Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 217, Hotel History: Catskill Mountain Resort Hotels

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 217, Hotel History: Catskill Mountain Resort Hotels

Stanley Turkel | July 30, 2019 109 Shares

By Stanley Turkel, CMHS

Hotel History: Catskill Mountain Resort Hotels
This is the story of an area of 250 square miles, approximately an hour and a half drive northwest of New York City, which over the course of last century became a resort phenomenon unlike any other. The area had attracted tourists since the post-Civil War years because of its visual appeal and accessibility via two railroad lines, the Ontario & Western and the Ulster & Delaware. The new arrivals came up to the Catskill Mountains to settle, to farm, and to escape the unhealthy environment of urban tenement life.

The message came back to New York’s lower East Side: the air was clean and fresh, the scenery was beautiful, and the climate in July and August was cooler than the city. Farmhouses were converted into boarding houses to accommodate visitors seeking simple pleasures of fresh air, farm-fresh food, mountain vistas and a stroll down a shady lane.

These summer resorts in parts of Sullivan, Orange and Ulster counties were called the “Borscht Belt” which attracted Jewish immigrants from eastern Europe. These resorts were a popular vacation spot for New York City Jews between the 1920s and 1970s. The hotels, bungalow colonies, summer camps and self-catered boarding houses were mostly frequented by families of middle and working class Jewish New Yorkers. Some of these Catskill hotels were converted from farms that immigrants had started in the early 1900s. The area catered specifically to Jewish families providing kosher foods, bedrooms and entertainment. Nearly all famous Jewish performers and comedians would hone their skills at these resorts including Sid Caesar, Woody Allen, Billy Crystal, Rodney Dangerfield, Gabe Kaplan, Jerry Seinfeld, Henry Youngman, Andy Kaufman, Buddy Hackett, Jerry Lewis, Joan Rivers and many others.

In its heyday, as many as 500 resorts catered to guests of various incomes. Some of the larger hotels had producers such as Moss Hart at the Flagler, Neil Simon at the Taminent. They performed scenes from Kingsley’s Dead End or Odets’ Waiting For Lefty or musicals like the International Ladies Garment Worker’s Union’s Pins and Needles. Staff members would sing selections from The Barber of Seville or Pagliacci.

Famous prize fighters Rocky Marciano, Sonny Liston and Muhammed Ali trained there. Millions of tourists, especially New Yorkers, swam in the lakes and oversized swimming pools and chose to ski or ice skate, to take lessons in tennis and golf. The best known resorts were The Concord, Grossinger’s, The Nevele (“Eleven” spelled backwards), Brickman’s, Kutcher’s, Friar Tuck Inn, Gilbert’s, the Woodbine Hotel, the Tamareck Lodge, the Raleigh, and the Pines Resort.

Two of the larger hotels in High View (north of Bloomingburg) were the Shawanga Lodge and the Overlook. In 1959, the Shawanga hosted a conference that marked the beginning of serious research into lasers. The hotel burned to the ground in 1973. The Overlook had entertainment and summer lodging through the late 1960s and was operated by the Schrier family. It included a main building and about 50 other bungalows, plus a five-unit cottage just across the street.

The New York, Ontario & Western Railway carried passengers to the resort from Weehawken, New Jersey, until 1948. The railroad was abandoned in 1957.

The decline of the Catskills resorts was apparent as early as 1965. Entertainment in America was changing as the country ushered in the jet age. As ethnic barriers in the U.S. began to fall and travel to distant resorts became easier and cheaper, fewer Jewish American families in New York City went to the Catskills. By the early 1960s, between a quarter and a third of Grossinger’s annual visitors were non-Jewish. Even the universalization of air-conditioned hotels across America drew customers away from the aging resorts primarily built before this innovation became common. In the social and cultural upheavals of the 1960s, traditional resort vacations lost their appeal for many younger adults.

Smaller, more modest hotels such as Youngs Gap and the Ambassador found themselves in a niche with a vanishing clientele and closed by the end of the 1960s. By the mid-1990s, nearly 300 hotels and motels had gone out of business in Sullivan County.

The 1970s took a toll on more lavish establishments such as the Flagler and The Laurels. In 1986 Grossinger’s closed for renovations, and the work was never completed by new owners. Grossinger’s largest historic rival (and the largest of all the Borscht Belt resorts), the Concord, benefitted only temporarily, filing for bankruptcy in 1997 and closing a year later.

Long-delayed plans are now being implemented by those who purchased the Concord Resort Hotel and Grossinger’s to work with local Native Americans to bring gambling to the region. Because the Borscht Belt’s prime market has long passed and many of the resorts are abandoned, developers believe that the only way to revitalize the region is by attracting guests to world-class casinos and resorts such as those in New Jersey and Connecticut.

On February 8, 2018, the Resorts World Catskills Casino opened in the heart of the old “Borscht Belt” in Monticello, New York about 80 miles northwest of New York City. It features an 18-story hotel, 150 table games and 2,150 slot machines. The casino will be the cornerstone of a $1.2 billion resort complex that will include an entertainment village, an indoor waterpark lodge and an 18-hole golf course Charles A. Degliomini, executive vice president of Resorts World Catskills said, “With our opening, we look forward to driving tourism to the Catskills, stimulating the economy and making meaningful contributions that help put the Catskills back on the map as a premier getaway and true destination.”

My New Book, “Great American Hotel Architects” is Available
My eighth hotel history book features twelve architects who designed 94 hotels from 1878 to 1948: Warren & Wetmore, Henry J. Hardenbergh, Schultze & Weaver, Mary Elizabeth Jane Colter, Bruce Price, Mulliken & Moeller, McKim, Mead & White, Carrere & Hastings, Julia Morgan, Emery Roth, Trowbridge & Livingston, George B. Post and Sons.

You can order copies from the publisher AuthorHouse by posting “Great American Hotel Architects” by Stanley Turkel.

My Other Published Hotel Books

All of these books can be ordered from AuthorHouse by visiting www.stanleyturkel.com and clicking on the book’s title.

If You Need an Expert Witness:

For the past twenty-seven years, I have served as an expert witness in more than 42 hotel-related cases. My extensive hotel operating experience is beneficial in cases involving:

  • slip and fall accidents
  • wrongful deaths
  • fire and carbon monoxide injuries
  • hotel security issues
  • dram shop requirements
  • hurricane damage and/or business interruption cases

Feel free to call me at no charge on 917-628-8549 to discuss any hotel-related expert witness assignment.Download Best WordPress Themes Free DownloadDownload WordPress ThemesFree Download WordPress ThemesFree Download WordPress Themesudemy course download free

About Stanley Turkel

Stanley Turkel was designated as the 2014 and the 2015 Historian of the Year by Historic Hotels of America, the official program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. This award is presented to an individual for making a unique contribution in the research and presentation of hotel history and whose work has encouraged a wide discussion and a greater understanding and enthusiasm for American History.

Turkel is the most widely-published hotel consultant in the United States. He operates his hotel consulting practice serving as an expert witness in hotel-related cases, provides asset management and hotel franchising consultation. He is certified as a Master Hotel Supplier Emeritus by the Educational Institute of the American Hotel and Lodging Association.

Contact: Stanley Turkel

stanturkel@aol.com/917-628-8549

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Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 216: Hotel History: Ellsworth M. StatlerNobody Asked Me, But… No. 215: Hotel History: The TWA HotelNobody Asked Me, But… No. 214: Hotel History: Shepheard’s Hotel, Cairo, EgyptNobody Asked Me, But… No. 213: Hotel History: Sheraton’s Classic Advertising CampaignsNobody Asked Me, But… No. 212: Hotel History: Hotel del Coronado, Coronado, California (1888)Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 211: Hotel History: Asian American Hotel Owners Association*Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 210: Hotel History: John Q. Hammons (1919-2013)Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 209: Hotel History: The Americana of New York (1962)Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 208: Hotel History: Grand Hotel (1887) Mackinac Island, MichiganNobody Asked Me, But… No. 207: Hotel History in Brooklyn, N.Y.:  Hotel Bossert (1909) and St. George Hotel (1885)Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 203: Hotel History: The Skirvin Hotel, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (225 Rooms)Hilton Singapore Welcomes New Executive Chef Kazi HassanNobody Asked Me, But… No. 202: Hotel History: Mayflower Hotel, Washington, D.C.

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 216: Hotel History: Ellsworth M. Statler

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 216: Hotel History: Ellsworth M. Statler

July 09, 2019

By Stanley Turkel, CMHS

Hotel History: Ellsworth M. Statler

In 1950, the hotel industry named Ellsworth Milton Statler “Hotel Man of the Half Century”, even though he had been dead for 22 years. Statler’s impact on inn-keeping was so great, no one else even came close.

While many considered Statler the premier hotel figure, he was not a typical executive. A plain, rugged man who started to work at the age of nine, he continued to wear twenty dollar suits and four dollar shoes even after he became successful, and resembled Will Rogers more than Rudolph Valentino.

When Statler began in the hotel business, the following practices were commonplace:

  • Some hotels embarrassed non-paying male guests by cutting off their trousers at the knees and making them parade in the lobby with sandwich signs that proclaimed them as “deadbeats.”
  • One hotel forbade guests from spitting on the carpets, lying in bed with their boots on, or driving nails into the furniture.
  • Even the better hotels had shared bathroom facilities. Bathtubs were usually built on a platform, and hot water cost 25 cents extra.
  • About 90 percent of hotels were American plan, with cheap, unlimited food included in the room rate.
  • Smoking was usually not permitted in dining rooms, bars barred women, and wine and beer sold better than liquor.
  • Rooms were heated with stoves or open fireplaces. Signs reminded guests not to blow out the gas jets.
  • No hotel owner called his house full until all double beds were fully occupied, often by complete strangers. Talk about yield management.

Statler was more interested in comfort in his hotels than fancy trimmings. “A shoe salesman and a traveling prince want essentially the same thing when they are on the road – good food and a comfortable bed – and that is what I propose to give them,” he said. To counter criticism that his hotels were not luxurious enough, Statler said, “I could run a so-called luxury hotel or a resort hotel that would beat any damn thing those frizzly-headed foreigners are doing, but I just don’t operate in that field. All I want to do is to have more comforts and conveniences and serve better food than any of them have or do, and mine will be at a price ordinary people can afford.”

