Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

You Crazy Thing

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

You Crazy Thing

Article excerpt


There's a bus by the pond, garish colours abound, but it's kitsch with class IN LONDON, if you say something is crazy, it better be certifiably so, otherwise people will think you're a prat. Hey, I'm crazy. No, you're not, you've just had too much to drink and you've got a traffic cone on your head. You're a prat. But this is the country, and different rules apply. So The Crazy Bear is crazy, and we'll forgive him that.

I think the reason why he's crazy is because there's a mannequin stuck up a tree in the garden watching a disconnected computer screen; there is a double-decker bus parked next to the pond; there are fake Doric columns, dusty pink leather dining-room chairs and chandeliers incarcerated in Perspex. This would all be annoying if it weren't done so well, so high-end.

Drive up to it and it looks like an unassuming pub. Get in there and it is beautiful, with chequerboard walls, low beams and fires, a stunning bar with deeply comfortable bar stools. The five bedrooms and four suites are surrounded by manicured lawns and fat palm trees.

I am not a fan of kitsch - one person's embrace of the tasteless being another's self-conscious kook - and there is lots I could do without here, including the amusing statuary (naff and everywhere) and the funny outside lighting (bright green and electric blue). When I sat in the garden I had a suspicion someone was watching me, only to realise that it was a huge topiary teddy bear.

The room you choose here would entirely make or break your stay.

The hotel was full (impressive on a Sunday night), but I sneaked a peek at the suite opposite which wasn't such a pretty sight: it looked like a pistachio-green bolthole for Magnum PI, filled with bamboo thrones. But the black suite we stayed in (the most expensive at [pounds sterling]290) was fabulous.

The bed is raised with a deep wooden shelf around it, the floor - with its big zebra-skin rug - is made of beautiful stone, there are lots of Venetian mirrors and a decadent bath at the end of the bed. …

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