Hotel Denouement is the primary setting of The Penultimate Peril.
The hotel is a V.F.D. safe place. A mysterious individual with the initials "J.S." invited various members of the organization, along with other people, to the hotel. In the TV series, it is revealed it was Justice Strauss who did it in an attempt to bring Count Olaf to justice.
At the end of The Penultimate Peril, the hotel is set on fire by the Baudelaires as a signal to V.F.D. that "the last safe place is safe no more" and to delay Count Olaf from unleashing the Medusoid Mycelium in the hotel lobby which could have potentially spread to the entire city. It is unknown who survived and who perished in the fire, although Justice Strauss and the Trolleyman did survive in the TV series.
The imposing nine-story structure stood on the edge of a lake, seemingly leaning forward as though it could fall into the lake at any moment.
All of the letters and numbers that decorated the outside of the building were written backwards. This was because when leaning over the lake, the water shows the reflection of the structure with the labels correctly spelled. The building was covered with lilies and moss to imitate the lake's surface.
There is a domed ceiling above the main lobby, from which hangs an enormous clock.
There is a secret underwater library located under a pond by the hotel.
The clock is built into the ceiling of the Hotel Denouement. A summary regarding this humongous device by Lemony Snicket in The Penultimate Peril is described as follows:
The clock in the lobby of the Hotel Denouement is the stuff of legend, a phrase which here means "very famous for being very loud." It is located it the very center of the ceiling, at the very top of the dome, and when the clock announces the hour, its bells clang throughout the entire building, making an immense, deep noise that sounds like a certain word being uttered once for each hour. At this particular moment, it was three o'clock, and everyone in the hotel could hear the booming ring of the enormous bells of the clock, uttering the word three times in succession: Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!
Dewey mentions that he is the one who winds the clock.
- Frank and Ernest Denouement: Both of them are hotel managers. They oversee the maintenance of the hotel and tend to guests' needs. They were difficult for the Baudelaires to tell apart during their time infiltrating the hotel, however.
- Dewey Denouement: Frank and Ernest's triplet brother, is a sub-sub-librarian, and caretaker of the clock inside of the hotel. For this reason, he is not seen much, causing many people to assume that Frank and Ernest are twins and do not have a third brother.
- Hal: He owns an Indian restaurant in Room 954. When Heimlich Hospital burned down, Dewey's associate traveled to the site and discovered Hal in a very distraught condition. She offered him a position at the hotel, where he might aid V.F.D. in their research.
- Because Hal did not appear in the hotel in the TV series, Larry Your-Waiter manages the restaurant.
- Violet Baudelaire, Klaus Baudelaire, and Sunny Baudelaire: The three of them have worked there temporarily while they impersonated concierges as part of an assignment by Kit Snicket to identify who "J.S." is.
- Various bellboys and bellgirls
- A man in a tuxedo who plays the grand piano
- A coffee shop waitress
The hotel was built with nine floors and a basement. It is organized using the Dewey Decimal System which is why as a result, it functions like a library. Each floor contains only clients and rooms that relate to the topics that would fit that floor's number range.
Each of the stories are dedicated to different subjects:
- The basement is dedicated to computer science, information, and general works.
- The first floor is dedicated to the theory of philosophy and psychology.
- The second floor is dedicated to religion. It has a church, a cathedral, a chapel, a synagogue, a mosque, a temple, and a shrine on it.
- The third floor is dedicated to the social sciences. In the TV series, there is an Indian elephant statue that promotes room 954.
- The fourth floor is dedicated to language where most of the foreigners stay during their visit. In the TV series, there is a giant rock that is near the elevator.
- The fifth floor is dedicated to mathematics and science.
- The sixth floor is dedicated to technology. In the TV series, there is a stone face sculpture near the elevator.
- The seventh floor is dedicated to arts and recreation.
- The eighth floor is dedicated to literature.
- The ninth floor is dedicated to history and geography.
This is a list of all of the areas that are mentioned, along with the proper translation of what the number means in the Dewey Decimal System. The area does not necessarily have to be a room, as even objects like a bench or a fountain have their own numbers. The following has a number on them:
- 000 - Generalities, Employees Quarters: Since it is a hotel, all of the employees are there to serve their guests, and therefore they are general help. This is located in the basement level of the hotel and serves as the place of residence for the hotel's employees.