Statler was born on a farm near Gettysburg, PA on October 26, 1863, the son of William Jackson Statler and Mary Ann McKinney. When he was young, the family moved to Bridgeport, Ohio across the Ohio River from Wheeling, West Virginia. Statler and his brothers worked hard and hot at the La Belle Glass Factory in Kirkwood, OH, tending glory holes, small furnaces used to heat and soften glass so it could be formed into bottles or other products. Statler landed in the hotel field as a nighttime bell-boy at the McLure House Hotel in Wheeling.

At 15, Statler who had begun work at $6 a month, board and tips, was promoted to head bellman. By the following year, Statler had learned how to keep accounting records, and at 19, he became hotel manager.

In 1878, the McLure House had an elevator, but it was reserved for guests and the manager. Bellboys had to use the stairs to carry luggage and guest necessities like hot water and kindling. Guestrooms were barely adequate, furnished only with a bed, a chair, and a large clothing hook on the door. Apparently, the McLure’s saloon was more in tune with guest needs, offering a free lunch buffet consisting of cold meats, hard-boiled eggs and rye bread. A large painting of a nude female hung over the bar.

Enterprising and innovative, Statler leased the hotel’s billiard room and railroad ticket concession and made them profitable. He got help from an unexpected source: younger brother Osceola had developed an amazing talent for billiards. Osceola’s fame brought people to the hotel to watch the local champion defeat players from out-of-town. Statler bought out the company that ran the nearby, four-lane Musee Bowling Lanes, added four additional lanes and installed eight pool and billiard tables. He then organized a city-wide bowling tournament with a grand prize of $300 for the winning team.

“The Pie House” in the Musee building, served his mother’s pies, minced chicken and minced ham sandwiches on egg-shell china with quadruple-plated table silver. The place was so busy, that the pin boys in the bowling alleys had to spend their spare time cranking the ice-cream freezers.

The family business thrived with Osceola as manager of the billiard room; brother Bill had charge of the bowling lanes; mother Mary and sister Alabama turned out sandwiches and pies. As for Ellsworth, a $10,000 annual income allowed him to pursue his dream: to own and operate a 1,000-room hotel in New York City. Ultimately, he fulfilled it, following the old vaudeville line that to get to New York City, you had to go by way of Buffalo.

Statler used to go fishing with friends in the St. Clair River at Star Island in Canada. In 1894, on his way home, he stopped in Buffalo where he observed the Ellicott Square building under construction, billed as “the largest office building in the world”. He learned that management was looking for an operation for a large restaurant for $8,500 per year rental. Statler struck a deal to lease the space provided he could raise enough money to furnish a large restaurant. That summer, Statler also married Mary Manderbach, whom he had met in Akron eight years earlier. They moved to Buffalo, opening Statler’s Restaurant July 4, 1895 with fireworks and patriotic oratory.

Statler staked all on a convention of the Grand Army of the Republic that would bring thousands of Union Army veterans and their families to Buffalo. He widely advertised a menu offering “all you can eat for 25¢.” The quarter bought bisque of oysters, olives, radishes, fried smelts with tartar sauce and potatoes Windsor, lamb sauté Bordelaise with green peas, roast young duck with applesauce and mashed potatoes, Roman punch, fruit or vegetable salad with Russian dressing, cream layer cake, Metropolitan ice cream, coffee, tea or milk. What’s more, you could eat as much as you liked.

In 1907, Statler built and opened the 300-room Buffalo Statler, launching a chain of middle-class hotels that standardized comfort and cleanliness. Seeking a competitive edge, he designed the “Statler plumbing shaft.” This enabled bathrooms to be built back to back, providing two baths for little more than the price of one and allowing him to offer many private rooms with adjoining baths. Statler’s preoccupation with comfort and efficiency brought about the following innovations: ice water circulating to every bathroom, a telephone in every room, a full-sized closet with a light, a towel hook beside every bathroom mirror, a free morning newspaper, and a pin cushion with needle and thread. In 1922, at the Pennsylvania Statler in New York City, Statler introduced the Servidor, a bulging panel in the guestroom door where the guest hung clothes for cleaning or pressing. The valet could pick up and return them without entering the room. The Pennsylvania Statler also was the first hotel to offer complete medical services including an X-ray and surgical room, a night physician and a dentist.

Statler was also concerned about making certain staff focused on guest satisfaction. When he established his first hotel, he said “a hotel has just one thing to sell. That one thing is service. The hotel that sells poor service is a poor hotel. It is the object of the Hotel Statler to sell its guests the very best service in the world.”

Statler’s precepts eventually became the “Statler Service Code,” a formulation for employees the founder’s ideals. The code aroused so much interest that it was made available to guests and became a Statler tradition. Long before “empowerment” became a cliché, every Statler employee signed off on a pledge including these:

  1. To treat our patrons and fellow employees in an interested, helpful, and gracious manner, as we would want to be treated if positions were reversed;
  2. To judge fairly – to know both sides before taking action;
  3. To learn and practice self-control;
  4. To keep our properties- buildings and equipment- in excellent condition at all times;
  5. To know our job and to become skillful in its performance;
  6. To acquire the habit of advance planning;
  7. To do our duties promptly; and
  8. To satisfy all patrons or to take them to our superior.

Statler’s widow, Alice managed to keep the company solvent during the Depression. She ran Statler Hotel Co. until 1954, when she sold it to Hilton Hotels for $111 million, merging Statler’s 10,400 rooms with Hilton’s 16,200. That was the greatest hotel merger and largest private real estate deal in history up until that time.

My New Book, “Great American Hotel Architects” Has Just Been Published

My eighth hotel history book features twelve architects who designed 94 hotels from 1878 to 1948: Warren & Wetmore, Henry J. Hardenbergh, Schultze & Weaver, Mary Elizabeth Jane Colter, Bruce Price, Mulliken & Moeller, McKim, Mead & White, Carrere & Hastings, Julia Morgan, Emery Roth, Trowbridge & Livingston, George B. Post and Sons.

You can order copies from the publisher AuthorHouse by posting “Great American Hotel Architects” by Stanley Turkel.

My Other Published Hotel Books

All of these books can be ordered from AuthorHouse by visiting www.stanleyturkel.com and clicking on the book’s title.

If You Need an Expert Witness:

For the past twenty-seven years, I have served as an expert witness in more than 42 hotel-related cases. My extensive hotel operating experience is beneficial in cases involving:

  • slip and fall accidents
  • wrongful deaths
  • fire and carbon monoxide injuries
  • hotel security issues
  • dram shop requirements
  • hurricane damage and/or business interruption cases

Feel free to call me at no charge on 917-628-8549 to discuss any hotel-related expert witness assignment.Download Premium WordPress Themes FreeDownload WordPress ThemesFree Download WordPress ThemesDownload Best WordPress Themes Free Downloadfree download udemy paid course

About Stanley Turkel

Stanley Turkel was designated as the 2014 and the 2015 Historian of the Year by Historic Hotels of America, the official program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. This award is presented to an individual for making a unique contribution in the research and presentation of hotel history and whose work has encouraged a wide discussion and a greater understanding and enthusiasm for American History.

Turkel is the most widely-published hotel consultant in the United States. He operates his hotel consulting practice serving as an expert witness in hotel-related cases, provides asset management and hotel franchising consultation. He is certified as a Master Hotel Supplier Emeritus by the Educational Institute of the American Hotel and Lodging Association.

Contact: Stanley Turkel

stanturkel@aol.com/917-628-8549

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 215: Hotel History: The TWA Hotel

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 215: Hotel History: The TWA Hotel

Stanley Turkel | June 19, 2019

By Stanley Turkel, CMHS

Hotel History: The TWA Hotel (2019)
On May 15, 2019, New York’s spectacular new TWA Hotel opened at John F. Kennedy International Airport. At a cost of more than $250 million, two new hotel wings containing 512 guestrooms were built behind the landmark Trans World Airlines Flight Center designed by famed architect, Eero Saarinen which first opened in 1962.

Saarinen was born in 1910 in Finland and emigrated to the United States in 1923. He started his career with an apprenticeship with his father – the prolific Art Deco architect Eliel Saarinen – and went on to become one of the most important architects of the 20th century. Working mainly in the U.S., he created many dramatically different structures:

  • The Kleinhaus Music Hall in Buffalo, N.Y. (1940)
    This building was a father-son collaboration.
  • Cummins Inc. Irwin Conference Center, Columbus, Indiana (1954)
  • MIT Chapel, Cambridge, Massachusetts (1955)
  • Technical Center, Warren, Michigan (1956)
  • Miller House and Garden, Columbus, Indiana (1957)
  • Milwaukee County War Memorial Center
    Milwaukee, Wisconsin (1957)
  • S. Embassy, London, England (1960)
  • Washington Dulles International Airport, Dulles, Virginia (1962)
  • CBS Building, New York, N.Y. (1965)
  • Gateway Arch, St. Louis, Missouri (1965)

The TWA Flight Center terminal was one of several Saarinen projects completed after his death in 1961. This brilliant opus magnum took the shape of a large bird embodying a sense of fantasy and science fiction.

In 1994, the original TWA terminal was declared a city landmark by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission which prevented its demolition. In 2005, the National Park Service listed it on the National Register of Historic Places.

In addition to the 512 guestrooms the two new buildings contain 50,000 square feet of meeting space, six restaurants, an aviation history museum, a rooftop infinity pool, an observation deck, a 10,000 square foot fitness center and a Lockheed Constellation L-1649A airliner transformed into a cocktail lounge. There are 4,000 parking spaces and an Air Train to other JFK terminals.

Travelers who are passing through JFK can choose a view of either the runway or the Saarinen landmark. The hotel’s website promises that the rooms are “ultra-quiet” thanks to thick glass walls. But it costs nothing to walk in and enjoy the dramatic interior of the original main terminal, now the hotel’s lobby.

Other amenities include Shinola and Warby Parker stores, an Intelligentsia Coffee location, and a restaurant by chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten.

