Luxury Hotels


Girlahead is a history hound. In England we are coming up to the bicentenary of the death of stage coaches, killed off by railways. Until then, hotels, or rather inns, were vital components of travel…

Early stage coach travel was not exactly speedy – in 1673, it was recorded that travelling seven miles an hour was the norm. Coaches ran on set routes and passengers joined or got off at a lodging staging post, where horses were swopped with 17th century speed that undoubtedly bore no comparison to F1’s in-the-pit wheel changes today.

There were many challenges – weather, coach malfunction, and such highwaymen as Dick Turpin, a former butcher hanged, aged 33, for theft. Such characters did not deter investment in travel. The ‘Flying Coach’, for instance, was introduced 1754 to carry passengers on set routes at eight miles per hour. Next came the addition of mail coaches to transport letters and parcels in a faster, safer and more efficient way. By 1797 there were forty-two coach routes throughout the country, linking most major cities and carrying both stagecoaches and mail coaches, travelling at the lightning speed of 12 miles per hour. Each route had four coaches per route, including two spare coaches.

Horse travel may have disappeared but the idea of staging-post-hostelries remained. Girlahead met up, as planned, with two dear friends, Yaroslav Gorovy and Yuriy Horovvy, above, at FOUR SEASONS HAMPSHIRE. Why there? Well, it’s a jolly good polace and it also happened to be halfway between their place and her place. Throw in good parking and, my goodness, hotels make ideal staging posts. And no need, today, for spare horses.