A WINTER'S TALE

WELCOME TO OUR WINTER'S TALE. RUDY THE ELK'S JOURNEY CELEBRATING EUROPE'S FESTIVE EXPERIENCES MADE MORE SPECIAL BY ROCCO FORTE HOTELS.

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Click on the Chapters below to read about Rudy's festive adventures. New chapters will be revealed every week. When you have finished reading, enter our competition to win a 6-night stay at three of our Rocco Forte hotels for two nights each - which hotels will you choose? You can also participate in your own interactive Winter's Tale.

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Chapter 1 Intro
Chapter 2 Intro
Chapter 3 Intro
Chapter 4 Intro
Chapter 5 Intro
Chapter 6 Intro
Chapter 7 Intro
Chapter 8 Intro
Chapter 9 Intro
Chapter 10 Intro

INTRODUCING RUDY:
Rudy, the reluctant reindeer

For as long as anyone could remember, winter in Lapland had meant two things – good cheer… and reindeer.

But for Rudy the elk, this time of year was anything but cheery. Every winter, he suffered the humiliation of being mistaken for a reindeer, and every winter, he rued the day his parents had named him Rudolph...  READ MORE

CHAPTER 1:
On the snow swept streets of St Petersburg

Resplendent in his winter coat, Rudy felt so at home on St Petersburg’s snow-swept streets that he could almost have been in Lapland. He had found his true habitat, he thought. Somewhere an elk could finally be recognised.

Hotel Astoria, which had been Rudy’s home since arriving in the city, had certainly helped. Here, a Concierge had been quick to brief his colleagues on the differences...  READ MORE

CHAPTER 2: Things look up in Florence

Things were looking up when Rudy arrived in Florence.

Checking in at Hotel Savoy, he noticed he had been correctly listed as an elk and his In Room Bar had been stocked with Finnish moss – a real boost to his morale, given the reindeer confusion that had hounded him out of St Petersburg.

Though his ballet fame had not followed him from Russia, Rudy had decided to book the Repubblica Suite just in case...   READ MORE

CHAPTER 3:
Feeling Festive in Frankfurt

That was it. The last straw. The final indignity. Rudy had had ENOUGH.

When he’d calmed down a little, he realised he’d already booked a suite at Villa Kennedy, and might as well give Frankfurt a visit. Perhaps Germany would know a mighty elk when it saw one… though he didn't hold out much hope.

At the hotel, he was reassured to find his room decorated with potted bilberry bushes – a real elk favourite...  READ MORE

CHAPTER 4:
Bruised in Brussels

Rudy arrived in Brussels with shiny hooves and a whole new injection of confidence. His campaign for the elks had stuttered, but it hadn’t failed – and this city struck him as the sort of place that would know the difference between an elk and a reindeer.

To some extent, this was true. As Rudy checked in at Hotel Amigo, a number of biologists were arriving for their annual festive party in the grand ballroom, which had been elegantly decorated for the occasion...   READ MORE

CHAPTER 5:
Soothing Spas in Sicily

After the ice-skating fiasco, Rudy needed to stay out of the spotlight for a few days. He booked into Verdura Resort, where he planned to lay low and recuperate from the fall – and his embarrassment.

The team at Palermo airport did not bat an eyelid at the elk as he moved through Arrivals. They assumed, quite logically, that he was a hard-working reindeer taking a restorative break before the demands of the festive season...  READ MORE

CHAPTER 6:
Roaming the shops in Rome

Rudy arrived in Rome in peak physical condition, ready to take up his fight for Europe’s elks with renewed energy.

The world, meanwhile, was more interested in his private life. While Rudy had been relaxing at Verdura, the press had made up for his absence with a series of invented scandals, romances and reindeer rivalries involving Donner and Blitzen. He was the star of the moment – as well as the subject of endless showbiz gossip...   READ MORE

CHAPTER 7:
Exciting interviews in Edinburgh

When Rudy checked into The Balmoral, he was full of optimism. In fact, you could almost have called it festive cheer.

He’d been invited to Edinburgh for an interview with one of Britain’s biggest newspapers – a chance to set the record straight once and for all.

Of course, Rudy’s mood was also helped by Edinburgh itself. The city, bustling with preparations for Christmas and Hogmanay, was ablaze with festive lights...  READ MORE

CHAPTER 8:
Luxurious location of London

After the humiliation of the failed newspaper interview, Rudy arrived at Brown’s Hotel on the brink of collapse. His campaign for Europe’s elks was entering its ninth week, and if he heard another mention of reindeer, he wouldn’t be afraid to use his antlers.

Spotting his flagging spirits, the team at Brown’s designed a special sightseeing itinerary to rekindle Rudy’s good cheer. At this time of year, there wasn’t anything like London to lift a tired elk’s spirits...   READ MORE

CHAPTER 9:
New Years in Munich

Rudy had been invited to The Charles Hotel as a guest of honour – and checking into the Monforte Royal Suite, he certainly felt like one.

Here, he was greeted with a glass of Champagne and a series of charming portraits, drawn by young guests at the hotel’s R Kids club in excited anticipation of his arrival. Rudy was cheered by the pictures, none of which mistook him for a reindeer...  READ MORE

CHAPTER 10:
Brilliant ending in Berlin

Rudy arrived in Berlin tired from his New Year’s partying and tired of his campaign for Europe’s elks. At the sight of him, the team at Hotel de Rome immediately booked a massage and detoxifying seaweed treatment in the spa – an emergency elk intervention.

Afterwards, and feeling a lot better, Rudy headed out down Unter den Linden, past the Brandenburg Gate and on to Berlin Zoo in search of another elk. It had been a while since he’d spoken to one of his kind, and after ten weeks on the road...   READ MORE