- 025 - Library Operations, The Laundry Room: This name seems to be attributed to the fact that the sugar bowl was supposed to fall into the room via the outside chute. This is located in the basement and could point to the fact that more covert operations could possibly have taken place in that room in the past. The Laundry Room was where the Hotel Denouement fire was instigated.
- 101 - Theory of Philosophy, Reception Desk: This number was used because of the connotation of the number 101 as being the one used to refer to the basic level of an academic class subject when Frank or Ernest described it to the disguised Baudelaires. However, this was also used because "Theory of Philosophy" means, essentially, "the idea of truth or knowledge." The receptionist's desk, where guests can find knowledge of activities and available rooms in a building, is loosely associated with this description.
- 118 - Force and Energy, Elevator: This makes sense for obvious reasons. Force and energy are two of the basic properties that allow an elevator to function as intended.
- 121 - Epistemology; Theories of Knowledge, The Closet where the Harpoon was kept: It is not clear what is supposed to be kept in the room, but it has been said that it was used as a closet. The Baudelaires were locked in there until the trial began.
- 123 - Determinism and Self-Determinism (Events are pre-determined by preceding events or laws; the actions of a self are determined by itself), The Green Wooden Floors of the Lobby: This was chosen because when one walks across any floor, it is usually with a purpose. Whether or not guests are heading somewhere to complete a task for themselves or for someone else, the decision by either them or someone else has to be made for the guests to do it. Sometimes even events determine where they are going, and not people. Members of the cleaning staff were seen polishing the Green Wooden Floors.
- 128 - Humankind, A Large, Wooden Bench in the Lobby: This number was used because sitting on a bench means that you may meet and befriend those whom you did not previously know. Also, because only humans sit on benches in parks and other such public places. This bench was etched with rings from the drinks that did not have coasters placed under them. Justice Strauss stood on it while addressing the awoken patrons and staff members following Dewey Denouement's death.
- 131 - Occult Methods for Achieving Well-Being, The Enormous Fountain in the Lobby: This is used because it describes the habit of people dropping coins into a fountain and making various wishes.
- 135 - Dreams and Mysteries, Couches: This is where guests can take a nap or conceal something under the cushions. Frank or Ernest described this to the disguised Baudelaire children.
- 152 - Perception, Movement, Emotions, Drives, Grand Piano in the Lobby: These are all things that describe not only what inspires the creation of music, but how it affects an audience as well. A man in a tuxedo played tunes on the grand piano for anyone who cared to listen.
- 165 - Fallacies and Sources of Error, The room in which Count Olaf was stored before the trial: This is also one of the numbers that are used specifically because of the characters. Count Olaf was locked here until the trial began.
- 168 - Argument and Persuasion, The Newsstand: This is labelled so because articles in a newspaper are often used for the purpose of presenting a particular argument to the readers with the intention to persuade someone to believe a specific viewpoint, such as The Daily Punctilio. Exempting editorials, of course. Frank or Ernest had to show a bellgirl to the newsstand.
- 170 - In the TV series, this is a closet where Frank Denouement locked Count Olaf in until the trial.
- 174 - Economic and Professional Ethics, A room where a banker was staying: This is the room where a banker "picked up the phone only to find no one on the line". It is not indicated whether or not this banker was Arthur Poe. Although it is later revealed that he was indeed staying in that room when he comes out to confront the Baudelaires, Dewey Denouement, Justice Strauss, Jerome Squalor, Count Olaf, and his associates when their confrontation woke him up.
- 175 - Ethics of Recreation and Leisure, The Concierge Desk: This was chosen obviously because it is a concierge's duty to provide anything that the guests might need to make their stay at the hotel a more comfortable experience. Frank or Ernest described this to the disguised Baudelaire children.
- 176 - Ethics of Sex and Reproduction, An area where a woman was under the number screaming a man's name over and over in an increasingly annoyed tone: It is not clarified if 176 is meant to be an area, a wall or a room. Ethics is the study of values relating to human conduct, so while it is possible the area was only labelled as such because the woman was standing under it and screaming, it is also possible that it would denote that any interaction between couples should take place at the wall. It is also likely an adult humor joke by Daniel Handler; if 176 is a room, then the man would be "learning" about himself and his own body inside the room while ignoring the annoyed woman standing outside. Another possibility is that the man could be getting intimate with another woman and be cheating on his possible wife.