The hotel is full of period furniture designed by Warren Platner, Isamu Noguchi, and Raymond Loewy as well as Saarinen. The renovation team focused on design details so closely that it hired the graphic-design firm Pentagram to create a new custom typeface for the hotel, based on the lettering that Saarinen originally used in the terminal. Many of the TWA Flight Center’s original details, such as the ceramic floor tiles and the 486 variously-shaped window panels have been replaced with replicas of the originals. These details are intended to give the hotel a 1960s- era vibe along with brass lighting, walnut-accented furnishings and rotary phones. The large departure board, a split-flap display made in Italy by the Solari Company which has been a feature of the building since the Flight Center’s opening in 1962, was fully restored as part of the hotel project.

The current project is a public-private partnership between MCR and Morse Development, Jet Blue and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. It was privately funded with no government subsidies. The re-creation, overseen by Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners, not only turned the historic terminal into a hotel lobby but added two wings (designed by Brooklyn-based Lubrano Ciavarra Architects) for the property’s guestrooms and a 50,000 square foot events center. The most important element of the projects design, said Ciavarra, was respecting the symmetrical design of the Saarinen building as 21st century elements were added. “Visitors and guests to the hotel will be able to enjoy the experience of the Saarinen building as it was originally designed and then move through the flight tubes into our new hotel buildings.”

My New Book, “Great American Hotel Architects” Has Just Been Published
My eighth hotel history book features twelve architects who designed 94 hotels from 1878 to 1948: Warren & Wetmore, Henry J. Hardenbergh, Schultze & Weaver, Mary Elizabeth Jane Colter, Bruce Price, Mulliken & Moeller, McKim, Mead & White, Carrere & Hastings, Julia Morgan, Emery Roth, Trowbridge & Livingston, George B. Post and Sons.

You can order copies from the publisher AuthorHouse by posting “Great American Hotel Architects” by Stanley Turkel.

My Other Published Hotel Books

All of these books can be ordered from AuthorHouse by visiting www.stanleyturkel.com and clicking on the book’s title.

If You Need an Expert Witness:
For the past twenty-seven years, I have served as an expert witness in more than 42 hotel-related cases. My extensive hotel operating experience is beneficial in cases involving:

  • slip and fall accidents
  • wrongful deaths
  • fire and carbon monoxide injuries
  • hotel security issues
  • dram shop requirements
  • hurricane damage and/or business interruption cases

Feel free to call me at no charge on 917-628-8549 to discuss any hotel-related expert witness assignment.Download Best WordPress Themes Free DownloadDownload Nulled WordPress ThemesFree Download WordPress ThemesDownload Best WordPress Themes Free Downloadudemy paid course free download

About Stanley Turkel

Stanley Turkel was designated as the 2014 and the 2015 Historian of the Year by Historic Hotels of America, the official program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. This award is presented to an individual for making a unique contribution in the research and presentation of hotel history and whose work has encouraged a wide discussion and a greater understanding and enthusiasm for American History.

Turkel is the most widely-published hotel consultant in the United States. He operates his hotel consulting practice serving as an expert witness in hotel-related cases, provides asset management and hotel franchising consultation. He is certified as a Master Hotel Supplier Emeritus by the Educational Institute of the American Hotel and Lodging Association.

Contact: Stanley Turkel

stanturkel@aol.com/917-628-8549

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 214: Hotel History: Shepheard’s Hotel, Cairo, Egypt

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 214: Hotel History: Shepheard’s Hotel, Cairo, Egypt

June 5, 2019 12:42pmShare This Link on FacebookShare This on TwitterShare This on Google+Share

Hotel History: Shepheard’s Hotel, Cairo, Egypt (1841)

Shepheard’s Hotel history goes back 178 years when it was originally built by Englishman Samuel Shepheard in Cairo. It was originally named the “Hotel des Anglais” (English Hotel). Shepheard co-owned the hotel with a Mr. Hill who was Mohammed Ali Pasha’s head coachman. In 1845, Hill relinquished his interest in the hotel which Shepheard sold in 1861. Shepheard’s Hotel was known for its opulence, its famous guests and as a governmental base for the military. Its stained glass windows, Persian carpets, lavish gardens, terraces and great granite pillars were renowned throughout the Mideast and Europe. Its American bar was frequented not only by Americans but also by French and British officers. There were nightly dances with men in uniform and women in evening gowns. Richard Burton, a close friend of Shepheard, left a detailed description of his generous character and successful career, describing him as “a remarkable man in many points, and in all things the model “John Bull”. The Shepheards bar was known as the “long bar” because it was always jammed.

From 1937, Joe Scialom presided over the Long Bar at Shepheard’s. He worked in white jacket and black bowtie, spoke eight languages, and acted as banker, adviser, umpire and father confessor to his customers. During his tenure, the Long Bar was known as St. Joe’s Parish. He invented the Suffering Bastard, a potent mix that continues to be included in all good cocktail manuals. He served throughout World War II and the stories he could tell would really have made his book worth reading. Joe was tending the bar on a Saturday in 1952 when the hotel burned down. He left Egypt in 1956 and continued working as a barman in the United States. His final job was at Windows on the World in the World Trade Center in New York before he finally retired in Florida.

In the late 19th century, Cairo became a hub for international commerce, European tourists and travellers. The Shepheards Hotel provided a lofty view of Ibraham Pasha Street below. It was the center of many social and political events including the Grand Opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 when many international celebrities were invited to attend the ceremony.

Of all the world’s great hotels, only the Raffles in Singapore, the Peninsula in Hong Kong and the Vier Jahreszeiten in Hamburg could compare in glamour with Shepheards of this period.

The hotel had many notable guests including Aga Khan, the Maharajah of Jodhpur, Winston Churchill, explorer Henry Morton Stanley, Field Marshall Herbert Kichener, T.E. Laurence, Theodore Roosevelt, the Prince of Wales and many more. It was portrayed in the 1934 British film The Camels are Coming. The hotel is the setting for a number of scenes in the 1996 film The English Patient as well as The Grand Hotel des Bains in Venice Lido, Italy. The hotel was used as a base of operations in The Race Colonization series by Harry Turtledove, as a location in Agatha Christie’s Crooked House, and is mentioned in Anthony Trollope’s short-story, An Unprotected Female at the Pyramids (1861). It was also featured regularly in Elizabeth Peters’ Amelia Peabody novels.

On January 26, 1952 the hotel was totally destroyed during the Cairo Fire and the anti-British riots that led to the Egyptian Revolution of 1952.

The current Shepheards Hotel was erected in 1957 by Egyptian Hotels Ltd. about half a mile from the site of the original hotel. It is owned by the Egyptian General Company for Tourism and Hotels and operated by the Rocco Forte Company.

Disclosure: When Loews Hotels acquired New York’s Drake Hotel in 1965, I was hired as the General Manager. At that time, the most famous and successful discotheque in Manhattan was Shepheard’s at the Drake which was open seven days a week for cocktails, dinner and supper with continuous dancing from 7:30 PM to 3AM. Luncheon was served Monday through Friday and special brunch on Sunday from noon to 4PM. At lunch in Shepheards there were fashion shows and, for some years, at noon time, a talk radio program on WNBC featuring the Metropolitan Opera’s Mimi Benzell as hostess with famous guests. I often filled in for guests who failed to show up.

We printed and distributed a card entitled, “How to Do the Newest Discotheque Dances at Shepheard’s in New York’s Drake Hotel” with step-by-step instructions to dance the Jerk, Watusi, Frug and the Monkey. Killer Joe Piro’s party was regular feature at Shepheard’s. The discotheque was so successful that patrons lined up on 56thStreet and around the corner on Park Avenue to wait (even on the winter’s coldest nights) to be admitted where they paid a hefty cover charge to dance to disco music.

My New Book, “Great American Hotel Architects” Has Just Been Published

My eighth hotel history book features twelve architects who designed 94 hotels from 1878 to 1948: Warren & Wetmore, Henry J. Hardenbergh, Schultze & Weaver, Mary Elizabeth Jane Colter, Bruce Price, Mulliken & Moeller, McKim, Mead & White, Carrere & Hastings, Julia Morgan, Emery Roth, Trowbridge & Livingston, George B. Post and Sons.

You can order copies from the publisher AuthorHouse by posting “Great American Hotel Architects” by Stanley Turkel.

My Other Published Hotel Books

All of these books can be ordered from AuthorHouse by visiting www.stanleyturkel.com and clicking on the book’s title.

If You Need an Expert Witness:

For the past twenty-seven years, I have served as an expert witness in more than 42 hotel-related cases. My extensive hotel operating experience is beneficial in cases involving:

  • slip and fall accidents
  • wrongful deaths
  • fire and carbon monoxide injuries
  • hotel security issues
  • dram shop requirements
  • hurricane damage and/or business interruption cases
     

Feel free to call me at no charge on 917-628-8549 to discuss any hotel-related expert witness assignment.

Tags: stanley turkelstan turkelhotel historynobody asked me

About Stanley Turkel

Stanley Turkel

Stanley Turkel was designated as the 2014 and the 2015 Historian of the Year by Historic Hotels of America, the official program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. This award is presented to an individual for making a unique contribution in the research and presentation of hotel history and whose work has encouraged a wide discussion and a greater understanding and enthusiasm for American History.

Turkel is the most widely-published hotel consultant in the United States. He operates his hotel consulting practice serving as an expert witness in hotel-related cases, provides asset management and hotel franchising consultation. He is certified as a Master Hotel Supplier Emeritus by the Educational Institute of the American Hotel and Lodging Association.

Contact: Stanley Turkel

stanturkel@aol.com / 917-628-8549

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Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 209: Hotel History: The Americana of New York (1962)

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 208: Hotel History: Grand Hotel (1887) Mackinac Island, Michigan

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 207: Hotel History in Brooklyn, N.Y.: Hotel Bossert (1909) and St. George Hotel (1885)

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 206: Hotel History: Mary Elizabeth Jane Colter

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 205: Hotel History: Frederick Henry Harvey

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 204: Hotel History: The Skirvin Hotel, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (1911) Part 2

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 203: Hotel History: The Skirvin Hotel, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (225 Rooms)

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 202: Hotel History: Mayflower Hotel, Washington, D.C.

