Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 234: Hotel History: Curt R. Strand, President, Hilton International

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 234: Curt R. Strand, President, Hilton International

Stanley Turkel | July 21, 2020

by Stanley Turkel, CMHS

Hotel History: Curt R. Strand (1920-2020)

On July 12, 2020, I received the following email:

“Dear Friends of Curt, With a broken heart, I am telling you that Curt passed away last night in his home. He was, as you would expect gallant till the end. Love, Barbara Lynn”.

In 1948, Conrad Hilton formed Hilton Hotels International. One of the first employees was Curt R. Strand who wrote in the Cornell Hotel and Restaurant Administration Quarterly June 1996*:

“Hilton International started small in 1947, but I was endowed with a great asset. It is a wise parent who does not bestow money on his children, just in good education. The parent, Conrad Hilton, was a consummate deal maker. He had an intuition about hotels as real estate that was unmatched in his time.

Hilton International was started with the opening of the Caribe Hilton in San Juan, Puerto Rico a destination practically unknown in the United States. The island was eager to attract business organizations to investigate its newly-established tax haven. Puerto Rican government officials realized that they needed a first-class hotel to attract investors. In Lessons of a Lifetime: The Development of Hilton International, Curt Strand wrote that he started his hotel career at the Plaza Hotel in New York without knowing that it was owned by Conrad Hilton. Hilton’s first hotel outside the United States was in the commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Hilton came up with a novel idea: he would design, lease and operate a new hotel that the government would finance through the sale of bonds.

The rent was not to be fixed and could not therefore be considered a financial obligation. Instead the rent was based on operating profits (two-thirds of GOP, if you can believe it). Today, this type of proposal would be commonplace, but at the time it was a revolutionary twist that had never been tried with hotels or any other real-estate deal. All Hilton put up was $300,000 for operating equipment and initial working capital. By no coincidence this was the total amount of cash Hilton’s board grudgingly gave him to invest in his new subsidiary, Hilton International.”

Strand then assessed the difficulties that Conrad Hilton had with his own board of directors:

“Conrad Hilton had the vision of what we now call globalization back in 1947, but he did not have the means to achieve such a vision because his board of directors wanted no part of it. At that time, with so much of world’s economy inoperative, expansion mean taking financial risk. The genesis of Hilton’s–and the industry’s–globalization was a confluence of three factors, almost historic accidents. Those factors were demand, an entrepreneur and financing. Most of Europe and much of Asia lay devastated by war in 1947. Every country had a critical need to earn hard currency but was incapable of producing much for export, since industry and agriculture were in ruins. Tourism was one of the few prospects and it was a good one.”

Some of Strand’s recollections of the difficulties faced by Hilton International all over the world reflect the experiences of a pioneering hotel company:

“At least for the company’s first ten years (from 1947), hotel demand grew everywhere but even in Europe much travel was primitive and most other areas were not ready for development. In Cairo, a hotel was constructed by 6,000 women carrying cement mix on their heads up 12 stories because there was no crane. (This was considered normal women’s work, but when that Cairo hotel opened, all the waitresses had college degrees because there were not enough jobs for college-educated women.) In Addis Ababa criminals often met justice in the form of a public hanging, unfortunately in a spot on the road to the airport. (I personally asked the emperor to relocate the gallows, and he did so.) In Rome it took our owners, the largest construction company in Italy, ten years to get a building permit, due to politics and bureaucracy. The independence date of Barbados depended on completion of our hotel–both delayed of course.”

Strand also described the creation and evolution of the hotel management agreement:

“With our competitive advantage, we fought hard to gain the best terms possible in our management agreements. Terms extended up to 50 years, management fees were 3 to 5 percent of revenue plus 10 percent of GOP. Contracts did not allow for earnings tests or cancellations clauses, let alone forecast guarantees. The idea of sharing management with owners we felt to be analogous to driving a car with two steering wheels. If a prospective owner felt that we should give him our name and he would exercise his managerial judgment on budgets and key staff, we felt we would be better off to pass on that opportunity.”

In order to expand, Hilton International had to build a staff of architects, engineers, interior designers, project managers, kitchen and back-of-the-house planners.

