Hotel royalty: The Lord Nelson Hotel

Lounging in the Lord Nelson lobby

On Friday night we popped into the Victory Arms, the pub inside the Lord Nelson Hotel, to see if we could make some sense out of Inception (not the movie, rather the hype). First thing we noticed: the old leather club chairs were gone, replaced by these contemporary couches. But I think the elegant long length, clean lines and the creamy leather still works (much more than the overdone wedding floral arrangement in the centre of the lobby).

Many cities have at least one old hotel that inhabits a romantic place in its history. Where I grew up, in Kitchener, there was the Walper Hotel. My grandmother told stories of posh wartime dances; much later I went there for music shows down in its pub (the post Marcel Marceau and Liberace years). Sean’s parents had their wedding reception at the Lord Nelson; we stayed there the weekend before Sean was offered a job in Halifax. If it’s good enough for McCartney, Seinfeld and the White Stripes…

American author Howard Norman, whose fiction is often set in Halifax, mentions the Lord Nelson in his new novel, What is Left the Daughter. Read the NY Times excerpt here. I highly recommend The Museum Guard; two of his main characters live in the Georgian-styled hotel. I am not sure why so little attention is paid to his books here–is it because Norman’s an outsider? This is an interesting Q&A with Norman, where he describes his fascination with Halifax’s noirish atmosphere, and how certain places just capture the imagination. He also refers to the compelling lobby of Halliburton House Inn, another classic place to lay your head.

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