee, took a good 30 minutes to explain how it all worked. This has never happened again. Most hotels have a folder or you call reception. The functioning of the Nespresso machine was beyond me. I could not work out how the coffee pod fitted into the chamber. The staff did explain. However the real problem began when the bath ceased to fill. Oh well, I thought, I will take the rain or hand shower. I found myself subjected to icy water from all sides. I called the management to be told there was a plumbing fault and would I like to move. No I would not. In the morning I took the plumbing on again. This time the bath filled to two inches, the water flow stopped and neither of the two showers worked at all. Nor did dialling 0 on the state of the art phone connect me to reception. I had to use my mobile. I was going to mention my impeccable Rust credentials but went for the jugular “I will slaughter you on Tripadvisor”. I don’t know why modern bathrooms should be so complicated. At home we have one control for the flow, the other for the temperature and a knob you push for the shower. Here you had 3 taps the purpose and the effects of which were unclear.
The hotel wrote off the cost of the room and the lady receptionist was consumed by grief and sympathy. They handled it well but I would still have preferred a bath and shower.
Murrays was its normal excellent self where I ordered scallops and pork belly. Three scallops were a bit mean but they were juicy and plump. The pork served with a hard crust tender . I liked the way you could order wine by the carafe. No complaints here .
The play has already been reviewed. When I heard it was Ivanov my mind went to that Russian naval attaché implicated in the Profumo Affiar. I remember him taking me to Nikitas, filling me up woth strawberry flavoured vodka and trying to recruit me, or at least that is how I remember it!!! I sprang my own honey trap but a career as a spook never followed. I rather fancied myself as one of those slinky, sexy Mossad agents that seduced enemies of Israel and then bump them off post-coitally!!!
We decided to hold the conference over breakfast in Murrays. When the waitress came to take our order she had to borrow my pen apologising that hers did not work “Very few things in this hotel do,” I said under my breath.