Salvador Dali once asked room service at Le Meurice in Paris to send him up a flock of sheep. When they were brought to his room he pulled out a gun and fired blanks at them. George Bernard Shaw tried to learn the tango at Reid's Palace in Madeira, and the details of India's independence were worked out in the ballroom of the Imperial Hotel, Delhi.
The world's grandest hotels have provided glamorous backgrounds for some of the most momentous - and most bizarre - events in history.
Adrian Mourby is a distinguished hotel historian and travel journalist - and a lover of great hotels. Here he tells the stories of 50 of the world's most magnificent, among them the Adlon in Berlin, the Hotel de Russie in Rome, the Continental in Saigon, Raffles in Singapore, the Dorchester in London, Pera Palace in Istanbul and New York's Plaza, as well as some lesser known grand hotels like the Bristol in Warsaw, the Londra Palace in Venice and the Midland in Morecambe Bay.
All human life is to be found in a great hotel, only in a more entertaining form.