In many of the more exotic cities Biggles traveled to, Johns usually resorted to inventing fictional hotels. He didn't have something as convenient as Tripadvisor or the travel guides to research these details. The mention of Hotel Merlin in Kuala Lumpur is therefore surprising. How did Johns know about this place?
Hotel Merlin is an actual hotel in Kuala Lumpur. Opening in 1959, it was the second oldest luxury hotel of international standard to be built in the capital of the Federation of Malaysia. For many years it was considered the "happening" hotel in the city, with comfortable rooms and many excellent restaurants. The hotel was later renamed the Concorde Hotel and has undergone several renovations and modernisations since the time of Biggles. The hotel continues to operate today as a 4-star hotel and is still popular with tourists and business travellers alike because of its location in the city centre. Johns is accurate in stating that the hotel is located on Treacher Road, although today this street has been renamed Jalan Sultan Ismail.
Biggles and the Hotel MerlinEdit
The Merlin Hotel gets a fleeting mention in Biggles and the Blue Moon as the hotel Biggles and Algy checked into after arriving in Kuala Lumpur. Beyond mentioning that it rather expensive (which it probably was) and that it was on Treacher Road, nothing more was said about it in the rest of the book. It was a background ornament to the plot, inserted to add a little local authenticity.