A Special member of staff

Lady_Hamilton_Hotel_-_LobbyStep into the reception of any World class hotel and you will be invariably greeted at the desk by an attractive young woman or handsome young man, always eager to help and make your stay as pleasant as possible, in the hope that you will visit them again or recommend the hotel to family and friends, was the room comfortable, the service and food good, all questions to make your stay as pleasant as possible. The facilities vary from hotel to hotel; some rely on Old World charm with a magnificent location, others modern and stylist, it’s a very competitive market.

If you have the good fortunate to step into the reception of the Sola Strand Hotel, in Sola Sola StrandNorway, you will be greeted by a remarkable member of staff, she has been with the hotel since around 1822, she does not talk nor has she moved much in the past 190 years, her only wages are the occasional touch-up with the hotels handyman paint brush,  “Mathilda Christiane” started her working  life high  on the bow of a Swedish bark, tragedy struck  in 1822 when she came to grief off the Norwegian coast near to  Jaeren, rescued from the wreckage  she found her way to Sola, until the early 1930’s she could be seen welcoming guests outside by the main entrance until a major redesign  of the hotel found her a new and more comfortable resting place looking over the shoulders of guests at reception, this hotel is located in beautiful surroundings at Solastranden Beach, a short drive from Stavanger Airport Sola, and only a fifteen minutes drive from the bustling city of Stavanger, the Sola Strand Hotel offer its guests modern hotel comfort, with outstanding views,  90 bright bedrooms, a first class restaurant and excellent event facilities, as well as two well-equipped conference centres and Nordsjøbadet Spa, the distinctive style, atmosphere and comfort you find here has been the hallmarks of the hotel for almost 100 years. “Mathilda Christiane” makes your stay a welcoming, memorable and personal experience.

Collectors HotelWhy have one when you can have a whole collection of wonderful Ships Figureheads to look at, Gunnar Bengtsson founder of the Collectors Hotel group in Stockholm would very much agree, with a life long passion for all things Nelson and Nautical Gunnar has been able to build up over the past 40 years Europe’s largest private collection of authentic Ships Figureheads, each hotel in this fascinating group has it’s own unique collection of figureheads greeting guests throughout it’s public rooms, all the hotels in this group are within easy reach of each other in the historic vibrant centre of Stockholm, the Lord Nelson Hotel is known as Sweden’s narrowest hotel, with it’s  Jugend-style it  is housed in a seventeenth  century building  reminiscent of a ship, a full length free standing figurehead known to members of the staff as  Horatio is on hand at reception to give guests a idea of what other treasures lie beyond, as with all the hotels in this group the rooms at the Lord Nelson are stylist, comfortable and welcoming with all the modern facilities we have come to expect in first class accommodation, each hotel also has an extra element that lifts it from it’s competitors, at the Lord Nelson it’s a wonderful rooftop terrace offering magnificent views over the rooftops of the medieval Old Town, a perfect place to linger over a cup of coffee,    a few steps away stands the Lady Hamilton Hotel situated within sight of the Royal Palace and the Cathedral in “Gamla Stan” a beautiful full length nineteenth century female figurehead in her blue dress and rose held to her chest, stands in the hotels lobby she is the perfect receptionist, looking around the ground floor reception rooms other Figureheads appear,  the hotels breakfast Room has figureheads on almost every wall; stylised comfort is the byword in all the hotels for those who appreciate the fine things in life, as it says on the hotel publicity leaflet “You can’t get any closer to history than this”, following on with the Nelson theme are the Victory Hotel and Victory Conference rooms, standing opposite each other, on Lilla Nygatan one of Stockholm’s historic streets,  between them they hold the major part of this collection, the building housing the Victory Hotel was famous long before Gunner and his family moved in to create this unique hotel experience, in 1937 a great hidden treasure of over 18,000 silver coins was uncovered by workmen looking for a well, valued at more than 100 million krona, it’s discovery made World wide news,  many items from this find can be seen in the Coin Museum, a short distance away,  figureheads have fascinated mankind since ancient times, perhaps because they cause us to fantasise about the events they must have been witness to, this fascination is written on the faces of each carving,  each of  the hotels in this wonderful group have that unique feeling, with all the facilities you would expect in modern hotels, award winning restaurant and more. For anyone with a love and interest in the subject of Ships Figureheads, if you have the good fortune to find your self in Stockholm and are looking for that very special place to stay, the Collectors Hotel group have the perfect set of Hotels that cannot fail to please and stimulate at the same time.

In 1942 a British Mine Sweeper trawled out of the North Sea  off the coast of Ireland what it thought was the body of a lost seaman,  thankfully it turned out to be something quite different, what the British sailors had found was in fact a very interesting Merchant  ships figurehead in the form of a mid nineteenth century gentleman, possibly the ships  owner in all his finery with an impressive looking top hat, originally he was believed to have come from the wreck of a British Man-o-War from the late eighteenth century, for many years he has been an important fixture in the Trident Hotel, at the evocative sounding Worlds End, Kinsale, Co Cork, with its spectacular location on the towns historic waterfront,  offering  as it does some of the best sea views in Kinsale, the sad thing is his true identity may never be known, his secrets hidden deep inside,  he now looks over dinners in the hotels cosy wharf tavern, a traditional style bar, with a warm feel that  is popular with locals as well as visitors, serving a wonderful choice of menus,  with regular live music, the Trident Hotel has 75 rooms with 2 master suites with their own private balconies, a full leisure centre and pool and is one of the few hotels in Co Cork with free High-speed internet access ideal for sending e-mails to friends and family showing photos of this unique member of staff looking over you in the Wharf Tavern, all the above hotels have what one would expect in first class accommodation, beautiful locations, great staff and service second to none, they also have that special ingredient, and that is the special members of staff that will always be with them, and remain at there post day and night, I am sure other hotels around the World have Figureheads to greet guests,  the fun is to find them, as they say watch this space.  

VISIT THE HOTELS IN THIS ARTICLE.

The Sola Strand Hotel
Axel Lundsvel 27, 4050 Sola NORWAY,
Telephone: 447 5194 3084.
Web address www.sola-strandhotel.no

The Lord Nelson Hotel
Vasterlanggatan 22, 111 29 Stockholm, SWEDEN
Telephone: +46 8 -506 401 20
Web address www.thecollectorshotels.se

The Lady Hamilton Hotel
Storkyrkobrinken 5, 111 28 Stockholm, SWEDEN
Telephone: +46 8 -506 401 00
Web address www.thecollectorshotels.se

The Victory Hotel
Lilla Nygatan 5, 111 28 Stockholm, SWEDEN
Telephone: +46 8 -506 400 00
Web address www.thecollectorshotels.se

Victory Conference
Lilla Nygatan 5, 111 28 Stockholm, SWEDEN
Telephone: +46 8 -506 400 20
Web address www.thecollectorshotels.se

The Trident Hotel
World’s End, Kinsale, Co Cork, IRELAND
Telephone: 00353 (0) 21 4779300
Web address www.tridenthotel.com