Sometimes it’s a fine line separating gaudy from opulent, and trashy from romantic. Straddling those lines is the Crazy Bear Hotel in Old Beaconsfield, England
Conservative Beaconsfield might be the last place in Britain you’d expect to find the decidedly unconservative Crazy Bear. Indeed, from the outside this hotel blends into its surroundings. There’s no outward sign, literally or figuratively, that this 15th century building, located on a 60-acre farm 20 minutes by car from Oxford and 45 from London, is a high design, highly flamboyant, hotel.
Among the items you’ll find in the public areas of the hotel: tiara-wearing moose heads, a restaurant with 24-carat gold leaf walls, a drinking room surrounded in mirrors and an enormous Swarovski-studded leather chesterfield. And, oh yeah, there’s an infinity room on the roof.
As for the hotel’s 10 rooms, they are individually decorated. All (except #4) come with a tall brass bathtub in the middle of the bedroom. All (except #9) are lusciously dark from floor to ceiling. All (without exception) include much more gold covering than necessary.
The £390-per-night room #10 (photo above) is the favorite of most regulars and might be the most “textured” room we’ve ever experienced. The floor of the bedroom is leather. The walls of the bathroom are covered in faux crocodile skin. The enormous curtains are velvet. The low ceiling is mirrored. If we were blind this would be our favorite room too. But being sighted, #10′s seductive Moroccan lanterns and brass tub that fills from the ceiling were not enough for us to get over the sheer darkness of this room and the feeling that at any moment a leather-clad dominatrix would walk through the door and start whipping us.
For less sadomasochistic accommodations that you won’t need a flashlight to find your way around we suggest the the £430-per-night room #3. It is much bigger than the photo (the first one, below) suggests. Large windows (not blacked out, as with some other rooms) let in some much needed natural light. And the exposed wood beams on the ceiling give the room a country touch.
Also suggested is the hotel’s English restaurant. If you think all British food is bad and bland a dinner here will quickly change your mind. The restaurant, like the whole of the Crazy Bear Hotel, is about defying expectations.
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