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3 Dec 2012

Inspirational Settings: Hotels

For my NaNo WiP the main haunted location is the South Lakeside Inn, an old Tudor mansion that was converted into a hotel around the Victorian times and was built on old Church grounds.  It looks onto Bassenthwaite Lake in the Lake District and it's just a twenty minute walk from the fictional market town of Keston.  In the winter it tends to be quite isolated from civilisation.  The A66 next to the hotel can get quite treacherous in bad winter weather.  Not many people are travelling and business can slow down.  Also, it's plagued by disturbed, violent spirits dating back to witch trials. 

A haunted hotel has been lurking around my mind since summer when I went to Derwentwater in the Lake District and I caught sight of this hotel:

Photo credit

The Lodore Falls Hotel & Spa was stunningly creepy from the outside.  Inside I'm sure it's glamorous but all I could see was a huge hotel that overlooked Derwentwater in a secluded spot.  The outside structure of it also made it look quite sinister, snug between the trees there and I bet it can be quite a chilling sight when it's winter and everything is misty and grey.  And all you can see is this hotel towering over the lake. 

I do think hotels can be creepy.  Maybe I've watched The Shining too much but there can be something too quiet and spooky about hotels. 

For the last week of August me and Pete took a trip to Crawley where we stayed in a hotel.  It was an impressive building apart from a couple of spooky aspects:

1) Very Shining-esque corridors

The corridors were very narrow and the carpet pattern reminded me of the hotel's decor in the film.  Very old-fashioned looking and so silent during the day and the night.  There are no windows so all you're relying on are the hall lights... which constantly flickered.  This is where watching Supernatural becomes a problem.  You see a flickering light and you expect a ghost to appear.  As you walked under they'd hiss as they flickered.  Very eerie. 

2) Victorian photographs
There's something chilling about Victorian photographs and I found these while I was at the hotel in Crawley.  The people in them don't smile and just stare back at you blankly.  Also I can't help but think of their post-mortem photography craze so I keep having these absurd theories that maybe one of them or all of them in the photo are dead.  You can't really tell with some of the post-mortem photos.  It sparked an image of a narrow corridor with a Victorian photo on every wall.  In each one there's a person or people just staring back at you as you walk down it.

All these little aspects and features sparked the creation of the haunted South Lakeside Inn.  Flickering lights, creepy Victorian people, and a building standing in a secluded spot.  I looked up some more hotels for pinterest and pinned quite a few images of hotels that were reported to be haunted.  They're here if you're interested. The Tudor-like buildings are the ones that inspired the outside appearance of the hotel.  I love that style! :)

Hotels are brilliant for inspiring your fictional setting.  Take a good look at the next hotel you stay in.  It might spark something!

Have buildings sparked fictional settings for your WiPs before? 


  1. That first hotel is beautiful!

    Victorian photos - of the living or the dead - can be so sinister. I tell myself they were normal people who probably released sighs of relief once they photo was taken, but it's hard to remember that as you look at their serious expressions.

    Sounds like your story has an awesome setting ^_^

  2. I have yet to see the movie of THE SHINING, but as soon as you started talking about creepy hotels, that's where my mind went!

    You make an interesting point about Victorian photographs, Robin. There is something eerie about them, and I think it does have to do with the fact the subjects stood very still and straight-faced for their pictures. They look almost death-like. Certainly very sinister.