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 201: Hotel History: Architect Morris Lapidus

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 213: Hotel History: Sheraton’s Classic Advertising Campaigns

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 213: Hotel History: Sheraton’s Classic Advertising Campaigns

May 14, 2019 2:36pmShare This Link on FacebookShare This on TwitterShare This on Google+Share

By Stanley Turkel, CMHS

Hotel History: “Keyed-Up Executives Unwind at Sheraton” 

In 1965, the Sheraton Corporation of America, under the leadership of President Ernest Henderson, created a brilliant advertising campaign: “Keyed-up Executives Unwind at Sheraton”. It was broadly promoted all over the U.S. in print media, TV advertising and locally by individual Sheraton Hotels. Among my collection of Sheraton artifacts is a translucent plexiglass paperweight which has a small figure of a businessman with a wind-up key in his back which says “Keyed-Up Executives Unwind at Sheraton”.

His picture was everywhere: on television, on posters, in airports and railroad stations, on leaflets, matchbooks, cocktail stirrers, in newspaper ads. He was an inspired creation of Madison Avenue–  a fictional character with whom millions could subconsciously identify. Young and clean-cut, he carried an attached case, glanced at his watch and looked like a businessman scurrying to his next appointment. He had, however, an enormous protuberance on his back. For sticking out from between his shoulder blades was a great, butterfly-shaped key of the type used to wind up mechanical toys. The text that accompanied his picture urged keyed-up executives to “unwind” and slow down at Sheraton hotels. This wound-up man-on-the-go was, and apparently still is, a potent symbol of millions who feel just as driven and harried as if they, too, had a huge key in their back.

A typical Sheraton printed ad of that time read:

“Next time you’re on the road, all keyed-up from “turnpike tension”, ease up to a Sheraton Motor Inn. Then unwind. Enjoy a great meal, a quiet air-conditioned room, TV, swimming pool. Plus many other Sheraton extra values such as Free Parking (anyplace, anytime) and Family Plan (children share your room free). Call us for Insured Reservations at Guaranteed Rates.
Keyed-Up Executives unwind at Sheraton.”

The campaign was eye-catching, clever, humorous and effective. It continued as Sheraton’s brand identification until 1968 when the International Telegraph & Telephone acquired the Sheraton Corporation of America. Soon thereafter, I was hired by IT&T and became the worldwide Product Line Manager for Hotel & Motel Operations to help oversee the management and expansion of Sheraton.

Hotel History: The Magic of 800-325-3535

In 1968, after IT&T acquired the Sheraton Corporation of America, Sheraton needed a new advertising program after the highly-successful “Keyed-up Executives Unwind at Sheraton” campaign. In the spring of 1969, IT&T President Harold Geneen was touring the Sheraton Boston Hotel when the Sheraton Director of Marketing William Morton began to describe the Sheraton new Reservation system. Geneen thought that IT&T could be the first to create a national single 800 number watts line to replace the 200 phone numbers that Sheraton listed nationwide. With the help of IT&T’s expert telephone technicians, the new system was created and implemented. Perhaps the greatest problem facing Sheraton was picking one unforgettable number. With the advice of telephone company psychologists, Morton settled on the number 800-325-3535. Why? Because it was easy to dial. When area codes were introduced to speed the calling of long-distance numbers, telephones had rotary dials. The nearest digit to the dialing stopper, and thus the digit that could be dialed the quickest was 1. Next came 2 and then 3. The psychologist selected 2, 3 and 5 because they were quick to dial and in a sequence that was easy to remember.

By the winter of 1970, the new 800 number was on-line and the new advertising campaign broke with saturation TV, full-page magazine ads and steady repetition of “eight, oh, oh, three-two-five, three-five, three-five.” The number was set to a catchy tune created by BBD&O which was recorded by the Boston Pops. A singing dog performed it on Johnny Carson’s TV show, it was cocktail-lounge background music in a TV drama and it was played at skating rinks. The reservations flowed into the Sheraton Reservation Centers in ever-increasing numbers, breaking records every month.

At one of ITT’s General Managers Meetings in New York where 80 executives gathered monthly to report on the performance of ITTs many companies, I reported about the extraordinary success of the ever-increasing number of reservations pouring into the Sheraton central Reservation offices. ITT President Harold Geneen responded, “I don’t think that anyone will remember that number. I can’t ever remember it. “I replied, Mr. Geneen, How many secretaries do you have?” “Nine.” “When was the last time you made a hotel reservation for yourself?” “I can’t recall”.  I replied “No wonder you can’t remember 800-325-3535. You never use it yourself. Thank goodness, the rest of the business world needs to call it themselves and therefore remembers 800-325-3535.” The GMM attendees cracked up and gave me an ovation.

If you wonder how such an exchange could take place without losing my job, don’t forget that I was the Product Line Manager for Hotel Operations, an invention of Geneen. The concept was brilliant in several ways. Since PLM’s had no P&L responsibility, we could not issue orders to the line. Nevertheless, we were empowered to go anywhere, look at everything, speak to anyone and provide answers and opportunities. We relayed our recommendations to the President’s office where Harold Geneen would review them. One thing you learned fast was that he hated “Yes-Men”. He thrived on cheerful conflict.

My New Book, “Great American Hotel Architects” Has Just Been Published

My eighth hotel history book features twelve architects who designed 94 hotels from 1878 to 1948: Warren & Wetmore, Schultze & Weaver, Julia Morgan, Emery Roth, McKim, Mead & White, Henry J. Hardenbergh, Carrere & Hastings, Mulliken & Moeller, Mary Elizabeth Jane Colter, Trowbridge & Livingston, George B. Post and Sons.

You can order copies from the publisher AuthorHouse by posting “Great American Hotel Architects” by Stanley Turkel.

My Other Published Hotel Books

All of these books can be ordered from AuthorHouse by visiting www.stanleyturkel.com and clicking on the book’s title.

If You Need an Expert Witness:

For the past twenty-six years, I have served as an expert witness in more than 40 hotel-related cases. My extensive hotel operating experience is beneficial in cases involving:

  • slip and fall accidents
  • wrongful deaths
  • fire and carbon monoxide injuries
  • hotel security issues
  • dram shop requirements
  • hurricane damage and/or business interruption cases
     

Feel free to call me at no charge on 917-628-8549 to discuss any hotel-related expert witness assignment.

Tags: stanley turkelstan turkelhotel historynobody asked mebrand news

About Stanley Turkel

Stanley Turkel

Stanley Turkel was designated as the 2014 and the 2015 Historian of the Year by Historic Hotels of America, the official program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. This award is presented to an individual for making a unique contribution in the research and presentation of hotel history and whose work has encouraged a wide discussion and a greater understanding and enthusiasm for American History.

Turkel is the most widely-published hotel consultant in the United States. He operates his hotel consulting practice serving as an expert witness in hotel-related cases, provides asset management and hotel franchising consultation. He is certified as a Master Hotel Supplier Emeritus by the Educational Institute of the American Hotel and Lodging Association.

Contact: Stanley Turkel

stanturkel@aol.com / 917-628-8549

Related News

Choice Hotels Unveils Refreshed Look of Its Four Popular Midscale Brand Logos

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 212: Hotel History: Hotel del Coronado, Coronado, California (1888)

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 211: Hotel History: Asian American Hotel Owners Association*

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 210: Hotel History: John Q. Hammons (1919-2013)

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 209: Hotel History: The Americana of New York (1962)

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 208: Hotel History: Grand Hotel (1887) Mackinac Island, Michigan

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 207: Hotel History in Brooklyn, N.Y.: Hotel Bossert (1909) and St. George Hotel (1885)

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 206: Hotel History: Mary Elizabeth Jane Colter

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 205: Hotel History: Frederick Henry Harvey

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 204: Hotel History: The Skirvin Hotel, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (1911) Part 2

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 203: Hotel History: The Skirvin Hotel, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (225 Rooms)

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 202: Hotel History: Mayflower Hotel, Washington, D.C.

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 212: Hotel History: Hotel del Coronado, Coronado, CA

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 212: Hotel History: Hotel del Coronado, Coronado, California (1888)

April 23, 2019 2:48pmShare This Link on FacebookShare This on TwitterShare This on Google+Share

By Stanley Turkel, CMHS

Hotel History: Hotel del Coronado, Coronado, California * 

The renowned Hotel del Coronado is a grand example of elegant Victorian architecture providing one of the most beautiful and popular beach resorts in the United States.

The Del was conceived by two mid-western businessmen, Elisha Babcock, Jr. and Hampton L. Story who bought the entire undeveloped 4,100 acres on the peninsula of Coronado for $110,000. Babcock was a retired railroad executive from Evansville, Indiana and Story the owner of the Story & Clark Piano Company in Chicago.

Babcock and Story hired the architectural firm of Reid & Reid consisting of James W. Reid (1851-1943), Merrit J. Reid (1855-1932) and Watson E. Reid (1858-1944) who were based in Evansville, Indiana. Upon arriving in Coronado, James Reid said, “The next day, such a one as may be found only in Coronado in December, we all visited the beach. No finer location could have been found anywhere.”

Construction commenced in March 1887 with many unskilled Chinese workers who had to be trained on the job by master carpenters, plumbers and other craftsmen from San Francisco and Oakland. Babcock ultimately found enough workers to man the construction site twenty-four hours a day.

The shortage of lumber was solved with contracts for exclusive rights to all the raw lumber production of the Dolbeer & Carson Lumber Company of Eureka, California. Reid built planing mills, kilns, a metal shop and iron works on the site. To speed construction, Reid also installed water tanks, gravity flow sprinklers, two giant cisterns to store rainwater and the first oil furnace in a new hotel. The Mather Electric Company installed electric lighting, a world first. Bricks were fired in a kiln built nearby specifically for the project and rock from quarries in Temecula Canyon was provided by the San Diego Granite Company. Meanwhile, toilet seats were ordered from England, china from France, glassware from Belgium, 21,000 yards of carpet from Lowell, Massachusetts and wooden chairs from a furniture manufacturer in Boston. The hotel’s first general manager, John B. Seghere, had to double as an interior decorator.

