The Estalian Hotels of the Castello Chain

Agnes | Alicia | Catriona | Elspeth | Flora | Janet | Jenny | Kirsten | Mairie | Margaret | Mariotta | Morag | Seona

The Morag Hotel, City of Lotta

The Agnes Hotel, Smardogg

The Agnes Hotel: In the town of Smardogg this is one of the series of up-scale hotels in the Castello Chain established by the Italian immigrant Marcello Ponzini in the late 19th Century (after living in Glasgow for ten years, which explains his preference for Scottish women's names for his hotels). He started as a bistro cook and ended up as one of the great entrepreneurs of Estalia. There are a dozen or so of these castle-like hotels in various locations in the country, some of them built around older tower-houses, some built (like this one) new. They generally contain an inn or public bar, a bedroom/hotel wing, one or more dining rooms, and a tower that holds the more prestigious and expensive facilities. The Public House is called the 'Head of Ponzini' and has access to a Turkish bath on the floor above at the southern end of the loggia near the restaurant (the other dining room, the Great Hall in the tower, being for residents only). The plan here only shows the ground and first floors. There is a third floor to the hotel wing, and the tower itself is five stories tall. Ponzini himself lived in the topmost part of the tower in his later years.

The Kirsten Hotel, Lash-l'rou

The Kirsten Hotel is located in the town of Lash-l'rou just east of the Pogin-mim mound that houses the University of Estalia. One of the premier hotels in the Castello Chain, it nevertheless has only eight guest rooms. There is also, of course, the saloon, known as "The Student Riot" but officially "The University Arms"; it is not, however, a hang-out not for students but rather for faculty, who also frequent the dining room and its adjoining chambers. The Card Room is the unofficial club-house for the conservative faction. This hotel was built entirely new in 1897, although it, like all the other hotels, has a Scottish Baronial style appearance.

Janet Hotel, Pumfrit

The Janet Hotel in the Pogin-mim town of Pumfrit is the smallest hotel in the Castello Chain. It is a simple tower-house with an adjoining bar ('The Pumfrit Head'); there are only four additional bedrooms on the two upper floors not shown here. There are two-storied roundels on the corners, which give the building a French chateau appearance.

The Catriona Hotel, Village of Ho

Ho is a small town in the Poggit Hills that is known for its fine Catriona Hotel (jocularly known locally as "Ho House"), a noted stopping-over place for travellers between Estonia and Kajuddur. The hotel, while small, is a good example of one of Ponzini's efforts. Only the ground floor is shown here. On the left is the Guest House (four bedrooms in two additional stories for affluent visitors), to the southwest, overlooking the garden, the public house ("The Blue Stallion") with servants' quarters above, on the east side the restaurant and hotel (ten bedrooms on two upper floors), and in the middle the old tower-house, which is now a private residence and office for the hotel chain.

The Elspeth Hotel, Lar'min

The Elspeth Hotel is part of the Castello Chain of hotels established by the Italian immigrant Marcello Ponzini in the late 19th Century. They are 'quality' accommodation for rich merchants and other travellers who like a castellated or manorial type treatment. Some of them re-used remnants of old castles or tower-houses, but this one was built from scratch in 1912. Others in the chain can be found in various places on this web site. Only the ground and first floors are shown in this plan, but there are two additional stories containing mostly bedrooms. The pub, the 'Marcello Arms', is a favorite hang-out for the businessmen of Lar'min as it is close to the famous turkish bath-house (the two bedrooms marked on the plan at this level are actually private conference rooms). Lar'min is a major port on the eastern side of Lake Jatta.

The Margaret Hotel, Lom'bom

The town of Lom'bom is one of the ports of Lake Jatta, with ferry service to Lotta, Lar'min, Smardogg, Ma'ar-mit, Pumfrit, Lash-l'rou, and Ting Island. Lom'bom has one of the original Plimbo-mim towers, which is now incorporated into the hotel as the western part of the Guest House. Adjoining it is the ferry terminal and harbor and the market square of the town. The public house and the cafe at the southern end of the hotel area is very popular among regular users of the ferry.

