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The Sea Tractor en route to Burgh Island in early springtime


to stay for the weekend and stayed for three weeks, writing Room with a View here. And, most importantly, where Agatha Christie came to write in The Beach House - now a smart hotel suite but then a writer’s hut perched over the waves, and in a small pavilion built for her on the Island’s cliffs. How can the modern visitor step


into Mrs Christie’s shoes? Theatri- cal inspiration is abundant in the atmosphere of the Island, the almost literal step back into a pre- War age of sophistication. Black tie dining is normal in the Ball Room, and guests take the opportunity to spend precious time on themselves and their partners. At Burgh Island Hotel, the music is in period, with live music twice a week: an external dance floor tempts you outside under the stars in good weather. As for the other staple of the roar- ing ‘20s and ‘30s, the cocktail: there is no escaping its magic and pull. However, if you want to follow in Dame Agatha’s footsteps, you’ll have to stick to cream! Agatha was a fervent teetotaller and her indul- gence was simply straight cream, with no twist. During the day, the Island envi- ronment is a perfect microcosm.


26 The American


From silver beaches, swept clean by the daily tides, to rugged cliffs and all the coastal wildlife you could want, it’s a playground as well as a party palace. And you can follow in Mrs Christie’s footsteps by day (if you’ve not yet got round to writing your novel) by taking a surf lesson on the beach. Christie, as well as Edward VIII, was an avid fan of “surf riding” in which a long 6 foot board, looking rather like a door and quite square at both ends, was the mode of conveyance over the waves. In 1938, feeling the winds of


the coming War, Christie bought a nearby house for £6,000. Greenway House was to be her country resi- dence for the rest of her life and can be visited easily on a day trip from Burgh Island. But maybe she never lost the feel for Art Deco; in 1940 she bought one of the Isokon flats in Lawn Road, Hampstead where the modernist lines echo the iconic facade of the Burgh Island Hotel. So, thank you Dame Agatha


Christie, for your legacy and your spirit, and congratulations on your 125th anniversary. If you were to visit today you would find the hotel you knew much changed as we slip into the 21st century but in so many ways the same: we like our


guests to dress for dinner and to relax completely during the day, away from all cares of the mainland world; we don’t encourage the digital but have wifi throughout as needed; we don’t do mini-bars but do do 24 hour rooms service; our staff are friendly but not intrusive or obsequious - and they all know, and care about, our history, including the Christie legacy. Many guests describe their stay as a “step back in time” but Burgh Island Hotel is what it always was: a private place for couples and good friends to connect, enjoy themselves without modern distractions and take great memories back home. Maybe one will even write a novel one day that will cross countries and cultures as yours still do.


Deborah Clark Owner, Burgh Island


www.burghisland.com www.nationaltrust.org.uk/green- way/ www.modernistbritain.co.uk/post/ building/Isokon+Building/ www.museumofbritishsurfing.org. uk/2012/03/01/museum-of-british- surfing-opens-april-6-2012/


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