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The Evesham Hotel

Fawlty Towers? crack

That familiar cliché, “the lunatic is running the asylum” can sometimes ring true. Take the case of John Jenkinson. Just over a score and a decade ago, his family purchased the Mansion House, just off Coopers Lane in Evesham. It is
chastening to learn that during 1540 the house standing in 75 acres of ground, cost £63 4s 6d. The price of a full evening meal for two at The Evesham Hotel today. John and his wife Sue took over management in 1975.

Don’t be fooled by the bland façade as you approach the door to the
reception area. This unlikely three star hotel is listed among
the top ten privately owned stop-over’s in the country. Even more curious is the accolade of having the best lavatories in the kingdom. A fact, that gives John enormous pride.

By his own admission, “the nutter” who runs this place, makes the fictitious Fawlty Towers
appear monastic by comparison. John does
make a virtue out of political in-correctness. He has chosen to ignore the stifling European convention. After all, what is wrong with
making guests feel welcome. Kids are more than adequately catered for, while dogs and cats can also stay. Even orang-utans would be found somewhere to hang from the rafters.

John as a lad was an avid reader of the Beano comic. Hence the reason Denis the Menace might be encountered in public areas, where you find umpteen toys and stacks of board games. As for the swimming pool. Bearing in mind Evesham is about 100 miles from any coast line, you have your own indoor Skegness, Margate or wherever. The proprietor never really grew up. As the husband of a couple checking in informed me, they are regulars at this real home from home. Make any complaints to the management, you do get some abuse. So you give as good as you get.

I watched the couple being shown to their room; the man was carrying a teddy bear which turned out to be the uniform key fob. They must have been Prestbury punters, because they were
ushered into the equestrian room. Sue is
responsible for the interior design of the rooms, many of which are eccentrically themed.
Over lunch in the immaculately designed
dining room, I noticed a guest make for the
toilet. I turned my attention to the wine list and was overwhelmed by the choice of 150 wines from all over the world. French and German ‘plonk’ have not been listed since 1977. Whilst nourishing a wide selection from the buffet, an outrageous woman wiggled up to a table of four. She was festooned with teddy bears, carrying an iced birthday cake with a large sparkler erupting in the centre. The chastened guest was then regaled with “happy birthday to you” sung by the bears dangling over her bosoms. It suddenly
occurred to me; this ‘lady’ had the bushiest of eye brows. You guessed, this was the boss in drag.
It’s not just birthday’s that inspire John’s special
brand of lunacy. How about Christmas-
Easter parties! Over the years, the proprietor has watched guests stagger out of his Christmas
parties, not knowing the time of year. So with the approval of the Vicar of Evesham, he annually organises the Christmas/Easter parties. Guests really don’t have a clue what to expect. Rudolf or Bobtail? Turkey eggs or Easter eggs.
Whatever, everybody mad enough to indulge, enjoys an outrageous meal.

Oh, and the man whom I thought had died in the toilet. He returned to his table, holding his sides. For a moment, I thought he may have
suffered the Delhi-Belhi. Nothing of the sort. I soon discovered the cause after lunch. I was pointing Percy at the porcelain, when the most symphonic breaking of wind interrupted my flow. I turned to see this woman slumped on the floor. She turned out to be an elderly scare crow. The wall over the urinals is papered with
hilarious lavatorial literacy, while a full length portrait of Marilyn Monroe decorated the
entrance door. The Ladies, I was informed, has its own poetic humour.

The Evesham Hotel prides itself upon staff
loyalty. One member was fired by John 25 years ago. And yet she, along with two-thirds of his employees, was celebrating their long standing service. Which says a lot for the court jester who runs the place!