Excerpts from 1,100 word article which ends with reservations information


When we arrived at Langtry Manor the receptionist, Fiona, was talking earnestly on the telephone. "If I was getting married," she was saying, "I would definitely want to spend my wedding night here. I really can't think of anywhere more romantic...." While a 38th wedding anniversary isn't quite the same as a honeymoon, two days later I am as enthusiastic as Fiona. This love nest built by the Prince of Wales for his mistress Lillie Langtry in 1877, is a perfect setting for any romantic rendezvous.

Jersey Lillie was probably a woman born 50 years before her time. Oscar Wilde said he would rather have discovered her than America. But he didn't. It was Edward Prince of Wales, later to become King Edward V11, who discovered her beauty and charm and wit. He introduced her to London society, and to his mother Queen Victoria, and paid for this hideaway in the lovely East Cliff area of Bournemouth.

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The hotel has 17 guest rooms, each one comfortably furnished to period. The Prince's Suite is extraordinary. It had been divided into three rooms by the previous hotelier, and when Mrs Howard knocked out a wall she found a most wonderful fireplace. A massive structure of carved oak, it is decorated with hand-painted tiles depicting scenes of Shakespeare in gold leaf and blue. A heavily carved oak four poster looks suitably regal here topped by a Nottingham lace spread. The suite's table can be set for private dining. French doors open to a balcony. Something the prince didn't have is the luxurious bathroom ensuite. Other rooms and suites are very inviting. The Lillie Langtry suite is a dream, with a step up from the living area to a canopied bed and bathroom equipped with a jacuzzi. On their first evening, honeymoon couples receive a half bottle of champagne and fresh flowers in their room. The next day there is no need to comply with the dining room hours, because continental breakfast will be delivered at any time before noon.