Strand said that Charles Anderson Bell was in charge of that difficult function for many years:

“We paid considerable attention to food and beverage facilities and quality. Our experience was that 80 percent of all room reservations were made locally. How do locals form an impression of a hotel? From attending functions there, from the coffee shop and from the restaurants. Somebody can always make a case for closing a hotel’s dining room. The savings are easy to calculate but not the loss in standing and reputation. While concepts do have to change, a full-service hotel is not full service without a credible food-and-beverage operation. There is no excuse for building a five-star hotel in a two-star location, and that fundamental mistake cannot be corrected by closing the restaurant….”

After opening, these new hotels were extraordinarily beneficial to the sponsoring countries. They created new jobs which required extensive training in new skills. Hilton was savvy enough to design hotels which featured the national culture and utilized local arts, crafts, paintings and sculpture. Still, many locals felt ignored by the foreign managers who sometimes did not adapt quickly to the local customs and bureaucracies.

Strand reported that ten years after its start in Puerto Rico, Hilton International had opened just eight hotels.

“We had a big name but a small base… Our goal was to get into Europe, because that was the place with the greatest demand for rooms both for business people and for tourists, particularly with the introduction of jet planes in the late ‘50s. … Our strategy became one of establishing an outer perimeter of locations where demand for our evolving experience was particularly strong. Spain (under Francisco Franco at the time), for example, was desperate for a Western link.

Turkey was developing into a 20th-century state based on its magnificent history and culture. Berlin was isolated and still recovering from the strangulation of the Soviet embargo (overcome by the Western air lift of supplies). Egypt was just emerging from colonialism, once again an independent power.

We also strengthened our reputation by operating properties in the New World. Cuba (before Fidel Castro) wished to emulate Puerto Rico’s success and that the newly developed gambling mecca of LasVegas.”

In the Spring of 2015, Curt Strand wrote a fascinating monograph entitled “Memories of Pioneering” which tells the stories of twelve openings of Hilton International Hotels. You can find the copy in my book, “Hotel Mavens Volume 3” AuthorHouse 2020.

My New Book “Hotel Mavens Volume 3: Bob and Larry Tisch, Curt Strand, Ralph Hitz, Cesar Ritz, Raymond Orteig” has been published.

My Other Published Hotel Books

  • Great American Hoteliers: Pioneers of the Hotel Industry (2009)
  • Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels in New York (2011)
  • Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels East of the Mississippi (2013)
  • Hotel Mavens: Lucius M. Boomer, George C. Boldt, Oscar of the Waldorf (2014)
  • Great American Hoteliers Volume 2: Pioneers of the Hotel Industry (2016)
  • Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels West of the Mississippi (2017)
  • Hotel Mavens Volume 2: Henry Morrison Flagler, Henry Bradley Plant, Carl Graham Fisher (2018)
  • Great American Hotel Architects Volume I (2019)

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.

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. 233: Hotel History: The Adolphus Hotel

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 233: Hotel History: The Adolphus Hotel

Stanley Turkel | June 30, 2020

By Stanley Turkel, CMHS

Hotel History: The Adolphus Hotel (407 rooms)

The Adolphus Hotel was built by and named for Adolphus Busch, the founder of the Anheuser-Busch Brewing Company. Legend has it that Adolphus Busch donated the hotel to Dallas as a thank you for its enthusiastic acceptance of his famous Midwestern brew. It was designed in a Beaux-Arts style by architects Barnett, Haynes & Barnett of St. Louis who also designed the Hamilton Hotel, St. Louis; the Hotel Claridge, Memphis; the Connor Hotel, Joplin; the Marquette Hotel, St. Louis; the Southern Hotel, Chicago and the Mark Twain Hotel, Hannibal.

The hotel, a full city block long and 19 floors when built, is rich with unusual architectural elements including a “beer-bottle” turret and French Renaissance carvings depicting Greek figures, floral designs and mythical animals. Shortly after opening, the Adolphus attracted visiting diplomats, royalty, movie stars and United States presidents. Franklin Delano Roosevelt celebrated a birthday, Queen Elizabeth sipped tea and Rudolph Valentino had dinner with friends.

Under the management of Otto Schubert from 1922-1946, the Adolphus gained a national reputation. In 1916, the architects Otto Lang and Frank Witchell designed an annex called the “Junior Adolphus” which added 229 guestrooms. Lang & Witchell designed a number of other buildings that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The firm dominated construction in Dallas from 1910 to 1942 and designed great buildings such as the Dallas Power & Light and the Lone Star Gas Company, both of which opened in 1931.

