If I were going to book a room at The George in Backwell, Bristol, I'd be intrigued by Clooney, Custer and Pudding & Pie but I'd end up opting for Best.

What could await in a room named after the legendary footballer, party animal and Miss World fan?

Get it wrong and themed rooms of this sort could veer towards the tacky. Get it right, and you could create a talking point that ensures customers come back.


Is this the Best room at The George? Well, yes, it literally is.


They must have got it right at The George because pub owner Alastair Scott has continued the approach at his latest venture, The Castle in Spofforth, near Harrogate.

He explains: "We were struggling with a design for the rooms at The George and we wanted them to be individual, so we thought of this as the solution.

"I visited several places and I thought they were a bit Disney. I'm not a fan of the term 'themed' – this is more of a design direction."

The direction he has taken at The Castle — there are nine letting rooms above a pub that was extensively refurbished and extended before it opened towards the end of last year — goes with the name. The rooms are named after castles, such as Edinburgh, Leeds and York. Not all of the design directions are obvious though.


If Nicola Sturgeon ever stays at The Castle, this room has her name on it (not literally)


Getting them talking

The design and furnishings in the York room – the four-poster that looks good enough to lick — tip a wink to sweet-maker Rowntrees, which was founded in the city. The room is popular with younger guests, while older visitors prefer the floral prints in Spofforth. The remains of that castle are just a few hundred yards from the pub.

Bamburgh, with its Union Jack headboard and driftwood features, is proving the most popular of the nine rooms, but all create conversation.


Not so sure Bamburgh would be up her street though...


Alastair adds: "It's lovely when you hear people say 'I loved that room and I'm looking forward to staying again'. Some like to keep with the same room and others want to see them all. Groups of people can enjoy showing each other their rooms."


The York Room looks almost good enough to eat. Sweet.


Of course, creating the rooms is not without its problems. It is much easier to source and get a deal on a batch of items for nine identikit rooms. "There is a limit to how many rooms you would want to," says Alastair, who also owns The Square & Compass in nearby North Rigton.

"Even down to the bathrooms we have different tiles in them all.

"But it isn't that difficult to find what you want on the internet these days, it's just time. It's worth it because it is different from a corporate room."

That individuality, attention to detail and the fact that all of the rooms are furnished and equipped to a high spec ensure the Castle is well fortified against ever being described as tacky.