Life through my myopic eyes.

Urban Exploration: The Abandoned Hotel – Just A Coffee Break Away


The back of the reception desk and bar.

*DO TO THE FACT THAT THIS HOTEL VISIT WAS NOT OFFICIALLY SANCTIONED, I HAVE NOT GIVEN THE NAME OR THE LOCATION. BUT, FOR THE CURIOUS, IT IS IN THE UNITED KINGDOM.*

**This has been posted because of the interest generated by my other post about Urban Exploration. Time will tell if this is a popular enough feature to make it a regular thing.**

1. The building and it’s abbreviated history. 

The hotel first opened in the late 1500’s. It has been known by two names, one was when it first opened. In more modern times it was known by another. Writers, painters, politicians and celebrities have stayed in the hotel over the years. Infuriatingly I can’t find a specific date for when the hotel closed down. There are plenty of references to the fact that this historic place now houses a world famous coffee house and a hiking gear retailer, but, no date anywhere about when it closed its doors for the last time.

It had to be open as late as 2003 because I remember going there for a work’s party. It was old and had the look of a shabby but stately lady who’d seen better days. The carpet was plush, if a bit faded and the walls and ceilings were stained almost dark brown from cigarette, cigar and pipe smoke that had been exhaled over the years.

My daughter worked at the newly fitted coffee house and it became a regular talking point amongst the employees as to what sort of condition the place was still in, whether squatters were living there and if it were haunted. One of the coffee house managers told them that he had keys to the hotel and if they wanted to have a look to let him know and he’d give them the keys.

2. Entering the Dragon.

My daughter and a colleague decided to take him up on the offer and one day after their shift had finished they did indeed ask for the keys. Armed with the keys and nothing else but a growing sense of excitement they unlocked the door and went in.

Last orders, please. The Bar area of the hotel.

Despite the fact that the hotel had only been closed for a few years everything was covered in a thick layer of dust. This was probably due to the advanced age of the building itself, it was built in the late 1500’s and old places tend to manufacture dust, and it’s location in the town center.

The electricity was off and the whole downstairs area was dark, dank, and eerie. It was also deathly quiet. The entire hotel, in fact, felt as if it had been wrapped in an insulating layer of cotton wool that refused to allow the noise of the busy town to invade its dead halls.

The two coffee shop explorers wandered over to the reception desk and found most of the room keys were still mounted on the board behind the desk. Telephones and stationary still adorned the counter top. Letter boxes still awaited post for guests who were never going to stay there again.

My daughter’s exploration mate found where the mains electric box was and he turned on the electricity. The entire hotel hummed visibly as the electrics geared up and started running up and down its three floors. They both went to the lift (elevator) and went up to the first floor (second floor in the US).

They headed down the hallway and looked in rooms with open doors. Some of the rooms were in complete disarray, while a few others still had beds with linen on. They looked like a guest had just awakened and thrown the covers back to get out of the dusty bed.

In one room, they found holiday snaps (pictures) that a guest had left behind. Pictures of a better time, perhaps, but in the haste of leaving and heading to their next destination had been left behind. No one it seems from the hotel staff had bothered to collect the pictures and see that they were sent to the missing owner.

Still very clean, considering. You could spend the night here.

Besides an air of sadness the hotel felt as though it were still inhabited by some sort of ghostly guests. “The rooms,” my daughter said, “felt as though the floors, ceilings and walls were full of memories just waiting to come out and be noticed.” Not too surprisingly they both began to get a bit spooked by the place.

Especially after they’d found the ‘bird room.’

One of the hotel’s guest rooms had a broken window and birds from around the town had obviously set the room up as a giant nest haven and nursery for their young offspring. Nests littered the walls and floor. Broken eggshells and loose feathers were scattered everywhere. The only thing missing were the birds.

As they rode the lift down to the ground floor and turned the electricity off, they heard noise coming from the vacant floors where they’d just been moments before. This added to the already spooky feeling that they both felt growing in them. The beat a hasty retreat to the hotel’s connecting door to the coffee shop and it wouldn’t open.

Fighting back a rise of panic they began to bang on the heavy oak door to get someone’s attention. Finally after what seemed an age the manager opened the door. With raised eyebrows he asked them why they hadn’t just opened the door themselves as it was unlocked.

The creepy and slightly gross ‘bird room.’

They explained that it must have been locked or stuck. The manager shook his head. “No to both of those ideas,” he said, “It wasn’t locked and I opened it with one finger on this side.” My daughter and her colleague looked at each other and said, “Oh.”

3. The big finish.

The first floor hallway.

