Thursday, March 16, 2006

England Enjoy Luxury At World Cup Hideaway

If the England players are not yet convinced that a World Cup triumph awaits, they need only take in the scene from their mountaintop hotel in the Black Forest this summer to feel like lords of all creation. There are majestic vistas of the landscape near Germany's border with France. Such a panorama does not come cheap and this must be the grandest base the national team has ever occupied for a tournament.

England check in to the Schlosshotel Buhlerhohe on June 5, 2006 and hope to be resident there until they leave for the World Cup final in Berlin on July 9, 2006.

The only occupants will be the Football Association party of about 55 people and staff from BBC and ITV, who hold the British television rights.

When the status of an institution has to be measured, cost is a crass and convenient index. The presidential suite comes in at some $1,500 a night. It has been occupied by statesmen such as Nelson Mandela and Bill Clinton, which testifies to the prestige of the Schlosshotel. One frivolously imagines David Beckham taking up residence in the suite, but the FA says it may be used only for group meetings. Perhaps, though, Sven-Goran Eriksson was staking a claim when he mentioned that he personally needed a room big enough for chats with his coaching staff.