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Star-Struck at the Almost Marigold Hotel

Page 1

Elizabeth Terry

Our driver couldn’t find the front door.

‘Don’t you know where the Colonial Hotel is?’ I queried.

‘Around here. Roadworks!’ he explained, then grinned, explaining some of the interior shots of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel were filmed at our hotel. An unnecessary sales pitch, we were already there. I reminded myself to check Google.

We walked in. I thought Bill Nighy might appear. He was so good in that movie and so cute on the motor scooter. ‘Oldest Colonial hotel in India’, the documentation indicated, and the receptionist confirmed. The Viceroy Room was huge, the best in the hotel, though there were only four others. I realised the driver was potentially confusing it with the Viceroy Club in the movie. Huge ceiling fans labored. There was no air-conditioning. The verandah was expansive, twice the size of most hotel rooms, the bathroom bigger than most houses.

I googled the interiors of The Marigold Hotel. No resemblance to ours. The butler/waiter/cleaner/multi-skilled assistant knocked on our door at dusk in a panic, to close the verandah shutters, obviously aware of the troops of mosquitoes lingering, perhaps sending scout mosquitoes to park themselves on the window ledge in anticipation of table lamps being turned on and maybe a bite of dinner. I’m a susceptible target. They apparently like A+ blood, so I once read.

There was no TV. Was that so we could relax and not hear about riots or the spread of deadly viruses, epidemics and possible pandemics? I thought of Bill again with his sexy and awkward charm. Would he demand TV? Our hotel receptionist, seemingly incongruous in this environment, spoke with the most lilting of accents, ‘The owner of this ‘otel is also Australian. What would you like for dinnaire?’

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