The Adolphus Hotel underwent additional expansions, first in 1916, then in 1926 and finally in 1950 to bring the total number of guestrooms to 1,200. With a rooftop restaurant, the Adolphus was nighttime hot spot through the Roaring ‘20s and the Great Depression. Once the largest fully air-conditioned hotel in the world, it was later downsized to 422 larger guestrooms to provide more space, more suites, more bathrooms and more comfort for its guests.

In the 1930s, the Adolphus was run by hotel industry pioneer Ralph Hitz’s National Hotel Management Company and featured Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey, Benny Goodman and Glenn Miller.

Another big hit was Art Victor’s Ice Time Revue featuring Olympic star Dorothy Franey in the Adolphus Century Room. She was a pioneer in women’s sports who embodied the Olympic spirit. In 1932, she helped introduce women’s speed skating as a demonstration sport at the Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, N.Y. Earlier, Dorothy Franey was a tennis, basketball, softball and diving champion who set world speed-skating records as a high school senior.

The Adolphus Hotel was featured in Victor H. Green’s Negro Motorist Green Book in 1936. Green’s Book was a guide for blacks seeking hotels, restaurants, hair salons and gas stations who accepted their patronage.

During the 1944 presidential election, President Franklin Roosevelt’s campaign headquarters was located on the hotel’s seventh floor. The Busch family owned the Adolphus for 37 years, despite the founder’s untimely death just one year after opening. In 1949, Leo Corrigan, a real estate developer, bought the Adolphus Hotel. Along with the adjacent Baker Hotel, the Adolphus shared the most important citywide functions, conventions and athletic events.

Perhaps no newspaper columnist knew Dallas better than R.W. Apple Jr. of the New York Times. On December 17, 1999 he wrote:

“The words and music have stuck in my mind for 40-odd years, because they seemed so apt. Frank Loesser wrote them for a musical called “The Most Happy Fella,” and they stopped the show every time.

Big money, big hair, big talk. Such is the lingering sterotype of this city. It occupies a sizable spot in the national consciousness as the home of the big, bad Dallas Cowboys, of J.R. Ewing and Miss Ellie and all the gang at Southfork, and of the little guy with the big ears and bigger ambition, H. Ross Perot, who was a billionaire before he turned 40.

And for those old enough to recall the events of November 1963, it occupies an especially dark corner of memory, as the cursed place where John F. Kennedy was shot.”

Today’s Adolphus, a AAA five-diamond recipient since 1983, features 407 guestrooms including nine-foot ceilings, separate sitting areas, walk-in closets, down comforters and marble baths. Adolphus Busch’s original Penthouse Suite occupies the hotel’s top floor. The hotel was named one of the country’s top ten meeting facilities. In addition to the French Renaissance-inspired Grand Ballroom and 4,500 square foot Century Room, the hotel has five conference/classrooms and   boardrooms.

In 1981, the Adolphus’ third owner, the Westgroup Partners commenced an $80 million restoration of the hotel. The massive project combined several adjacent buildings with the original tower and was awarded the 1982 American Institute of Architects Honor Award.

The Adolphus has been named one of the top ten hotels in the United States by Condé Nast Traveller and received high ratings from Zagat, Fodor’s and Frommer’s. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

My New Book “Hotel Mavens Volume 3: Bob and Larry Tisch, Curt Strand, Ralph Hitz, Cesar Ritz, Raymond Orteig” has been published.

My Other Published Hotel Books

  • Great American Hoteliers: Pioneers of the Hotel Industry (2009)
  • Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels in New York (2011)
  • Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels East of the Mississippi (2013)
  • Hotel Mavens: Lucius M. Boomer, George C. Boldt, Oscar of the Waldorf (2014)
  • Great American Hoteliers Volume 2: Pioneers of the Hotel Industry (2016)
  • Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels West of the Mississippi (2017)
  • Hotel Mavens Volume 2: Henry Morrison Flagler, Henry Bradley Plant, Carl Graham Fisher (2018)
  • Great American Hotel Architects Volume I (2019)

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.

