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Example: “A friendly, fabulous hotel with sea views”
Ahh – a sea view. Is there anything better? Not only do you have that famously restorative ‘sea air’, but also perhaps an unrivalled sense of escape: the edge of something, the lure of foreign lands, potential freedom on tap. John Betjeman saw coastlines as an emotional tonic, writing prettily in Sea Breeze that “We need the seaside cure for relief from anxiety and tension / We need it to realise there’s something greater than ourselves / That’s where the cure is, at the sea’s edge.” Less cheerily, while traversing the UK’s shore in The Kingdom By The Sea, travel writer Paul Theroux noticed a succession of elderly folk in cars gazing out to the ocean – “sad captains fixing their attention upon the waves” – and gloomily concluded that, for them, “the sea was a solace. It was (…) the way out of England – and it was the way to the grave. These people were looking in the direction of death.” Hmm. But if a ‘sea-view balcony’ in your Honolulu hotel now suddenly feels somewhat less of a draw, fear not: many ‘sea-view’ properties or rooms aren’t actually as close to the blue as Tony Tourist would initially think. Sometimes a more accurate description would be ‘a sea view if you go to the end of the garden once autumn’s well underway and climb onto the roof of the boiler building and stand on tiptoes’. It’s pretty tough to look in the direction of death in these places; in fact, you risk causing your death by even trying. On other occasions a ‘sea view’ isn’t actually something you’d want (e.g. the Thames Estuary) – imagine a hotel in Aberdeen advocating a sun terrace, and you get the gist. That sort of sea view could drive you to the grave for entirely different reasons.