The Hotel Baron in Aleppo, opened in 1911, was once one of the most glamorous hotels in the middle east, if not the world, and was T E Lawrence’s base when he tired of the desert.
It is still here, shabby, trading on its former glory and full of the kind of bric a brac that would possibly cover the cost of a major refurbishment if sold on e-bay.
The leather furniture in the bar is surely original and keen-eyed readers may spot Johnny Walker and Black & White whiskey advertising figurines behind the bar.
The only whiskey bottle on display was empty.
There are original advertising posters for ‘Pan American – fly above the weather’ and ‘BOAC – gets you there faster’ and other airlines/car manufacturers long defunct.
The sitting room features a bill signed by Lawrence along with memorabilia from other well-known guests.
Our favourite is the original poster advertising Aleppo now framed in Reception.
We aren’t staying at the Baron which still charges around £60 per night for a double room (very expensive by local standards) but, for old times’ sake, we paid the equivalent of £1.50 for a pot of tea – and a chance to enter the time warp that is the Hotel Baron.