Travel: London Calling; FORTY Years after the Assassination of JFK, a Venetian Holiday with a Difference Can Offer You a Spooky Reminder of the Cuban Missile Crisis. GRAHAM YOUNG Reports

Birmingham Evening Mail (England), November 6, 2003 | Go to article overview

Travel: London Calling; FORTY Years after the Assassination of JFK, a Venetian Holiday with a Difference Can Offer You a Spooky Reminder of the Cuban Missile Crisis. GRAHAM YOUNG Reports


Byline: GRAHAM YOUNG

ONE DAY it will make a beautifully rambling dinner party story. . .

How we went to Venice without leaving the country - and then shared JFK's bed.

Naturally, the legendary romeo wasn't there at the time, since it will be four decades ago on this month - November 22since he was shot dead.

But, as far as marketing wheezes go, the JFK Suite at the Colonnade Town House in Little Venice, west London, still takes some beating.

Step through the first-floor white door past the brass plaque bearing the simple three initials, and you enter a world of mystery, intrigue and luxury.

The suite's windows seem as large as a house, while the scarcely believable dark green walls carry their own unusual signature.

Dominating the room, the fourposter made for the Most Powerful Man in the World sits imperiously beneath a split-level landing which houses a double futon.

Now a favourite with honeymooners, the bed was made for JFK's intended state visit in 1962 when the Cuban Missile Crisis cancelled everything.

It was bought in the mid-70s by the previous owners of the Colonnade, the canny Richards family who'd read that it was available for pounds 5,000. Six months later, their cheeky pounds 500 bid was accepted and they had the bed rebuilt at the hotel which is now keen to make the most of it.

You'd never guess, but the Colonnade was two houses when originally built.

It later became the hospital where Enigma code cracker and computer science father Alan Turing was born in 1912.

Naturally, the 43-room hotel has a suite and restaurant named after him and there's another one with regular visitor Sigmund Freud's name on the door, too.

As a hotel, The Colonnade is a true Town House. You feel at home the minute you step inside to be greeted by the friendly cat and accompanying receptionist sitting at a large, traditional desk. The location is great, too. Stay over the weekend as we did and you can park outside for free from 6.30pm onwards on a Friday night.

As well as being just outside the congestion charging zone, the Colonnade is just yards from Warwick Avenue tube station, which will sweep you up to Oxford Street's Christmas shopping frenzy within minutes. …

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Travel: London Calling; FORTY Years after the Assassination of JFK, a Venetian Holiday with a Difference Can Offer You a Spooky Reminder of the Cuban Missile Crisis. GRAHAM YOUNG Reports
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