Unfortunately, when the spectacular new Hotel del Coronado opened in February 1888, the southern California land boom collapsed. Babcock and Story secured additional funding from John D. Spreckels, Captain Charles T. Hinde, H.W. Mallett and Giles Kellogg. By 1890, Spreckels ultimately bought out both Babcock and Story. The Spreckels family retained ownership of “the Del” until 1948.

The original five-story structure remains intact and in full use along with two newer sections closer to the beach. The Crown Room is still regarded as one of the world’s monumental architectural structures with its high sugar pine ceiling held together only with wooden pegs. There are no nails or interior supports and for many years was considered the largest column-free room in the United States.

After brief periods of ownership by Robert A. Nordblom, Kansas City hotelier Barney Goodman and San Diego businessman John S. Alessio, Chicago-born M. Larry Lawrence became the owner in 1963. For the next twenty years, $40 million was spent repairing and replacing plumbing, electrical, heating, ventilation and cooking gas lines. Because the Del is the world’s largest wooden structure, Lawrence installed one of the most expensive Grinnell sprinkler systems to provide the utmost in fire safety. He also constructed the Grande Hall Convention Center to make the Del one of Southern California’s largest and most successful meeting and convention venues. The hotel is almost completely self-contained with the following back-of-the-house amenities: butcher shop, pastry bakery, upholstery and furniture shops; electrical, plumbing, machine shops; an in-house laundry and dry cleaning facility.

Lawrence was highly respected for his self-made financial success, but no accomplishment was more dear to him than his restoration of one of the world’s most beautiful historic landmarks, the grand dame of American seaside resorts – the Hotel del Coronado.

It is said that more celebrities of the arts, entertainment, sports and political worlds have visited the Hotel del Coronado than any other hotel resort in North America. Notable guests have included Thomas Edison, Charlie Chaplin, King Kalakaua of Hawaii, Vincent Price, Babe Ruth, James Stewart, Bette Davis and Katherine Hepburn. More recently, guests have included Kevin Costner, Whoopi Goldberg, Gene Hackman, George Harrison, Brad Pitt, Madonna, Barbra Streisand and Oprah Winfrey.

The following presidents have stayed at the hotel: Benjamin Harrison, William McKinley, William Howard Taft, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

While the Del has been the location for many movies, perhaps the most famous was Some Like It Hot (1959), starring Marilyn Monroe, Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis.

The Hotel del Coronado was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1971 and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1977.

In March 2016, Blackstone sold Strategic Hotels & Resorts to Anbang Insurance Group, a Beijing-based Chinese insurance company, in a $6.5 billion deal involving 16 luxury American hotel properties including the Hotel del Coronado. Fifteen of the sixteen were immediately transferred to Anbang. However, the sale of the Hotel del Coronado was held up because of concerns expressed by the federal inter-agency Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, which reviews acquisitions of U.S. businesses by foreign investors for possible national security risks. The agency was concerned about the hotel’s proximity to major Navy bases in San Diego. In October 2016 it was reported that the deal had fallen through and the hotel would remain in Blackstone’s ownership.

In August 2017, Hilton Hotels and Resorts took over the management of Hotel del Coronado as part of their Curio Collection.

*excerpted from my book “Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels West of the Mississippi” AuthorHouse 2017

“Great American Hotel Architects”

My eighth hotel history book features twelve architects who designed 94 hotels from 1878 to 1948: Warren & Wetmore, Schultze & Weaver, Julia Morgan, Emery Roth, McKim, Mead & White, Henry J. Hardenbergh, Carrere & Hastings, Mulliken & Moeller, Mary Elizabeth Jane Colter, Trowbridge & Livingston, George B. Post and Sons

My Other Published Hotel Books

All of these books can be ordered from AuthorHouse by visiting www.stanleyturkel.com and clicking on the book’s title.

If You Need an Expert Witness:

For the past twenty-six years, I have served as an expert witness in more than 40 hotel-related cases. My extensive hotel operating experience is beneficial in cases involving:

  • slip and fall accidents
  • wrongful deaths
  • fire and carbon monoxide injuries
  • hotel security issues
  • dram shop requirements
  • hurricane damage and/or business interruption cases

Feel free to call me at no charge on 917-628-8549 to discuss any hotel-related expert witness assignment.

Tags: stanley turkelstan turkelhotel historynobody asked mehotel del coronado

About Stanley Turkel

Stanley Turkel

Stanley Turkel was designated as the 2014 and the 2015 Historian of the Year by Historic Hotels of America, the official program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. This award is presented to an individual for making a unique contribution in the research and presentation of hotel history and whose work has encouraged a wide discussion and a greater understanding and enthusiasm for American History.

Turkel is the most widely-published hotel consultant in the United States. He operates his hotel consulting practice serving as an expert witness in hotel-related cases, provides asset management and hotel franchising consultation. He is certified as a Master Hotel Supplier Emeritus by the Educational Institute of the American Hotel and Lodging Association.

Contact: Stanley Turkel

stanturkel@aol.com / 917-628-8549

Related News

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 211: Hotel History: Asian American Hotel Owners Association*

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 210: Hotel History: John Q. Hammons (1919-2013)

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 209: Hotel History: The Americana of New York (1962)

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 208: Hotel History: Grand Hotel (1887) Mackinac Island, Michigan

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 207: Hotel History in Brooklyn, N.Y.: Hotel Bossert (1909) and St. George Hotel (1885)

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 206: Hotel History: Mary Elizabeth Jane Colter

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 205: Hotel History: Frederick Henry Harvey

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 204: Hotel History: The Skirvin Hotel, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (1911) Part 2

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 203: Hotel History: The Skirvin Hotel, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (225 Rooms)

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 202: Hotel History: Mayflower Hotel, Washington, D.C.

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 201: Hotel History: Architect Morris Lapidus

Nobody Asked Me But… No. 211: Hotel History: Asian American Hotel Owners Association*

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 211: Hotel History: Asian American Hotel Owners Association*

April 2, 2019 1:47pmShare This Link on FacebookShare This on TwitterShare This on Google+Share

By Stanley Turkel, CMHS

Hotel History: Asian American Hotel Owners Association

The Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA) is a trade association that represents hotel owners. As of 2018, AAHOA has approximately 18,000 members who incredibly own about half the 50,000 hotels in the United States. If you bear in mind that Indian Americans constitute less than one percent of Americas population, the conquest of this business niche is extraordinary. Furthermore, about 70% of all Indian hotel owners are named Patel, a surname that shows that they are members of a Gujarati Hindu subcaste.

How did this economic miracle come to pass? The first Indian motel owner in the United States is said to have been an illegal immigrant  named Kanjibhai Desai who managed to buy the Goldfield Hotel in downtown San Francisco in the early 1940s.

Some twenty-six years later in 1949, another Asian American of Indian descent came to the United States from his home near the city of Surat during the first wave of legal immigration from India.  Bhulabhai V. Patel picked apricots and grapes in Northern California and worked at various jobs until he saved enough to purchase the 108- room William Penn Hotel in San Francisco in 1960. By 1996, Bhulabhai owned nine properties in Northern California with his son, Raman and grandson Pramod. At the time, he was amazed by the rapid growth of the Indian American lodging community. “It started with one hotel”, he said, “Now we’ve got thousands”.

“Patel” means farmer or landowner in Gujarat where the Patels are the original and largest clan. In order to facilitate tax collections, the British delineated, reassigned and renamed some of them “Amin” (the farm managers) and others “Desai” (those who kept the books). It is said that the Patels have a commerce gene in their blood and the anecdotal evidence seems to bear this out.

In the mid-1970s, Patels from India, Africa and Asia began to emigrate to the United States where any immigrant willing to invest $40,000 in a business could apply for permanent residence, the first step to citizenship. There were limited opportunities for such an investment. Restaurants required the Hindu Gujaratis to handle meat, an uncomfortable activity. Furthermore, a restaurant required one-on-one interaction with guests, confusing for newly-arrived immigrants. But distressed roadside motels could be acquired outright for $40,000. In addition, the motel industry was slumping badly because of the oil embargo and the resultant nationwide shortage of gasoline. 

One Patel pioneer reported that a motel “… is easy to run. You don’t need fluent English, just the will to work long hours. And, it’s a business that comes with a house- you don’t have to buy a separate house….” 

The new owners brought their business expertise and their families to operate these motels. They instituted modern accounting techniques to monitor the all-important cash flow. Four times cash flow became the mantra of the Patels. If the distressed motel produced $10,000 per year in revenues and could be acquired for $40,000, it was profitable for a hard-working family. 

They renovated and upgraded the rundown motels to improve cash flow, sold the properties and traded up to better motels. This was not without difficulties. Conventional insurance companies wouldn’t provide coverage because they believed these immigrant owners would burn down their motels. In those days, banks were unlikely to provide mortgages either. The Patels had to finance each other and self insure their properties.

In a July 4, 1999 New York Times article, reporter Tunku Varadarajan wrote, “The first owners, in a manner consistent with many an emergent immigrant group, scrimped, went without, darned old socks and never took a holiday. They did this not merely to save money but also because thrift is part of a larger moral framework, one that regards all nonessential expenditure as wasteful and unattractive. It’s an attitude buttressed by a puritanical aversion to frills and frivolities, one that has its roots as much in the kind of Hinduism that the Patels practice as in their historical tradition as commercial perfectionists.”

They bought, renovated, operated and resold motels mostly along the interstate highways.  Soon, the name “Patel” became synonymous with the hotel business. Patels own motels in cities all over the U.S., including Canton (Texas, Mississippi, Michigan and Ohio), Burlington (Vermont, Iowa and North Carolina), Athens (Georgia, Tennessee and Alabama), Plainview (New York and Ohio) and Longview (Texas and Washington). 

