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Hotel Babylon

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Flingo 2nd March 2006 05:02 PM


An absolutely fascinating read.


I've been watching Hotel Babylon on the BBC, and each week saw the credit "Based on the Book by Imogen Edwards-Jones and Anonymous" so I decided to check it out.


I'm not sure if this is the best place for this thread, but Anonymous is the Manager of a Central London luxury hotel, and has been working in the City hotels for over 15 years, so I couldn't think of anywhere else to place it.


The book is very different to the TV Series, rather than being a string of chapters each containing certain guests and episodes as the BBC do, it takes a number of Anon's experiences and portrays them as if they have happened over the course of 24 hours. Each chapter is an hour of the day. Although it seems to be a rather eventful day, it is believable, and many of the tales are clearly regular occurances in the hotel business.


The reader accompanies one of the fictional "Hotel Babylon's" receptionists, as he is forced to work a double shift. We never learn the name of the receptionist, and it is told in the first person.


Edward-Jones is an incredibly sensitive author. She writes with a style that is on one hand as investagative journalistic, but at the same time really influences the people's stories. She is easy to read, but her descriptions really put the reader in her hotel. Something that I admired the most was her ability to make the reader tire with her character as he goes through the 2nd half of his 24 hour shift.


I will certainly never look at a hotel in the same way again, but while the TV series is trying to shock hotel clients more, the book made me feel a much bigger empathy with the hotel employees than I expected. Even those you wish you dislike, you understand are a product of their working environment.


While I now disagree more with the TV Series portrayal, Dexter Fletcher is incredibly well cast as Tony, the concierge. And I will still enjoy the TV show, taking it in it's own right as a drama rather than an expose!




My Friend Jack 3rd March 2006 08:50 AM



I thought Les Dennis's appearance last night was quite bizzare! He was on screen for about 10 seconds, playing himself being caught with a suitcase full of items stolen from his hotel room. Either he's really desperate, or he is happy to take the mickey out of himself. Hopefully the latter, which I qould quite admire.


I agree that the character of Tony is brilliantly acted. Every time I see him, I feel I've met him in real life. A rare achievement for an actor, to be be able to convince an audience in such a way.


Thanks for the review, Flingo, I think Mrs Jack might enjoy the book, so I'll keep an eye out for it (and I'd probably have a peek myself).




Flingo 3rd March 2006 10:19 AM



MFJ - I think Les Dennis is just happy to take the mickey - compare to his role on Extra's.


Happy to help with the review, hope Mrs Jack (and yourself) enjoy it as much as I did!




Mungus 19th July 2006 08:39 PM



Just read this one. I enjoyed it as a good bubblegum type book, enjoyable but no substance. Not that it claims to be anymore, and that was just what I wanted. It does offer a unique insight into the mysterious world of a top hotel and some of the anecdotes are priceless. I didn't see the TV series so can't compare.




Adrian 13th August 2006 07:38 AM


Quite a good read and a good insight into the world of top London hotels. At least I imagine so, never having stayed at anything better than a Sussex Gardens B & B :(

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