Gleneagles Hotel, Torquay
The Gleneagles Hotel is a hotel in Torquay, Devon, England. It is best known as the inspiration for the British situation comedy Fawlty Towers. It was owned by Donald Sinclair until 1973. The hotel contains 41 rooms and is owned by Best Western.
The Gleneagles was not originally built as a hotel but was modified to become one. The hotel was first opened in 1963 and was managed by Donald Sinclair. It was initially described as "upmarket" because it advertised private bathrooms in every room. In the early 1970s, cast members of Monty Python's Flying Circus stayed at the Gleneagles for a planned three weeks, while filming in Paignton. Due to Sinclair's rudeness towards them, which included criticising Terry Gilliam's table etiquette and tossing Eric Idle's briefcase out of a window "in case it contained a bomb", the cast left the hotel apart from John Cleese and his wife, Connie Booth. Cleese described Sinclair as "the most marvellously rude man I've ever met" and based his Basil Fawlty character on him when he and Booth created Fawlty Towers five years later. Sinclair sold the Gleneagles in 1973. A key reminder of the Sinclair legacy remains at Gleneagles the 41 rooms all have names such as Coral or Mimosa. This was introduced in the Sinclair era of Gleneagles.
In August 2003, developers submitted plans to demolish the hotel and build a block of flats on the site, claiming the building was "unattractive with little architectural merit". In October, Torbay Town Council rejected the application, claiming that it would be against its rules of tourism. In September 2006, Prunella Scales, who played Sybil Fawlty, was "guest of honour" at the reopening of the hotel after a £1,000,000 makeover. The hotel is currently a part of the Best Western hotel chain.
In popular culture
- Savill, Richard (18 May 2002). "Fawlty hotelier was bonkers, says waitress". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 6 January 2014.
- "The Gleneagles Hotel, Torquay". Seasidehistory.co.uk. Retrieved 6 January 2014.
- Lethbridge, Henry J. (1 October 2003). Torquay & Paignton: the making of a modern resort. Phillimore. p. 201. ISBN 978-1-86077-260-3.
- "Sybil back at Fawlty Towers". BBC. 18 September 2006. Retrieved 6 January 2014.
- Drum, Rosie (22 July 2011). The Simple Life?: A Candid Account of Rosie Drum's Life from 1960s Scotland. p. 20. ISBN 978-1-4628-9296-9.
- "'Fawlty' hotel may be demolished". BBC News. 21 August 2003. Retrieved 6 January 2014.
- "'Fawlty' hotel saved from threat". BBC News. 8 October 2003. Retrieved 6 January 2014.
- "BBC Two – Fawlty Towers, Series 1, The Builders". BBC. 9 November 2012. Retrieved 6 January 2014.