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. 232: Hotel History: Union Station Hotel

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 232: Hotel History: Union Station Hotel

Stanley Turkel | June 09, 2020

By Stanley Turkel, CMHS

Hotel History: Union Station Hotel, Nashville, Tennessee, (125 rooms)

Long before it was a historic hotel, the Nashville, Tennessee Union Station was a key center in America’s economy and transportation. Opening on Oct. 9, 1900, for the Louisville & Nashville Railroad, the building’s imposing Gothic design featuring a soaring barrel-vaulted ceiling and Tiffany-styled stained glass, was a testament to U.S. ingenuity and energy. During railroading’s glory years, Mafia kingpin Al Capone was escorted through here on his way to the Georgia penitentiary. Other fascinating facts surrounding this historic Nashville station include:

  • Construction began on August 1, 1898
  • Station officially opened on Oct. 9, 1900
  • The track level once held two alligator ponds
  • The Train Shed was the largest unsupported span in America, housing up to 10 full trains at once

Architect Richard Montfort (1854-1931) designed the Nashville Union Station for the Louisville & Nashville Railroad. The monumental station is truly special for the following characteristics:

  • Heavy-stone Richardsonian-Romanesque design
  • 65-foot, barrel-vaulted lobby ceiling, featuring gold-leaf medallions and 100-year-old, original Luminous Prism stained glass
  • Marble floors, oak-accented doors and walls, and three limestone fireplaces
  • 20 gold-accented bas-relief angel of commerce figurines
  • Two bas-relief panels—a steam locomotive and horse-drawn chariot ̶ at each end of the lobby

The station reached peak usage during World War II when it was the shipping-out point for tens of thousands of U.S. troops. After the war, it started a long decline as passenger rail service in

the U.S. generally was reduced. By the 1960s, it was served by only a few trains daily. Much of its open spaces were roped off and its architectural features became largely the habitat of pigeons. The formation of Amtrak in 1971 reduced service to the northbound and southbound Floridian train each day. When this service was discontinued in October 1979, the station was abandoned entirely. The station fell into the custody of the United States Government’s General Services Administration. In the early 1980s, a group of investors came forward with a plan to finance the renovation of the station into a luxury hotel which was approved. After extensive renovation, the new investor group who bought the hotel out of bankruptcy was able to operate it profitably.

By the mid-1990s they had restored the statue of Mercury to his place atop the tower, albeit in a two-dimensional form painted in trompe l’oeil style to replicate the original. This was destroyed in the 1998 downtown Nashville tornado but was soon replaced.

Frommer’s Review reported in the New York Times:

Built in 1900 and housed in the Romanesque Gothic former Union Station railway terminal, this hotel is a grandly restored National Historic Landmark. Following a $10-million renovation, completed in 2007, all guest rooms and public spaces have been updated. The lobby is the former main hall of the railway station and has a vaulted ceiling of Tiffany stained glass….

The Union Station Hotel Nashville, Autograph Collection is a member of the Historic Hotels of America and the National Trust for Historic Preservation since 2015. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1977.

My New Book “Hotel Mavens Volume 3: Bob and Larry Tisch, Curt Strand, Ralph Hitz, Cesar Ritz, Raymond Orteig” has been published.

My Other Published Hotel Books

• Great American Hoteliers: Pioneers of the Hotel Industry (2009)

• Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels in New York (2011)

• Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels East of the Mississippi (2013)

• Hotel Mavens: Lucius M. Boomer, George C. Boldt, Oscar of the Waldorf (2014)

• Great American Hoteliers Volume 2: Pioneers of the Hotel Industry (2016)

• Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels West of the Mississippi (2017)

• Hotel Mavens Volume 2: Henry Morrison Flagler, Henry Bradley Plant, Carl Graham Fisher (2018)

• Great American Hotel Architects Volume I (2019)

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

4. 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.65

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. 231: Brown Palace Hotel, Denver, Co

Nobody Asked Me But… No. 231: Brown Palace Hotel, Denver, Colorado

Stanley Turkel | May 19, 2020

By Stanley Turkel, CMHS

Hotel History: Brown Palace Hotel, (479 rooms)

The Brown Palace Hotel opened in 1892 with an eight-story atrium designed by architect Frank E. Edbrooke (1840-1921). More than 400 wrought iron grillwork panels ring the lobby from the third through the seventh floors. Two of them are upside down, one to serve the tradition that man is imperfect; the other sneaked in by a disgruntled workman.