Author Joel Millman writes in The Other Americans (Viking Books):

“Patels took a sleepy, mature industry and turned it upside down- offering consumers more choices while making the properties themselves more profitable. Motels that attracted billions in immigrant savings turned into real estate equity worth many billions more. That equity, managed by a new generation, is being leveraged into new businesses. Some are related to lodging (manufacturing motel supplies); some related to real estate (reclaiming derelict housing); some simply cash seeking an opportunity. The Patel-motel model is an example, like New York’s West Indian jitneys, of the way immigrant initiative expands the pie. And there is another lesson: as the economy shifts from manufacturing to services, the Patel-motel phenomenon demonstrates how franchising can turn an outsider into a mainstream player. The Gujarati model for motels might be copied by Latinos in landscaping, West Indians in homecare or Asians in clerical services. By operating a turnkey franchise as a family business, immigrants will help an endless stream of service providers grow.”

As investment and ownership expanded, the Patels were accused of a wide variety of crimes: arson, laundering stolen travel checks, circumventing immigration laws. In an unpleasant burst of xenophobia,Frequent Flyer magazine (Summer 1981) declared, “Foreign investment has come to the motel industry…..causing grave problems for American buyers and brokers. Those Americans in turn are grumbling about unfair, perhaps illegal business practices:  there is even talk of conspiracy.” The magazine complained that the Patels had artificially boosted motel prices to induce a buying frenzy.  The article concluded with an unmistakable racist remark, “Comments are passed about motels smelling like curry and dark hints about immigrants who hire Caucasians to work the front desk.” The article concluded, “The facts are that immigrants are playing hardball in the motel industry and maybe not strictly by the rule book.” The worst visible manifestation of such racism was a rash of “American Owned” banners displayed in certain hotels across the country. This hateful display was repeated in post- Sept 11 America. 

In my article, “How American-Owned Can You Get”, (Lodging Hospitality, August 2002), I wrote,

“In post-Sept. 11 America, signs of patriotism are everywhere: flags, slogans, God Bless America and United We Stand posters. Unfortunately, this outpouring sometimes oversteps the boundaries of democracy and decent behavior. After all, true patriotism encompasses the best features of our founding documents, and the very best of America is reflected in its diversity. Conversely, the worst if reflected when any one group attempts to define “American” in their own image. Unfortunately, a few hotel owners have attempted to describe their own peculiar version of “American.” When at the end of 2002 the Hotel

Pennsylvania in New York City installed an entrance banner saying “an American-owned hotel,” the owners attempted to deflect criticism by explaining, “The issue of American-owned is basically not disparaging toward other hotels. We want to provide our guests with an American experience. We want people to know they are going to get an American experience. We are not really interested in what the other hotels are or what they are not.”

This explanation is as wrongheaded as it gets. What is an “American experience” in a country that prides itself on its cultural diversity? Is it only white bread, hot dogs and cola? Or does it encompass all the arts, music, dance, food, culture and activities that various nationalities and citizens bring to the American experience?

How much more American can you get?”

Today AAHOA is the largest hotel owners association in the world. Its U.S. citizen members own one of every two hotels in the U.S.  With billions of dollars in property assets and hundreds of thousands of employees, AAHOA-owned hotels are core contributors in virtually every community in the United States.

*excerpted from my book “Great American Hoteliers: Pioneers of the Hotel Industry” 
 AuthorHouse 2009

The Roosevelt New Orleans Hotel (1893) is Encouraging Return of Stolen Items

Participants who return such items will be eligible to win a seven-night stay in one of the hotel’s lavish presidential suites, worth over $15,000. The Roosevelt plans to display the items in its lobby, as a record of the hotel’s history. The campaign called the “Historic Giveback Contest” has been launched to celebrate the hotel’s 125th birthday. Former guests have until July 1, 2019 to return items by dropping them off at the concierge desk or sending them in the mail, said General Manager Tod Chambers.

My Other Published Hotel Books

All of these books can be ordered from AuthorHouse by visiting www.stanleyturkel.com and clicking on the book’s title.

If You Need an Expert Witness:

For the past twenty-six years, I have served as an expert witness in more than 40 hotel-related cases. My extensive hotel operating experience is beneficial in cases involving:

  • slip and fall accidents
  • wrongful deaths
  • fire and carbon monoxide injuries
  • hotel security issues
  • dram shop requirements
  • hurricane damage and/or business interruption cases
     

Feel free to call me at no charge on 917-628-8549 to discuss any hotel-related expert witness assignment.

Tags: stanley turkelstan turkelhotel historynobody asked meaahoaasian american hotel owners association

About Stanley Turkel

Stanley Turkel

Stanley Turkel was designated as the 2014 and the 2015 Historian of the Year by Historic Hotels of America, the official program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. This award is presented to an individual for making a unique contribution in the research and presentation of hotel history and whose work has encouraged a wide discussion and a greater understanding and enthusiasm for American History.

Turkel is a well-known consultant in the hotel industry. He operates his hotel consulting practice serving as an expert witness in hotel-related cases, provides asset management and hotel franchising consultation. He is certified as a Master Hotel Supplier Emeritus by the Educational Institute of the American Hotel and Lodging Association.

Contact: Stanley Turkel

stanturkel@aol.com / 917-628-8549

Related News

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 210: Hotel History: John Q. Hammons (1919-2013)

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 209: Hotel History: The Americana of New York (1962)

AAHOA Names Rachel Humphrey Interim President & CEO

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 208: Hotel History: Grand Hotel (1887) Mackinac Island, Michigan

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 207: Hotel History in Brooklyn, N.Y.: Hotel Bossert (1909) and St. George Hotel (1885)

AHLA Appoints Chip Rogers as President & CEO

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Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 205: Hotel History: Frederick Henry Harvey

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 204: Hotel History: The Skirvin Hotel, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (1911) Part 2

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 203: Hotel History: The Skirvin Hotel, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (225 Rooms)

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 202: Hotel History: Mayflower Hotel, Washington, D.C.

Key Takeaways: AHLA & AAHOA’s – Legislative Action Summit 2018

America’s Hoteliers Meet to Discuss Strength of Industry, Issues Affecting It and Impact on U.S. Communities

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 210: Hotel History: John Q. Hammons (1919-2013)

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 210: Hotel History: John Q. Hammons (1919-2013)

March 12, 2019 2:43pmShare This Link on FacebookShare This on TwitterShare This on Google+Share

By Stanley Turkel, CMHS

John Q. Hammons: Master Hotel Developer and Builder

One of the great hotelier/developers of our time. John Q. Hammons developed 200 hotel properties in 40 states. But mere statistics hide the essence of Mr. Hammons special development techniques. He disdained the standard feasibility studies when assessing potential sites for hotel development and instead relied on his own experience, knowledge and intuition.

Here are some reflections by John Q. Hammons on being an exceptional hotel developer:

  • Be in Tune With Change:  Have a Plan of Action. People do not stop to think what change means. That’s the thing about success. You have to watch change in people, change in habits, change in style, change in desire, change in everything. It’s happening every day, and nobody thinks about it. I do.
     
  • Live by the Bedrock Rule.  They’re not making any more land, so if you hang onto it long enough, you’re bound to make a profit, either by selling it or by developing it.
     
  • Commit to Quality and Location.  During the late ‘80s and early ‘90s when the banks closed, I told our regional managers, we are going to stay in the quality business. I said I’ve made up my mind that the day is coming that there will be so many budgets built that you won’t believe it. The price of entry is low, and you don’t have to be very smart to do 50 or 100 rooms.  We’re not going to travel there. We’re going to get with the colleges, universities and state capitals. We’re going to get into solid markets, and we’re going to build quality hotels.
     
  • Keep Your Word.  My reputation allows me to make deals no one else could make, certainly not on a handshake. I always live up to what I say I’ll do… and more. If you don’t do what you say, word of that will travel the country.  I’ve never had that kind of reputation, and I never will.
     
  • Give Back.  If you’re able to succeed monetarily in life, you should share, and that’s what I’ve done.
     
  • Forge Ahead in Good Times or Bad.  No matter what the economy does, no matter the circumstances, forge ahead. I’ve weathered a lot of storms, but I stay positive. Experience has taught me that I will prevail, no matter what fate throws at me.
     

Hammons began his development career by building housing for World War II veterans in Springfield, Missouri. When the city planning commission refused to approve a high-end shopping center, Hammons traveled to California where he saw Del Webb’s Highway Houses: a pioneering motor hotel concept that followed Route 66. When Hammons returned home, he contacted an unknwon Memphis, Tenn. builder named Kemmons Wilson who was undertaking a similar concept named Holiday Inns.  Hammons formed a partnership with a plumbing contractor Roy E. Winegardner and in 1958 became one of Holiday Inn’s first franchisees. During their partnership, Winegardner & Hammons developed 67 Holiday Inns, about 10% of the total system. This development coincided with the creation of the Interstate Highway System when President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956: a 13-year plan that would cost $25 billion, funded 90 percent by the federal government.

Hammons described in his own words, two defining moments of his life:

Defining Moment No. 1: “In 1969, my entrepreneurial spirit eventually led me to start my own company, John Q. Hammons Hotels. Even though Holiday Inn helped me become a great success, I switched gears after seeing economy hotels popping up next to each other. We had to specialize, so we focused on the upscale market, primarily building Embassy Suites and Marriott hotels with convention centers. We decided to build quality hotels that exceeded customer’s expectations. None of our hotels are alike and we use atriums, water features and local art to create individuality. We also strive to surpass the brand standards in each hotel, such as widening the hallways to seven feet and implementing pod check-in systems. If you build it right, locate it correctly and give the customers what they want, they will buy. The best way to sell is to let the other person buy.”

Defining Moment No. 2:  “After 9/11 hotel development came to an abrupt halt. Companies were too fearful to move forward. While everyone was stagnant, we forged ahead. The advantage of continuing to build hotels was the availability of materials and labor. We knew the economy would rebound and people would begin traveling more. Our hotels needed to be ready to welcome them. We have built and opened 16 hotels since 9/11, and that decision was well worth it.  Recently the cost of cement and steel ignited, increasing 25%. By developing hotels during an uncertain time, our company has saved US$80 million. No matter what the economy does, no matter the circumstances, forge ahead.

I have made it my life-long business to find markets and develop quality hotels. Since 1958, we have built 200 hotels from the ground up. Along the way, we have never forgotten to give back to the cities that help us succeed. We also have learned that you have to be fearless to succeed.” 

