Averard Hotel, Lancaster Gate, London, UK Content from the guide to life, the universe and everything

Averard Hotel, Lancaster Gate, London, UK

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The Averard Hotel, Lancaster Gate, London, UK, was built as a town house for a doctor, his family, and their servants shortly after the start of the 20th Century. It was eventually converted into a hotel, and opened its doors to paying customers in 1925. Although described as a hotel, the restaurant is only open for breakfast, and the bar does not open lunchtimes. This is not really a problem, as there is a pub next door, The Mitre, and an excellent family-run Italian restaurant, Taormina, a few doors further down the road.

The guest rooms are comfortable, and generally furnished in a style that matches the rest of the hotel. The baths in many of the rooms are large enough for two people - they are those big quarter-circular things that sit in corners.

Fortunately, much of the downstairs non-living area has avoided the Formica revolution of the 1960s, and retains much of the look and feel of the era when the building was first built. This includes some splendid marble and bronze statuary scattered at various places around the building, and some ornate ceilings.

There is a local story that during the 1950s, a nearby building was a regular haunt of some London criminals, and that one night a shot was fired which went through the vestibule window of the Averard, damaged a statue, with the spent bullet and bits of statue hitting the mirror opposite the window. Whether this is true or not, nobody seems sure, but the hole in the thick, heavy duty glass window is certainly consistent with a 0.22 inch calibre bullet having passed through, and the impact marks on the mirror could have been made in the manner described. The glass in the window and mirror is at least three-quarters of an inch (2cm) thick.

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