The Mariotta Hotel, Ma'ar-mit

The town of Ma'ar-mit is the primary port of Lake Jatta, with ferry service to Lotta and all the other towns on the lake-side. Ma'ar-mit has one of the original Pogin-mim towers. The hotel was once the town hall, but that was replaced in 1888 and the old building sold to Ponzini. He added three stories to the original building; the kitchen and dining room were built in what was the public lobby and courtroom. There are eight bedrooms, making this a medium-sized hotel for the chain (the clientele is mostly affluent and fairly rarely in transit). "The Purple Cow" is the name of the attached public house. One will note the Card Room; for the curious who have seen this in all the hotels, let it be known that Ponzini was an avid card-player whose specialty was Sheepshead. This game has become fashionable for regular visitors to the hotels.

The Jenny Hotel, Hanssolu

The Jenny Hotel is in the town of Hanssolu at the mouth of the Gangle Gorge. Hanssolu guards the entrance to Loch Mugg, where are located many of the seminaries and Royal retreats of Estalia. There is an administrative Pogin-mim tower, built in the 1840s; the hotel occupies another corner of the town, and incorporates as 'keep' an original 17th Century wall tower, and was opened in 1900 in celebration of the millennium. Given the importance of Hanssolu in government affairs, it is one of the largest of the Marcello Chain with 13 bedrooms, including four luxury chambers in the keep tower. Also of note: the two-storied Great Hall for banquets (at most times, however, used as a restaurant), the pub ("The Magnet and Magpie" -- who knows where this name came from), and a gatehouse tower with military guards (many guests are of importance enough to warrant this protection).

The Seona Hotel, Hamnet

The Seona Hotel is in the northern town of Hamnet along the River Lin, one of the two Castello Chain hotels in the Province of North Estalia. It is situated in the market square near the castle and once was a prison and courhouse (replaced by the current government complex to its north). There are 13 bedrooms, making this one of the larger hotels in the chain; there is also a 'royal' suite in the tower, above the two-storied Great Hall (which is used for VIP guest dining), and a dormitory for the servants of visitors on the second floor. The public house, with the inevitable card room above it, is called the "Pink Swan."

The Alicia Hotel, Yiggle

The Alicia Hotel is in the town of Yiggle at the navigable limit of the River Ramat. Yiggle is an important market town for the agricultural county of Pagota. The hotel itself is in the form of a tower-house with two projecting wings, with a courtyard and a gatehouse, next to which is the public house, the Grape and Granary. There is a 'gaming room' on the upper floor of the gatehouse, but this is in effect the unofficial guild hall for the important local merchants. Eight bedrooms comprise the guest accommodation.

The Flora Hotel, Sagasity

The Flora Hotel is the premier hostel in the city of Sagasity and one of the largest in the Castello Chain. It is in the market square just north of the Hall of the Righteous and the castle. This is a puritanical town but has two very good inns as well as the hotel. The central tower house, gatehouse, and curtain walls date back to the 17th Century when this was the residence of the Duke of Sagasity (whose family were exiled in 1883 for heresy and their castle sold to Marcello Ponzini -- apparently causing a scandal as a scam by greedy councillors to enrich themselves). Ponzini nevertheless went on with his plans to make this one of his keynote hotels, and it is very luxurious indeed, especially the new east wing with its bathhouse, garden, and fine bedrooms. The public house is simply called "Sagasity Rules" and is the favored watering hole of the Council of the Righteous.

The Mairie Hotel, Carboil

The Mairie Hotel is in the town of Carboil, the capital of the borders region. It is the last hotel built by Marcello Ponzini, in 1912, before his death. Unlike most, it was built from scratch with financial help from the then Duke of Marchland who wanted to upgrade his capital city. It is a magnificent building, set in farmland on the east side of the town along a tributary of the River Boil, just east of the Market Square (which was extended at this time) and has 13 bedrooms, including two 'suites' in the NW tower, making it one of the larger hotels in the chain. There is a garden area with a promenade along the curtain wall and two piers for boats -- a landing for guests and one for supplies. The keep tower, impressive as it looks, is not medieval at all; it has a spa bath of the Turkish sort on the ground floor, a kitchen and dining area separate from the 'public' ones to the north, and several bedrooms and an impressive library. The excellent public bar and restaurant is known as the "Carboil Hangman" for some obscure reason (perhaps because these fields where the hotel was built used to be the town execution spot). Locals when they want to go there say 'let's hang out'. This area is noted for pear trees, by the way, and there are several on the grounds; the specialty of the house is a potent pear brandy, called here 'partridge ale'. The so-called Manager's Tower is the home of Georgio Ponzini, current owner of the chain -- a very modest man.