Hammons’ number one piece of advice was “you never build without the market….  Everyone says ‘location, location, location’. But it’s not true. It’s market, market, market. What I do is go throughout (the country) and look for those nooks and crannies where industry has grabbed a spot and gone to work.”  Hammons never built in primary locations. He selected secondary and tertiary markets where large corporations had regional offices or factories as well as university towns and state capitals. When Hammons and his senior vice president Scott Tarwater boarded Hammons’ private jet, they were looking for the confluence of interstate highways, transportation centers, railroads, universities and state capitals. They did not need to be right in the middle of the existing action; in fact, they preferred to be in a stable and underutilized location. Listen to the Hammons strategy:  “After going through (numerous) recessions, I decided I’m going to universities and state capitals, and if I could find both, (for instance) Madison, Wisconsin or Lincoln, Nebraska, you’ve got a homerun. Because when recessions come on, people still go to school and government employees still get paid. After 9/11 all the big players who have big hotels at big airports and city centers took a huge blow. They were helpless. (Whereas) we were out here in universities and capital cities and strong farming/agriculture communities.”

Hammons did not believe in formal, third-party feasibility studies. When he started his development work, Hammons would go into towns to do his own type of feasibility study. That meant talking to bellman, taxi drivers, all local business people.  He relied on his own judgment and the opinions of his top executives. Mayor Susan Narvais of San Marcos, Texas said “Most cities will say, “Bring me your feasibility study.’ But Mr. Hammons is a walking feasibility study. You trust his judgments just by looking at his life story and the accolades he receives.” Hammons provided the following analogy: “Mackinac Island has The Grand. Colorado Springs has the Broadmoor.  I knew that Branson lake country would become something.”

Was Hammons right?  Just consider the following:

  • Located in the heart of the Ozark Mountains on the shores of Lake Taneycomo, Branson is a popular tourist destination, famous for its many live music theaters, clubs and other entertainment venues, as well as its historic downtown and surrounding natural beauty.
     
  • 7 million people drive into Branson each year to attend the 50 theatres and live shows in town
     
  • Forget Las Vegas and New York’s theater district. Acre for acre, Branson is the live-entertainment center of the nation.
     
  • Branson is a $1.7 billion tourist mecca, the number one motor coach destination in the U.S.
     

The best hotel in Branson is Hammon’s Chateau on the Lake Resort Spa & Convention Center, a 4-star, 301 room hotel with a 46 foot, $85,000 tree in its atrium. Its function space includes a 32,000 square foot Great Hall, sixteen meeting rooms,  three corporate boardrooms and a 51-seat theater.  The Chateau has a full-service marina with everything from jet skis to ski boats, scuba diving, fishing and other water sports. A luxurious 14,000 square foot Spa Chateau contains 10 treatment rooms featuring hydraulic-operated massage tables. 

Hammons inevitably built a better and bigger hotel than the community expected and than the franchise company required. He said, “I’ve always survived because I believe in quality. At that manager’s conference where I told our people I intended to stay in the upscale, quality business, I told them I was going to put meeting space in our hotels. And that the meeting space will be big, like 10, 15 or even 40,000 square feet, because that’s our insurance policy. I knew that the trends for big conventions like in Chicago, New York, Miami, San Francisco and Los Angeles, Seattle, etc., were going to be a thing of the past because you can’t afford to get there. I knew. I could see that coming. That’s why I wanted to go into a region where I could be in the dominant position. ….Keep your properties up and go upscale. Put that convention center there and you can still be in business having your meetings and things like that,” Hammons said.

Disclosure

In preparation for the writing of my book, “Great American Hoteliers: Pioneers of the Hotel Industry” (AuthorHouse 2009), I visited Springfield, Missouri and Branson, Missouri from July 11-13, 2006 to interview John Q. Hammons; Scott Tarwater, Senior Vice President; Steve Minton, Senior Vice President; Cheryl McGee, Corporate Director of Marketing; John Fulton, Vice President/Design and Stephen Marshall, Vice President & General Manager, Chateau on the Lake Resort, Branson, Missouri.

“Green Book” Wins Academy Award for Best Picture

My hotel history No. 192, “The Negro Motorist Green Book”, was published on February 28, 2018. It told the story of a series of AAA-like guides for black travelers published from 1936 through 1966. It listed hotels, motels, service stations, boarding houses, restaurants, beauty and barber shops which were relatively friendly to African Americans. The movie “Green Book” tells the story of Don Shirley, a Jamaican-American classically trained pianist and his white chauffer, Frank “Tony Lip” Vallelonga who embark on a 1962 concert tour through the segregated Deep South. The movie is excellent and entirely worth seeing.

My Other Published Hotel Books

All of these books can be ordered from AuthorHouse by visiting www.stanleyturkel.com and clicking on the book’s title.

If You Need an Expert Witness:

For the past twenty-six years, I have served as an expert witness in more than 40 hotel-related cases. My extensive hotel operating experience is beneficial in cases involving:

  • slip and fall accidents
  • wrongful deaths
  • fire and carbon monoxide injuries
  • hotel security issues
  • dram shop requirements
  • hurricane damage and/or business interruption cases
     

Feel free to call me at no charge on 917-628-8549 to discuss any hotel-related expert witness assignment.

Tags: stanley turkelstan turkelhotel historynobody asked mejohn q. hammons

About Stanley Turkel

Stanley Turkel

Stanley Turkel was designated as the 2014 and the 2015 Historian of the Year by Historic Hotels of America, the official program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. This award is presented to an individual for making a unique contribution in the research and presentation of hotel history and whose work has encouraged a wide discussion and a greater understanding and enthusiasm for American History.

Turkel is a well-known consultant in the hotel industry. He operates his hotel consulting practice serving as an expert witness in hotel-related cases, provides asset management and hotel franchising consultation. He is certified as a Master Hotel Supplier Emeritus by the Educational Institute of the American Hotel and Lodging Association.

Contact: Stanley Turkel

stanturkel@aol.com / 917-628-8549

Related News

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 209: Hotel History: The Americana of New York (1962)

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 208: Hotel History: Grand Hotel (1887) Mackinac Island, Michigan

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 207: Hotel History in Brooklyn, N.Y.: Hotel Bossert (1909) and St. George Hotel (1885)

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 206: Hotel History: Mary Elizabeth Jane Colter

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 205: Hotel History: Frederick Henry Harvey

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 204: Hotel History: The Skirvin Hotel, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (1911) Part 2

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 203: Hotel History: The Skirvin Hotel, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (225 Rooms)

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 202: Hotel History: Mayflower Hotel, Washington, D.C.

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 201: Hotel History: Architect Morris Lapidus

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 200: Hotel History: Cesar Ritz and Auguste Escoffier

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 199: Hotel History: Fanciful Prediction, Definition of “Turnpike”, The Pineapple as a Symbol of Hospitality, Hokusai, the Great Japanese Printmaker

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 209: Hotel History: The Americana of New York (1962)

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 209: Hotel History: The Americana of New York (1962)

February 19, 2019 3:44pmShare This Link on FacebookShare This on TwitterShare This on Google+Share

by Stanley Turkel, CMHS

Hotel History: The Americana of New York

The Americana of New York opened on September 25, 1962 as a 2,000-room convention hotel. It was constructed by brothers Laurence Tisch and Preston Tisch, co-owners of the Loews Corporation and was the first over 1,000-room hotel to be built in New York since the Waldorf Astoria in 1931. With 51 floors, it was acclaimed for many years in its advertising and by the media as the tallest hotel in the world, based on the number and height of its inhabited floors. The Americana was built, along with the New York Hilton facing Sixth Avenue on the next block, to serve the huge number of tourists that the 1964 New York World’s Fair would bring, as well as the business and convention market. The hotel was also known in later years as the Americana Hotel, Americana New York and Loews Americana of New York.

On May 14, 1968, John Lennon and Paul McCartney held a press conference at the Americana to announce the formation of Apple Corps, their music label. The Americana also hosted the New York portion of the 1967 and 1968 Emmy Awards. The hotel’s supper club, The Royal Box featured performances by Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Julie London, Peggy Lee, Liberace, Lena Horne, Sammy Davis, Jr., Paul Anka, Frank Sinatra and many more musical legends.

The hotel was built to the designs of architect Morris Lapidus with a two-story podium originally containing the lobby, five restaurants, ten ballrooms, a large convention hall, and “an acre of kitchens”, with the hotel rooms in narrow slabs above. To achieve this, Lapidus employed three structural systems: floors 1 through 5 are steel-concrete composite columns, floors 5 through 29 are concrete shear walls, and 29 to 51 reinforced concrete columns. At the time of its completion, the building was the tallest concrete-framed structure in the city.

On July 21, 1972, American Airlines leased the Americana of New York from Loews, as well as the City Squire Motor Inn across the street, and the Americana Hotels in Bal Harbour, Florida, and San Juan, Puerto Rico, for a period of thirty years. American merged the hotels with their existing Sky Chefs Hotels chain, and marketed all the properties under the Americana Hotels brand. The hotel served as Democratic headquarters for the 1976 Democratic National Convention and 1980 Democratic National Convention. The hotel also hosted the 1974 NFL Draft.

The Americana of New York and the City Squire Motor Inn were sold to a partnership of Sheraton Hotels and the Equitable Life Assurance Society on January 24, 1979. The Americana was renamed the Sheraton Centre Hotel & Towers. Sheraton bought out Equitable’s share in the hotel in 1990, freeing them to undertake a nearly $200 million renovation in 1991, when the hotel was renamed the Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers. Following the World Trade Center attacks of September 11, 2001, Lehman Brothers Investment Banking division temporarily converted the first-floor lounges, restaurants, and 665 guestrooms of the hotel into office space. Starwood Hotels (which had bought Sheraton in 1998) sold the hotel, along with 37 other properties, to Host Marriott for $4 Billion on November 14, 2005. The hotel continued to be managed by Sheraton, however, and was again renovated from 2011-2012, at a cost of $180 million, with the name shortened to Sheraton New York Hotel in 2012 and then changed to Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel in 2013.