The Brown Palace was built on a cow pasture by Henry Cordes Brown, a carpenter who had driven an oxcart across the country and arrived at Cherry Creek in Kansas territory in 1860. By the late 1880s, Brown owned much of the former miner’s encampment that became Denver. He built homes, stores and churches on most of it and gave a parcel to the state for a site for the State Capitol. The Windsor Hotel, one of Denver’s most prestigious hotels, offended Brown by refusing to admit him because he was wearing cowboy clothing. Brown decided to build a hotel that would put the Windsor to shame while allowing cowboy attire. Construction of the Brown Palace Hotel began in 1888 on the Italian Renaissance building using red Colorado granite and Arizona sandstone for the building’s exterior. Because no wood was used for the floors and walls, the hotel was celebrated as the second fireproof building in America.

Architect Frank E. Edbrooke, a Civil War veteran, was termed the “dean” of Denver architecture and several of his surviving works are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Artist James Whitehouse was commissioned to create 26 medallions carved in stone, each depicting a native Colorado animal. These “silent guests” can still be seen between the seventh floor windows on the hotel’s exterior.

For the interior, Edbrooke designed an atrium lobby with the balconies rising eight floors above ground surrounded by cast iron railings with ornate grillwork panels. The completed hotel cost $1.6 million and another $400,000 for furnishings- a remarkable sum for the time. It included Axministers, Wiltons and Brussels carpets; Irish Point, Clury and Brussels net curtains; Irish linen; Haviland, Limoges and Dalton china; Reed and Barton silver. All the furniture was solid wood in white mahogany, antique oak and cherry. Chairs and sofas were covered in silk. Each guestroom had its own fireplace with kindling and coal provided by bellboys.

At opening the hotel was known as the H.C. Brown Palace. Henry Brown died in San Diego, California in 1906 at the age of 86. His body was returned to Denver where permission was given by the governor for it to lie in state in the capital building, built on the land with which he’d clinched the proposition for Denver’s becoming the Territorial Capitol.

On May 24, 1911, a scandalous double murder took place at the Brown Palace which is reported in the book by Dick Kreck Murder at the Brown Palace: A True Story of Seduction and Betrayal. The story involves high society, adultery, drugs and multiple murders.

Beginning in 1905, every president since Theodore Roosevelt has visited the hotel except Calvin Coolidge. President Dwight Eisenhower was such a frequent guest that the hotel was called the western White House.

Every year since 1945, the hotel lobby is the site of the Stock Show championship when a fifteen hundred to two thousand-pound steer is on exhibit. In its storied history, the hotel has hosted Buffalo Bill Cody, John Philip Sousa, several Barrymores, Lillian Russell, Mary Pickford and the Beatles. Almost every Denver resident has a story of a birthday, anniversary, wedding or other affair held at the Brown Palace. The tradition of “taking tea” is a long-standing one, guests have been doing it for over a century. Afternoon tea is still served daily in the middle of the atrium lobby, accompanied by either a pianist or harpist. Specially commissioned Royal Doulton bone china graces each table along with engraved silver tea pots. No detail is overlooked, not even the silver tea strainers. Afternoon tea includes scones, pastries and delicate tea sandwiches prepared fresh every day. Devonshire cream is shipped directly from England. Guests can choose between the traditional Brown’s tea or the Royal Palace tea. Uniformed wait staff are trained in the art of English tea service, a rare accomplishment in mid-America.

By 1974, the concept of luxury had changed. An average of sixty percent of Brown Palace guests were attending conventions. They were accommodated by construction in 1959 of the 22-story tower building across the street that doubled the size of the hotel from 226 rooms to 479 rooms. By the mid-1990s, Denver opened a new $4.9 billion international airport and rejuvenated its downtown with new stores, new restaurants, new cultural attractions and a new ball park.

While the Windsor Hotel was demolished in the 1950s, the Brown Palace has never once closed its doors since opening 128 years ago. It remains, a magnificent four-star hotel in the heart of one of America’s supreme mountain ranges. The Brown Palace is known for many special qualities: its unusual shape, stunning eight-story atrium lobby, elegant atmosphere and its singular ability to treat guests like royalty. In the Palace Arms restaurant, guests can see two golden eagles made of papier mache- parade decorations from Napolean’s march from the Arc de Triomphe to Notre Dame to crown himself emperor.

