London - Taking the night bus is normally the antithesis of glamour – but this one is just the ticket.
And even though it’s not going anywhere, passengers won’t mind. For this 1960s double decker bus has been transformed into a luxurious bedroom with en suite bathroom.
From the outside, the red Routemaster, named Trafalgar Square, looks much the same as any other London bus – apart from the quirky 10 Downing Street front door and its location in a beautiful northern valley.
But the interior has undergone an astonishing renovation, with a bath on the lower deck and a red velvet bedroom upstairs.
Susan Moiser, 53, and husband Philip, 54, bought the derelict vintage vehicle for £5 000 (about R95 000) from an equestrian centre for their hotel, the South Causey Inn, near Beamish in County Durham.
They spent £100 000 transforming it into their most glamorous suite and the bus has been a big hit with wedding couples and other guests looking for a memorable 5 star night’s stay. Many of the original features, including some seats and the steering wheel, remain. But with full electricity and plumbing, guests can enjoy a bath in front of a flat screen TV before retiring upstairs to a fabulous queen-size bed.
Mrs Moiser said: “It causes a great deal of excitement. It is really different so people are interested in it. It was derelict when we bought it. We wanted it to be as high end as possible. But we’ve kept the original windows and it still has the bell and there is a little seating area refurbished using the original bus seats.”
The bus ran in London in 1966 on a route going to Trafalgar Square, but its precise decommissioning date is not known. Years later it was used at events as a trade stand by a Gateshead-based car leasing company. It then moved on to be used for about six years as a viewing gallery at a Northumberland equestrian centre.
Now, for £270 two people can stay for bed and breakfast in the bus. And since opening last autumn it has proved to be a big success.
But there’s only one problem with spending the night in a London bus – headroom. The top deck is less than 5ft 8in and the lower bathroom deck 5ft 9in, so it could be a bumpy ride.