Nostalgia ain’t what it used to be

In Istanbul, at any rate. So much changes as the years go by: it’s prosperity, of course, which does it – and the corrosive ways of global finance, which encourages people to get rich by trashing things we like.
Now that the Pera Palace has had a facelift, I’m shifting my bags along the road to the Grand Hotel de Londres, partly because the name is so evocative, and partly because it has what some call faded glamour (and others depressing plumbing). It’s here:  Note: they take bookings without taking a credit card number! How’s that for old world politesse?

While we’re at it, are there any places like that which you’d recommend to us all? I can think of some in India, like the Ooty Club; and I remember staying at the Peace Hotel (nee Cathay) in Shanghai, when the old men played jazz downstairs and your room could swallow a London bus. There was a Greek cafe, Makarios, on Jermyn Street in St James’s till a few years back where you could get a dish of mussels for, I think, £4.50; it was full of minor civil servants and the old waiter had a voice like molasses running over gravel. Now, pimped up, overpriced, Italianated and lost, it’s like this:

Still, all is not yet lost – so take a moment to share your nostalgic travel treats with the rest of us, below – if you can squeeze a photo in, so much the better!

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