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What was the moment you realized you’d grown old? Walking through the door of your first house? Gazing into the eyes of your first child? Realising you can’t drink on a school night without being overcome by work shame the next day?
Laura Ashley: the middle class bête noir of our 1980s childhood. The Lake District: the middle class, middle aged holiday destination for ruddy-faced people whose idea of excitement is nibbling on a square of Kendal mint cake while perched halfway up a fell. OMG. When did we get so old?
Having said that, FOMO and all that means we’re already making plans to visit, for the funky glass-walled atrium, the views (25 of the 62 rooms are lake view), the sauna, and of course, the Laura Ashley décor.
They’ve come up trumps with this: modern, slate-walled bathrooms mixed up with claw-foot bath tubs, flatscreen TVs and bright, poppy colors matched with velvet sofas (a nod to velvet hairbands?), and – what surely would have been a cardinal sin back in 1980s Laura Ashley land – clashing prints (floral curtains with striped walls, stripy chairs with pinstriped carpets and neoclassical columns, that kind of thing). In short, it might be a bit too jolly hockey sticks for your house, but it’s exactly what you want from a country house retreat. Rooms start at an entirely reasonable £126.
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There's tons of hotel news flying around this week and we don't have time to give each and every story the love and attention it may deserve, so you will have to settle for some news briefs.
· The Laura Ashley Hotel Has Opened But Looks Nothing Like Our Old Dresss: After our mothers clothed us in Laura Ashley from head to toe for about a good five years and blanketed our childhood bedroom in, well, Laura Ashley blankets, pillows and wallpaper, you will have to excuse us for not being all that excited about the first Laura Ashley, The Manor to open. The Guardian reports that Hertfordshire Tudor revival property, 11 miles from London, will have 49 rooms featuring a "discreet modern bloom", neutral walls and carpets and check curtains. But we have to admit, looking at the gallery of rooms, they don't look anything like the floral abominations we were forced to wear as a child. Indeed, it looks like a quaint country getaway. Rooms start at £150 for a standard room.
The number of times our mother dragged us through a Laura Ashley store against our will must have had some sort of impact on us, because when we first read in The Guardian that the company would be launching their first-ever branded hotel later this year, we actually sat up and listened.
Then we remembered how much floral pattern bedding makes us want to jump off a balcony. Still, we know there are quite a few of you out there who would genuinely have an interest in staying here.
Enough people, at least, to warrant the brand spending £5.8 million on the refurbishment (read: Laura Ashley-ization) of a 49-room hotel in Hertfordshire, which will become yet another themed fashion hotel in the vein of Bulgari or Armani. Except in this case, rather than looking like a mental hospital, its floral-pattern-overload might drive some to check into one.