The Celtic Hotel in Bloomsbury is a long-standing EuroCheapo favorite and continually gets great visitor reviews, thanks in a huge part due to its welcoming staff. I had the pleasure of spending the afternoon with one of its owners, Rosanna Marazzi, to find out more about some of the charms of the hotel.
Tell me about how you came to be running the Celtic Hotel.
I came from Italy after the war. I was a trained teacher and I thought that by working in London, I would learn English. Instead I met my husband, fell in love and that was it!
I’ve been here 47 years, and it’s five years since I’ve been managing the Celtic. My husband and his family have always lived in Bloomsbury, Russell Square. And I loved this area too. There’s the British Museum, Charles Dickens House, Sir John Soane Museum. It’s a very interesting, smart area. It’s full of history.
This building looks like it’s full of history too.
It’s Grade II listed. I would think it dates to the 19th century. It’s different to the standard hotel. The way it looks and the way it’s shaped, it reminds you of the past. Some of the rooms are small – in London space is so precious! We think that the three buildings forming the present hotel were a private residence. Most rooms still have the original fireplaces and the lovely high ceilings.
Whilst doing renovations, we discovered some pretty earthenware chamber pots in a partition. They were probably from the early days when ensuite didn’t exist, even in palaces. There are only 14 of them left now, as people wanted them as historical souvenirs. I use mine as flowerpots.
And I can see from the scaffolding outside, you’re doing further renovations?
We’re re-painting and repairing the front of the building and, at the end, it will be complimented with window flower boxes. The interior is pleasant and homey.
Have you had regular visitors over the last five years?
Yes, I would say that we have had regular visitors for many years as they followed us from St. Margaret’s, our previous hotel. Some have become dear friends. In many cases we have the privilege of welcoming the first and second generation of various families. Many people from all over the world call the Celtic hotel “our home in London” as they did for St. Margaret’s hotel.
Is it that feeling which makes the Celtic Hotel unique, do you think?
Yes, and it is the kind, friendly and respectful service we offer to all visitors because we wish them to go away with happy memories to cherish. We have been and are rewarded with a very positive response.
That must help you enjoy your work.
Yes, I enjoy meeting people and working with good staff who share the same attitude.
And finally what do you advise your guests to do in London?
Visit the superb museums, which are free of charge, the art galleries and historical palaces. I also suggest visiting the financial part of the city which embraces the very antique architecture of Roman walls, St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Tower of London, many old churches and striking modern architecture such as the “Gherkin” and the Lloyds building. I’m not keen on the height, but I think the Shard is unbelievable. It’s a very different side of the city, as is Canary wharf.
Theaterland is within walking distance of the hotel and is also on our list of suggestions. After that I say, go and see the gardens because you see history there. We have so many gardens around us: Russell Square, Queen’s Square, Coram’s Fields, Tavistock Square, Lincoln’s Inn Fields. You walk for a bit and you find yourself in another one. They’re unique. It’s all part of the London experience.
Thanks for talking with us, Rosanna! We wish you continued success with the Celtic Hotel.