Campari, Spiny Norman and a Serviced Apartment

You’re probably wondering what on earth we’re on about. If you were around in the 1970s you might just have a clue. It has to do with TV adverts, Monty Python and the best place to stay if you’re about to take an overseas trip. The connection is, of course, Luton Airport – now officially, London Luton Airport – and Cotels’ serviced apartments in Luton.

In the 1970s, Luton airport was the most profitable airport in the UK, a focal point for the burgeoning charter market. But it really hit the headlines when the aperitif brand, Campari, took to the airwaves with a new TV campaign featuring the cockney model, Lorraine Chase. Set in exotic locations, Lorraine is approached by a suave English gentleman who asks, “Were you truly wafted here from paradise?” She replied in her full cockney accent: ‘Nah, Luton Airport!’

And as for Spiny Norman, he was a figment of the paranoid imagination of Dinsdale Piranha – one half of Monty Python’s notorious Piranha Brothers who used violence and sarcasm to intimidate London’s underworld. Dinsdale was convinced that his nemesis, a giant hedgehog called Spiny Norman slept in an aircraft hangar at Luton Airport. Usually a mere 12ft long, Norman could grow to 800 yards long when Dinsdale was feeling especially paranoid. Hence the need for a hangar.

Campari and Spiny Norman both helped to put Luton Airport on the map and today the airport serves almost 100 destinations across Europe and the Middle East directly with indirect flights to China, Thailand and South Africa.

Since those days early days when serviced apartments were just starting to appear in the US, the concept has spread throughout the world as an attractive alternative to hotel accommodation particularly for business travellers and for families travelling together. The idea that you could rent a whole apartment for little more than the cost of a good hotel room transformed the market.

Luton is no exception. Cotels, a regionally-based specialist in short and long-stay serviced apartments, now has a range of two-bedroom serviced apartments located right in the Luton town centre, just two miles from the airport and within easy walking distance of shops, restaurants and the railway station.

Each apartment has a fully-equipped modern kitchen, a comfortable lounge and dining area, full laundry facilities, and two bedrooms, most with en-suite bathrooms. A 42” Sky TV with sport is included as is a TV in the master bedroom, free broadband and free secure parking.