Tuesday, August 2


The Leroy Hotel is an okay place. It has a particular smell which I find hard to identify, but it is a smell that seems to be appropriate to a seaside hotel and indeed reminds me of some hotel I have stayed in sometime and somewhere. I can't remember which one.

Venetian blinds, stone floors, coconut palms making a green shade in the room: the smell is a sort of musty smell of the inside of a wooden and stucco building cooler inside than out. It is a smell that has something of the beach about it too, a wet and salty bathing-suit smell, a smell of dry palm leaves, suntan oil, rum, cigarettes. It has something of the mustiness which that immense and shabby place in Bermuda, the Hotel Hamilton, had: the salt air had got into the wood and the walls of that place. It smells also like the Savoy Hotel in Bournemouth, which stood at the top of a cliff overlooking a white beach on the English Channel. It had fancy iron balconies, and even when the dining room was full you could feel the blight of winter coming back upon it and knew very well how it would look all empty with all the chairs stacked.

-- Thomas Merton Run to the Mountain