It was a salutary experience visiting the Hôtel des Bains on the Lido in Venice last week. The site of Gustav von Aschenbach’s demise, it is one of the most evocative places in the literary and cinematic world. Full of Mahlerian resonances, triggered both by Mann and Visconti alike, this truly magnificent vacation palace – a sort of melancholy precursor to Wes Anderson’s Grand Budapest Hotel – met its end in 2010. The art nouveau beast, host to Georg Trakl, Peter Altenberg, Adolf Loos and Arthur Schnitzler in 1913 and Diaghilev on his final, tragic trip to Venice in 1929, looms over the Lido like a beautiful if now redundant whale. Evidence of its conversion into apartments, three years after the announcement, is scant if not non-existent.