Save The Three Cups Hotel

The Three Cups Hotel

Campaigning for preservation of the hotel where J.R.R. Tolkien stayed and gained inspiration for his mythology. Jane Austen, G.K. Chesterton, Tennyson and H.W. Longfellow were also guests. The hotel featured in the film, “The French Lieutenant’s Woman”. Please send articles to me, Andrew Townsend, at or add a comment. Thanks to David Moss for all his work. Comments are closed at WDDC for the plans to redevelop the site but you can still write to the papers.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Heritage? Yes. Five star? Don't think so.

There is a very encouraging report on page 12 of the View From Lyme Regis of 1st May.

The town councillors have approved recommendations by Rikey Austin and Lucy Campbell that The Three Cups Hotel should be brought back into use as holiday accommodation excluding second homes. That's great but business will be lost to the town if the original bar, lounge, restaurant and function rooms are not available for visitors and local people to enjoy (and pay for).

I was puzzled by a statement in the article that there is a community organisation called "Save the Three Cups as a Heritage Hotel". I have a link to but that is not the name they use. I think referring to The Cups as a Heritage Hotel would be unhelpful; better to call it a Hotel with Heritage. Palmers have already got their consultants to produce figures to show that gutting the place and rebuilding it in new luxury style would not bring the return on investment they require. Quelle surprise! (As the French Lieutenant might have said.)

When I was at business school, financial decision making involved looking at market segmentation, scenario planning and sensitivity analysis. So come on, try harder. By the way, you can leave out the Monte Carlo Simulation. Lyme does not need a reputation as a gambling den! Joking apart, we know what the economic climate is going to be like in the next few years - dire. So, wouldn't it be better to think in terms of a family hotel or hostel, at least to begin with. That does not necessarily mean any lowering of standards for the town - rather it is likely to attract the very people who would appreciate Lyme's history and charms the most.

Last October, we travelled to Utrecht to visit my son who is studying there and stayed at the Hostel Strowis. If you follow this link (, you will see what a charming old building it is. We met and spoke to lots of interesting people there and apparently they do a roaring trade during the annual film festival. I'm sure Tolkien, Chesterton, Tennyson and other literati would have been quite at home there, not to mention John Fowles.


Blogger Andrew Townsend said…

I would like to clarify that I equate "heritage hotel" with luxury standard based on the USA hotel market illustrated by the Historic Hotels of America website (click on link in left panel or copy and paste And, I want to emphasise that in the current economic climate, the hostel / family hotel option looks like the best strategy for the people of West Dorset. It should certainly be included in the decision making process.


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