The Prince Rupert Hotel for the Homeless by Christina Lamb review – bed, breakfast and respect

This insightful account of a four-star establishment taking in rough sleepers amid the pandemic finds grounds for real if slender hope

The Prince Rupert hotel in Shrewsbury is the kind of establishment where you’re offered a glass of sherry as you check in. A timber-framed oasis of fluffy towels and four-poster beds, its guests have included Margaret Thatcher, Monica Lewinsky and the Liverpool football team. Yet at the start of the pandemic, owner Mike Matthews, who had formerly managed Barbados’s Sandy Lane resort, made the decision to welcome a rather different clientele: the city’s rough sleepers.

Some hadn’t slept in a bed in decades. Many were in the grip of crippling drug addictions. Others were vulnerable and suffering from untreated mental illness. Now, as part of homelessness tsar Dame Louise Casey’s “Everyone In” mission, all were being found temporary accommodation as a matter of extreme urgency. While other hotels also stepped up, none had the Prince Rupert’s four-star reputation and 900-year history.

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