Friday, 18 May 2007

Extract from The Tourist Guide to Hell

Where to Stay

Hell does not have any tradition of hospitality whatsoever, unless one includes the type of hospitality that involves flails, nails being driven into eye-sockets and the over-use of red hot pokers; however the recent change in management style has seen a number of guest houses and hotels spring up. While the options are still fairly limited, there is enough to cater to most traveller’s tastes. Prices vary from the extortionate rates charged by some of the palaces that accept guests to the extremely cheap flop-houses that don’t actually offer a bed, but do offer a line to lean against while sleeping.

The accommodations selected have been chosen for their good value, excellent facilities, or location. Where indicated, hotels may also meet the needs of a more discerning clientele. Should a traveller be disturbed by loud screaming throughout the night, or not relish the opportunity to have their genitals nailed to a board, then it is advised to steer clear of these establishments.

Beelzebub’s Palace. This sumptuous palace in a Medieval style offers much to the traveller willing to pay extra for luxury. Built c.1130 AD, the palace was originally intended for the Lord of Flies, however he only stayed in it for two nights before ordering the architect boiled in pig fat and a new palace built closer to the centre of Dis. Master bedrooms come with hot and cold running succubae as standard. One word of warning: the pool is not for swimming. Unwary guests have found themselves short a limb or two after a quick morning dip.

Cthulhu House. A themed hotel built specifically for tourists. Cthulhu House offers the Disneyland approach to vacations, presenting a more sanitised version of Hell. Indeed it is even rumoured that Uncle Walt himself had a hand with the initial designs, although the Walt Disney Company‘s press office categorically denies any suggestion that its founder is anywhere south of the Pearly Gates. Guests are greeted by a reasonable facsimile of Howard Phillips Lovecraft at main reception and taken up to rooms in either the Miskatonic or Dunwich wings of the hotel. For the more discerning visitors, an extra £500 per night will allow them to stay in the Arkham Suite (straightjacket optional).

Pandemonium Hotel. A welcoming, if noisy establishment. The Pandemonium Hotel was first opened to cater for travelling demons and as a result has easy access to Dis Central Terminal. The west wing of the hotel has been redesigned to accommodate human tourists and rates are quite reasonable. For cheaper rooms, it is possible to rent suites still intended for the more Hellish denizens, but travellers are advised to use the communal showers as those installed in the rooms tend to only be suitable for guests with acid-impervious hides.

The Bates Motel. Another themed hotel, although without the charm of Cthulhu House. The Bates Motel can be found on the main road out of Dis and is one of the better stops outside of the capital city. Accommodations are fairly basic, but of an acceptable standard. Special rates are available to transvestites. A cheaper rate is also available for cabin number one, although travellers are advised that the savings made are not worth the risk of a mid-shower visit.

The Flogged Sinner. A guest house in the old tradition. Very popular with the S&M set, although these days it also caters to a wider clientele. The inn provides one of the better breakfasts in Dis, the whipped omelette and the flailed partridge being particular delicacies.

Eating Out

Travellers are advised to ensure they take sufficient supplies to last their stay. While the restaurants in Hell cater for all palates, those with anything less than a cast-iron stomach will find it difficult to keep down their cordon bleu fare when the eater at the next table may be tucking into a dish of suckling paedophile. However, eat outside of the main dinner hours of 4-10 pm and the experience can be well worth the awkward timing.

The best restaurants in Dis can be found in the Glutton’s Quarter. Intended as punishment where over-eaters would be forced to eat until they literally burst ( a sight far more unpleasant than the one portrayed in Monty Python’s Meaning of Life) , the quarter has given rise to some of the best chefs on any plane of reality. Open 24 hours a day, it’s best to time your visit to the moment when the gluttons are still on their early courses. Breakfasts are usually safe, save in the few cases where there are still some late night eaters whose stomach staples have not yet burst.

Outside of the Glutton’s Quarter, there are cafeterias on most main streets. The food served in these establishments tends to be plain fare, often cooked with a little too much brimstone, lending to a rotten egg smell to much of the cuisine, but there are rarely any customers exploding at the next table. For those customers not interested in cannibalism, the long-pig-in-a-blanket is definitely off the menu. It is also worth checking the ingredients used before ordering the soup du jour.

When travelling outside of Dis, it is strongly advisable that tourists eat only the food they have brought with them. Most eateries cater to demonic tastes and usually involve some form of cannibalism. Travellers are reminded that even though Hell permits such practices, the International Convention on Infernal Travel allows for the prosecution of all tourists once they are back on home soil. A chain of roadside restaurants has recently opened under the banner of Pit-Stops to provide tourists with non-human fare, but there have been issues regarding food contamination. If any dishes are labelled “May contain nuts”, it is advisable to steer well clear of them.