One of the wonders of London is the plethora of hotel mascots.
From Kaspar the Cat at The Savoy (who sits at the table whenever there would otherwise be thirteen guests) to the rubber ducks at Apex Hotels (waiting for guests’ in their bath tubs) and at The Stafford (in normal and super sizes, depending on the guest’s preference), there are several hotels in London with animal friends. But I did think only the Goring Hotel had sheep – wooden creatures with real fleece and rather sweet little beasts (I bet they’re a devil to keep clean though).We used to think The Goring was the only London hotel which kept sheep (spot this one kneeling in front of the bed)…
But to my great surprise, I discovered sheep during my stay at the Radisson Blu Edwardian Mercer Street too. A bright golden sheep to be precise, which guards the reception area. I suppose that makes his wool the Golden Fleece, so he’d better be careful in case any local Argonauts decide to steal him. Reception staff were quite proud of him, but no one could tell me how he got there. Maybe he just likes the hotel’s free WiFi?The little sheep did seem very lonely in the vastness of the stylish hotel lobby…
I do wonder if he is getting lonely. After all, sheep are herd animals, as the Goring with its flock of sheep all over the hotel clearly knows. But he (or she, perhaps? You can’t tell) is all on his lonesome in Mercer Street.
There aren’t even any other animals to talk to – not even in surrounding hotels in Covent Garden as far as we know. There’s a big sculpture of a howling human head elsewhere in the hotel, but I don’t think it would make good conversation – it would probably just carry on screaming. And there’s a huge sofa, a sort of baroque confection with an unfeasibly high back – but I don’t think this sofa can talk, even though it looks as if (like in Terry Pratchett’s The Luggage) it could scuttle off quite fast on its elegant feet.Trying to make friends with or even just climbing onto such a huge sofa could also be an intimidating experience for a little sheep
Upstairs there’s a Chinese sage, with his contented features and wispy beard, on the side table of the landing by the lift. He might be good company for the sheep – he looks a happy fellow, but he’d have to jump off the table and make his way downstairs in the depths of the night when no one would notice. And I don’t know whether the sheep speaks Chinese.
Or there’s the miniature pheasant that sits on top of the birdcage in the Dial restaurant. I rather like the fact that he’s sitting on the cage, and not in it – clearly Radisson Blu Edwardian believes in free range pheasants, which is only humane. And in this case I know the bird is a ‘he’, since he sports the glorious green head and drunken red face of the cock pheasant. I can just imagine his conversation with the sheep going: “Honk. Honk.” “Baa.” And again: “Honk.” Not particularly enlightening.We thought that maybe the cock pheasant could keep the sheep company…
So what is to be done? Should the sheep perhaps be allowed to trot along the road and join his tribe in the Goring?
I think not. The Goring sheep are, after all, quite ordinary sheep with white wool. They’re the kind of sheep that likes a traditional English family owned hotel, and have traditional values – Savile Row, Jermyn Street, English-gentleman sheep. Whereas this chap is a Covent Garden sheep, a theatrical, operatic, over-the-top, golden-fleeced sheep who wants cutting edge tailoring with a bit of hip-hop bling added. He’s a sheep with a contemporary twist, a sheep with a decidedly quirky taste.
I don’t think he’d fit in at The Goring. No, the only thing they can do at Mercer Street is get another golden sheep to keep him company, or at least borrow the rams from The May Fair’s Atrium…then again they’re guarding one of the most stylish London meeting rooms, the Danziger Suite.The May Fair Hotel has its own rams in its Atrium; family reunion, anyone?
Please send us your ideas if you know of anybody we could pair the Mercer Street sheep up with to make him or her feel less lonely. You might also want to check out our top 10 London hotel mascots on our Pinterest page.
Photo credits: London Hotels Insight bloggers Andrea and Timea.