The main block of accommodation is a tall thin bent slab form, angled towards the 52nd Street corner, emphasized by the horizontal striped façade of strip windows and yellow glazed brick spandrels. On the north side facing Sixth Avenue, a lower 25-story wing is placed at right angles to the bent slab, and so at a slight angle to the street, and includes the entrance and lobby in a two-story podium.

The dominant feature at ground level is the two story circular rotunda projecting from under the end of the bent wing on the 52nd street corner. An image of the original hotel in the 1960s can be found in the collection of the Museum of the City of New York. The sidewalk on all sides originally had striped paving at the slight angle of the entry and bent wing, effectively turning the Seventh Avenue sidewalk into a forecourt for the hotel.

The facades of the accommodation blocks are generally intact, but the podium levels were reclad in the 1991 renovation, replacing the varied, light 1960s details with Postmodern squared granite.

Disclosure:
I once worked as Resident Manager of the Americana of New York. I lived on the 45th floor and was available at any hour of the night for any and all out-of-the-ordinary events. Inevitably, there were incidents that arose out of mechanical failures, unexpected guest behavior and/or employee shortcomings. I loved the excitement of the job and reported to General Manager Tom Troy, a veteran of the Statler Hotel Corporation.

My New Hotel Book Is Nearing Completion

It is entitled “Great American Hotel Architects” and tells the fascinating stories of Warren & Wetmore, Henry J. Hardenbergh, Schutze & Weaver, Mary Colter, Bruce Price, Mulliken & Moeller, McKim, Mead & White, Carrere & Hastings, Julia Morgan, Emery Roth and Trowbridge & Livingston.

My Other Published Hotel Books

All of these books can also be ordered from AuthorHouse by visiting www.stanleyturkel.com and clicking on the book’s title.

If You Need an Expert Witness:

For the past twenty-six years, I have served as an expert witness in more than 40 hotel-related cases. My extensive hotel operating experience is beneficial in cases involving:

  • slip and fall accidents
  • wrongful deaths
  • fire and carbon monoxide injuries
  • hotel security issues
  • dram shop requirements
  • hurricane damage and/or business interruption cases
     

Feel free to call me at no charge on 917-628-8549 to discuss any hotel-related expert witness assignment.

Tags: stanley turkelstan turkelhotel historynobody asked methe americana of new yorkthe americana,sheraton new york times square hotel

About Stanley Turkel

Stanley Turkel

Stanley Turkel was designated as the 2014 and the 2015 Historian of the Year by Historic Hotels of America, the official program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. This award is presented to an individual for making a unique contribution in the research and presentation of hotel history and whose work has encouraged a wide discussion and a greater understanding and enthusiasm for American History.

Turkel is a well-known consultant in the hotel industry. He operates his hotel consulting practice serving as an expert witness in hotel-related cases, provides asset management and hotel franchising consultation. He is certified as a Master Hotel Supplier Emeritus by the Educational Institute of the American Hotel and Lodging Association.

Contact: Stanley Turkel

stanturkel@aol.com / 917-628-8549

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Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 208: Hotel History: Grand Hotel (1887) Mackinac Island, Michigan

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Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 206: Hotel History: Mary Elizabeth Jane Colter

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 205: Hotel History: Frederick Henry Harvey

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 204: Hotel History: The Skirvin Hotel, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (1911) Part 2

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 203: Hotel History: The Skirvin Hotel, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (225 Rooms)

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 202: Hotel History: Mayflower Hotel, Washington, D.C.

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 201: Hotel History: Architect Morris Lapidus

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Sheraton Appoints Sean Verney as General Manager of Sheraton New York Times Square

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 199: Hotel History: Fanciful Prediction, Definition of “Turnpike”, The Pineapple as a Symbol of Hospitality, Hokusai, the Great Japanese Printmaker

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 208: Hotel History: Grand Hotel (1887) Mackinac Island, Michigan

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 208: Hotel History: Grand Hotel (1887) Mackinac Island, Michigan

January 29, 2019 3:13pmShare This Link on FacebookShare This on TwitterShare This on Google+Share

by Stanley Turkel, CMHS

Hotel History: Grand Hotel

The “Grand” as it is called on the island, is a historic coastal resort with a spectacular 660-foot long, three-story high porch. Below this covered veranda is a manicured lawn sloping down to a formal flower garden where 10,000 geraniums bloom in season among other flower beds with wild blossoms. The hotel is located on Mackinac Island which is in the straits between Lake Michigan and Lake Huron.  It has thrived because of an important decision made in the 1920s. All private cars and trucks were outlawed on the island which gives visitors a chance to live in a village without automobiles.  In their place, islanders depend on bicycles and horse- drawn carriages and wagons. Originally called Plank’s Grand Hotel after its builder John Oliver Plank, one of America’s top hotel builders and operators in the late 1880s and early 1900s.

In 1886, the Michigan Central Railroad, Grand Rapids and Indiana Railroad, and Detroit and Cleveland Steamship Navigation Company formed the Mackinac Island Hotel Company. The group purchased the land on which the hotel was built and construction began, based upon the design by Detroit architects Mason and Rice. When it opened the following year, the hotel was advertised to Chicago, Erie, Montreal and Detroit residents as a summer retreat for vacationers who arrived by lake steamer and by rail from across the continent. The hotel opened on July 10, 1887 and took a mere 93 days to complete.

The Grand has managed to maintain its 19th century charm and to survive into the age of budget hotels, interstate highways and recreational vehicles. It offers a rare level of luxury with a sense of style that has mostly gone out of style. The meals are American plan featuring five- course breakfasts and formal dinners with jackets and ties on gentlemen and ladies “in their finest”. No tipping is permitted at the Grand with an 18% gratuity charge added to every bill.

Five U.S. Presidents have visited: Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, Gerald Ford, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton. The hotel also hosted the first public demonstration of Thomas Edison’s phonograph on the porch and regular demonstrations of other new inventions were often conducted during Edison’s frequent stays. Mark Twain also made this a regular location on his speaking tours in the midwest.

Additionally, six suites are named for and designed by seven former First Ladies of the United States, including the Jacqueline Kennedy Suite (with carpet that includes the gold presidential eagle on a navy blue background and walls painted gold), Lady Bird Johnson Suite (yellow damask-covered walls with blue and gold wildflowers), Betty Ford Suite (green with cream and a dash of red), Rosalynn Carter Suite (with a sample of china designed for the Carter White House and wall coverings in Georgia peach), Nancy Reagan Suite (with signature red walls and Mrs. Reagan’s personal touches), Barbara Bush Suite (designed with pale blue and pearl and with both Maine and Texas influences) and the Laura Bush Suite.

In 1957, the Grand Hotel was designated a State Historical Building. In 1972, the hotel was named to the National Register of Historic Places, and on June 29, 1989, the hotel was made a National Historic Landmark.

The Conde Nast Traveler “Gold Lists” the hotel as one of the “Best Places to Stay in the Whole World” and Travel + Leisure magazine lists it as among the “Top 100 Hotels in the World.”  The Wine Spectator noted the Grand Hotel with an “Award of Excellence” and it made Gourmet magazine’s “Top 25 Hotels in the World” list. The American Automobile Association (AAA) rates the facilities as a Four-Diamond resort. In 2009 the Grand Hotel was named one of the top 10 U.S. Historic Hotels of America by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

In 2012, the Grand Hotel celebrated its 125th anniversary with a series of memorable events:  Saturday night dinner with former Michigan governors in attendance, presentation by Grand Hotel interior designer Carlton Varney, Friday night fireworks, live performance by John Pizzarelli and much more. A special edition 125thanniversary coffee table book was published.

2018 marks the Grand Hotel’s 131st Birthday and over 85 years of Musser Family’s ownership.

My New Hotel Book Is Nearing Completion

It is entitled “Great American Hotel Architects” and tells the fascinating stories of Warren & Wetmore, Henry J. Hardenbergh, Schutze & Weaver, Mary Colter, Bruce Price, Mulliken & Moeller, McKim, Mead & White, Carrere & Hastings, Julia Morgan and Emery Roth.

My Other Published Hotel Books

All of these books can also be ordered from AuthorHouse by visiting www.stanleyturkel.com and clicking on the book’s title.

If You Need an Expert Witness:

For the past twenty-six years, I have served as an expert witness in more than 40 hotel-related cases. My extensive hotel operating experience is beneficial in cases involving:

  • slip and fall accidents
  • wrongful deaths
  • fire and carbon monoxide injuries
  • hotel security issues
  • dram shop requirements
  • hurricane damage and/or business interruption cases
     

Feel free to call me at no charge on 917-628-8549 to discuss any hotel-related expert witness assignment.

Tags: stanley turkelhotel historynobody asked megrand hotel

About Stanley Turkel

Stanley Turkel

Stanley Turkel was designated as the 2014 and the 2015 Historian of the Year by Historic Hotels of America, the official program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. This award is presented to an individual for making a unique contribution in the research and presentation of hotel history and whose work has encouraged a wide discussion and a greater understanding and enthusiasm for American History.

Turkel is a well-known consultant in the hotel industry. He operates his hotel consulting practice serving as an expert witness in hotel-related cases, provides asset management and hotel franchising consultation. He is certified as a Master Hotel Supplier Emeritus by the Educational Institute of the American Hotel and Lodging Association.

Contact: Stanley Turkel

stanturkel@aol.com / 917-628-8549

Related News

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 207: Hotel History in Brooklyn, N.Y.: Hotel Bossert (1909) and St. George Hotel (1885)

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 206: Hotel History: Mary Elizabeth Jane Colter

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 205: Hotel History: Frederick Henry Harvey

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 204: Hotel History: The Skirvin Hotel, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (1911) Part 2

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 203: Hotel History: The Skirvin Hotel, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (225 Rooms)

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 202: Hotel History: Mayflower Hotel, Washington, D.C.

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 201: Hotel History: Architect Morris Lapidus

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 200: Hotel History: Cesar Ritz and Auguste Escoffier

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 199: Hotel History: Fanciful Prediction, Definition of “Turnpike”, The Pineapple as a Symbol of Hospitality, Hokusai, the Great Japanese Printmaker

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 198: Hotel History: Jefferson Hotel, U.S. Grant Hotel, The Montauk Manor and The Jung Hotel