This is not a place for everyone. If you get worried when you notice that your room is listing a bit to the right, if you expect a maid to change your sheets daily, if you prefer a hotel with more than two phone lines (yes, you’ll sometimes get a busy signal when you call), then this is not the hotel for you. But if you’re the type who wants to try something really different, and who finds the idea of being cocooned in art interesting, then choose this 160-year-old hotel with the soul of William Blake in all of its wacky, joyous excess.
Over the years, the Carlton Arms has invited artists to paint murals and create unusual environments in their guest rooms, which many have done with wild glee (even Bansky added murals here). There’s the Egyptian Hallway, with mummy portraits of staff members; the Japanese Room, with its elaborate dragons and Buddhas; and the Goth Room, where “she-male” portraits leer down at the occupants. Affordable triples and quads available, too.
- Pauline Frommer