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Our little black book of enchanting places


Hotels with Agatha Christie connections by Maggie O'Sullivan

Posted in HOTELS + VILLAS By Maggie O' Sullivan


Devon’s annual International Agatha Christie Festival starts on Friday. It promises to be extra special this year as it’s the 125th anniversary of the Queen of Crime’s birth. Christie was clearly a woman after our own hearts: she loved travelling and many of her novels were written in, or inspired by, hotels. Here are six hotels with a strong Christie connection.

The Nile hotel

Agatha Christie wrote Death on the Nile, published in 1937, at the Old Cataract hotel in Aswan (above). She set the opening scenes here, too: this is where the characters assemble before embarking on their ill-fated Nile cruise. Even though the Old Cataract has been entirely refurbished since Christie’s day, it still has more than a whiff of Thirties glamour and you can easily imagine Christie settling into a wicker chair on the terrace overlooking the Nile. Naturally, the hotel has an Agatha Christie Suite.

The honeymoon hotel

Agatha Christie and her first husband, Archie, spent their honeymoon at The Grand Hotel in Torquay in 1914. The Agatha Christie Literary Trail begins at the hotel and many of the festival events will be based here, including a Vintage Cocktails Party, a Vintage Tea Dance and a Murder Mystery Night and brunch. And yes, you can stay in the Agatha Christie honeymoon suite. The mystery hotel

During the break up of her first marriage in 1926, Agatha Christie disappeared for 11 days. After one of the country’s largest ever manhunts, she was eventually found at The Old Swan (then the Swan Hydropathic Hotel) in Harrogate. There is no Agatha Christie suite at the hotel but The Old Swan does run regular Murder Mystery weekends – so if you’ve always fancied channelling your inner Poirot, this is the place to do it.The island hotel

Agatha Christie set two of her novels – And Then There Were None and Evil Under the Sun – in Burgh Island Hotel, with the 2002 TV adaption of Evil Under the Sun shot on location here. Only a few hundred metres from the mainland at Bigbury-on-Sea, this glamorous Art-Deco hotel is cut off at high tide and accessible only by sea tractor, making it the perfect location for a murder or two. Many of the rooms are named after former guests, including the Christie.The Orient Express hotel

Agatha Christie travelled on the Orient Express several times but is reputed to have written her 1934 novel, Murder on the Orient Express, at the Pera Palace Hotel in Istanbul. You can stay in Agatha Christie’s old suite (room 411), though given that the hotel is now a Jumeirah property, you can be sure it’s a lot more luxurious than it was in Christie’s day. There’s even an unsolved mystery involving a key found under the floorboards of room 411...The final hotel

The Imperial Hotel, perched on a clifftop above a few minutes' walk from the centre of Torquay, featured in Miss Marple’s last case, Sleeping Murder. The murderer was revealed on the hotel terrace, a suitably dramatic spot given the hotel’s sweeping views down over the English Riviera. It also turned out to be Agatha Christie’s last hotel as the novel was published postumously in 1976. Have a drink on the terrace while you try to work out whodunnit.

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