Neither one of them ever went back to tour the old place again. Like Shirley Jackson‘s The Haunting of Hill House, whatever walks the halls of that hotel, walks alone.

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Categorised in: Culture, Entertainment, Reflective, Social, Urban Exploration

8 Responses »

  1. Great extension article, Mike! Hope you enjoyed your ‘Christmas’ goodies to the fullest! :) This actually reminds me of a very similar account that I had back in highschool, while I was working for a film and memorabilia store in the local mall. This one day, I’d decided to walk from the highschool itself to get to the mall, as it was only a ways down the road. There’s a large hill overlooking the mall, and atop it there once sat an old hotel, until a couple of years ago when they finally tore it down in favor of a diner they’ve recently started building. No one went around the place, and the road leading up to it was always empty. I had no intention of exploring it though, I had to be to work afterall, but taking that road cut my walk in half by at least 1/3, and my time was running a little short for my shift. The grass around the hotel had definitely been allowed to grow ‘freely’, and as I drew closer to the hotel itself, it became more evident that the place had been abandoned for a long time. It was funny, because I’d remembered the hotel sitting there on that hill in the distance since I was a little kid, every time my parents had taken my to the mall, but I’d assumed people were using it. They weren’t. There was a kind of mix between excitement and hesitation as I came up to the building itself; it was a pretty imposing structure. The pavement of the road and parking area was cracked and faded, and that same tall grass had grown up through those cracks, leaving it with an overly dead feeling. Now, the hotel’s positioning relative to the mall itself formed a 90 degree angle, so I had to walk by the whole stretch of the place to get to the other side of the hill, where I could then finish to my destination. It was as I was walking by the place that it got creepy. It’s a cliched thing, I’m sure, but as I went, I stopped and looked to my right, at the front doors. Locked, and quite well I’ll add. Not that I had the intention of going inside, but still, curiosity’s a funny thing sometimes. So I kept going, and as I did so, I passed by every room on that side of the hotel’s ground level. All the curtains were stripped away from its overly large windows, and you could see everything within the rooms, sometimes even into the other rooms across the hallway, where the doors had been left open. Now this was a lot like what you’d said before, about a place looking like it was left in hurry, because that’s exactly what it felt like here. Most rooms still had a bed or other furniture, and everything was always a mess. What smaller items there were, they looked like they’d been tossed around. I remember one room was completely filled with graffiti, while the next room was entirely empty, save for a single chair sitting at the room’s center, and in front of it sat a child’s toy; something like a rocking horse, only it wasn’t. I honestly don’t know what it was, but that scene in particular was insanely eerie, and it’s stayed with me since. I kept moving, but continued glancing inside after every few steps, thinking about all of the people who’d stayed there. Your mind wanders, and you think about the memories inside, lost to time, and never to be relived. That was basically when my ‘trick of the eye’ moment happened. For literally an instant, it appeared as though someone was walking parallel to myself, down the hall dividing the rooms. The only reason this person, or whatever it was, would have been visible was because the bedroom door was wide open. It was such an instantaneous thing, but I remember just standing there and staring, not moving for at least a few seconds. My mouth may have been open too. lol It was one of the few times I’ve ever really been creeped out. Needless to say, I didn’t take that shortcut very often after that, and if I did, I didn’t stop for the view. :) It’s weird though, part of me was a little disappointed when they tore it down. As I said, there’s a diner there now, though it’s still under construction. I’ll have to stop in once it’s open. Creepy to think I could be sitting down right where that chair and the child’s toy had been. See, Mike? This whole ‘urban exploration’ thing is a great topic! :)

    • Whoa. That sounds like one of those heart stopping moments! I’ve had a few of those. Hotels are very creepy when they are empty. Especially so if there are things strewn about like they were dropped while the occupants were rushing out. I definitely think that folks are really into the tactile and visceral experiences of visiting these ‘out-of-bound’ places. Like you said, when you look at the abandoned place, the idea of the memories of the building going unnoticed seems sad. I believe I would have had a stroke if I’d ‘seen’ someone in a place so obviously empty.

      Great story dude! Thanks for sharing it. Let me know if you visit the diner and if you pick up any residual ‘weirdness’ while you’re there.
      Cheers mate!

  2. This is really cool, Mike. There’s always something so fascinating about visiting abandoned buildings. Would love to visit this old hotel. :D

    • Unfortunately there is not a lot left of it, if anything at all. The hiking retail place took up two floors of the old girl and I think the rest is now storage. Progress, eh? Cheers for commenting mate! :-)

  3. hello… this is another excellent piece of writing, thanks…. am glad i found your site. regards ;)

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