- 178 - Ethics of Consumption, The Coffee Shop: This is the coffee shop where "a villain requested sugar in his coffee, was immediately thrown to the floor so a waitress (possibly The Waitress that previously worked at Café Salmonella) could see if he had a tattoo on his ankle, and then received an apology and a free slice of rhubarb pie for all his trouble".
- 296 - Judaism, The Room occupied by a Rabbi: This is because a rabbi generally falls under the umbrella of a faction of religion branched off of Judaism. This is also the room in which "a volunteer suddenly realized that the Hebrew language is read from right to left rather than left to right". Frank or Ernest described this to a disguised Baudelaire child where he claimed that the rabbi was somewhat cranky.
- 332 - Financial Economics: In the TV series, Arthur Poe was staying in this room.
- 342 - Criminal Law: In the TV series, the Baudelaires are stored here until the trial began.
- 347 - Civil procedures and courts: In the TV series, Justice Strauss stayed in this room.
- 371 - School Management; Special Education, The Room filled with Educational Guests: Because the people in that room turned out to be the Baudelaire orphans' old teachers and vice-principal that were employed at the Prufrock Preparatory School from The Austere Academy, this number fits perfectly.
- 547 - Organic Chemistry, A Room dedicated to Organic Chemistry: Although the chemist in costume in the book was a disguise for Colette, there is no doubt that there is a chemistry lab in the Hotel Denouement. Frank or Ernest had the disguised Colette take Sir and Charles to this room.
- 594 - Mollusca and Molluscoidea, A Room containing tanks of tropical fish: The room where a family sat "unaware that underneath a cushion of a sofa in the lobby was the doily for which they had been searching for nine years."
- 598 - Birds: In the TV series, this is the room where Frank or Ernest Denouement wanted Klaus Baudelaire to help hang flypaper out of the window.
- 610 - Guests associated with the healthcare industry: In the TV series, Babs was staying in this room.
- 613 - Promotion of Health, The sauna: Some believe that saunas are for relaxation, but others believe that sitting in a sauna can cure sickness and illness. Both descriptions fall under this category, particularly because stress is a large catalyst for many medical conditions including high blood pressure and cardiac arrest. In the TV series, the sauna is on the second floor.
- 674 - Lumber Processing, Wood Products, The Room filled with Associates in the Lumber Industry: This is where Sir and Charles were staying in the Hotel and were taken to the sauna by a disguised Klaus.
- 697 - Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning, Room where the controls for heating, ventilation, and air conditions are kept: This is rather self-explanatory. There were no tricks or metaphors in this description at all.
- 786 - Keyboard and Other Instruments, The Room in which a concertina is available: It is implied that this is a general music room available for practice and stocked with spare instruments.
- 792 - Stage Presentations, The Theatre: Self-explanatory.
- 831 - German Poetry, A Gathering of German poets: Self-explanatory. Frank or Ernest use this room as an example when explaining to the disguised Baudelaires how the Dewey Decimal System functions in the hotel.
- 954 - General History of Asia, South Asia, India, The Indian Restaurant: Although a general category is a strange place to put something specific like cuisine, the connection through the Indian food is made quite clearly. Hal is the owner of this restaurant.
- 999 - Extraterrestrials, The Astronomy Observatory: Because many people watch the skies for aliens and foreign signs of life in space, this number was chosen for the observatory.
- Unnumbered - Rooftop Sunbathing Salon: "People who sunbathe aren't usually interested in library science, so they're not picky about the salon's location." - Dewey Denouement. The bell for this is unmarked since the Dewey Decimal System doesn't go higher than 9.
- The Slippery Slope (Mentioned Only)
- The Grim Grotto (Mentioned Only)
- The Penultimate Peril
- The End (Mentioned Only)
- A Series of Unfortunate Events
- The hotel's phone number is 800-632-1709.
- Lemony Snicket hints that the hotel, like so many other safe places of VFD, contains untold secrets besides its pond.
- The hotel appears to be based on the Library Hotel in New York City.
- In the TV series, the hotel's interior upper floors are CGI.