In 2013, the Brown Palace received a three-year restoration of the building’s façade by the Denver-based Building Restoration Specialties Company which replaced mortar joints, small areas of damaged stone and repaired flashings. The stone used to replace damaged areas of the façade was hand-carved, custom-made Utah sandstone. From the hand-painted wallpaper in the formal dining area and the on-site well used for drinking water to the painted glass ceiling that showers light on patrons enjoying tea in the atrium, the Brown Palace has managed to stay current without shedding its history.

In 2014, Crow Holding Capital Partners, an investment arm of the Trammell Crow family in Dallas acquired the historic Brown Palace Hotel & Spa and adjacent Comfort Inn Downtown Denver. In 2012, the hotel joined Marriott International’s Autograph Collection of luxury properties.

My New Book “Hotel Mavens Volume 3: Bob and Larry Tisch, Curt Strand, Ralph Hitz, Cesar Ritz, Raymond Orteig” has just been published.

My Other Published Hotel Books

  • Great American Hoteliers: Pioneers of the Hotel Industry (2009)
  • Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels in New York (2011)
  • Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels East of the Mississippi (2013)
  • Hotel Mavens: Lucius M. Boomer, George C. Boldt, Oscar of the Waldorf (2014)
  • Great American Hoteliers Volume 2: Pioneers of the Hotel Industry (2016)
  • Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels West of the Mississippi (2017)
  • Hotel Mavens Volume 2: Henry Morrison Flagler, Henry Bradley Plant, Carl Graham Fisher (2018)
  • Great American Hotel Architects Volume I (2019)

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.115

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.

Website: (www.stanleyturkel.com)

stanturkel@aol.com/917-628-8549

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Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 230: Hotel History: Four Seasons Hotel

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 230: Hotel History: Four Seasons Hotel

Stanley Turkel | April 28, 2020

By Stanley Turkel, CMHS

Hotel History: Four Seasons Hotel, (367 rooms)

Is it possible to conceive that the Four Seasons Hotel in New York has been converted to house medical professionals battling the coronavirus? In late March, the five-star Four Seasons Hotel located on East 57th Street began to accept hospital employees who work in mid-Manhattan.

This I.M. Pei-designed hotel was surely the most talked-about new hotel in New York when it opened in 1993 at a cost $1 million per room. This 52-story, 367 room building with its limestone-clad lobby, 33-foot-high onyx ceiling, glowing wall sconces and original paintings provided grandeur and elegance that was immediately observed.

On June 27, 1993, in a New York Times Architecture View, Paul Goldberger wrote:

“…. The guest rooms share the qualities of the public rooms but are done in a lusher, softer modern style. They represent a big change for the Four Seasons chain, which has tended to believe that the elegance of a hotel room is in direct proportion to the amount of imitation English furniture it contains. Here, there is an urbane modernism, sophisticated without being at all cold….

And that gets us to the essential fact of this building, which is how wonderfully it combines the aura of a major hotel with the intimacy of a small one. This hotel’s architecture sends us every cue that it is a grand hotel, from the immense scale of the main entrance to the tall tower’s sculpted presence on the skyline. There is no cozy domesticity at the Four Seasons, no coy attempt, as at so many luxury hotels, to pretend that this is just a fancy apartment house that happens to have a check-in desk. No, this is a Major Public Place…. And in an age when almost every new luxury hotel seems to be parading domesticity, a hotel that presents itself as a shimmering and urbane presence is a great thing to happens to New York.”

“This is not a hotel anymore,” said Dr. Robert Quigley, the senior vice president and medical director for International SOS, a medical and travel securities firm that is overseeing the hotel’s new protocols. “It’s housing for a high-risk population.”

The Four Seasons, just like nearby Central Park and the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, Queens is yet another city landmark being retrofitted to fight the pandemic. Although other hotels in the city are helping with hospital bed overflow, the Four Seasons has dedicated itself exclusively to keeping doctors, nurses and other medical professionals well rested and safe.

At the entrance on 57th Street, two nurses, wearing N95 masks, take the temperature of all guests, asking questions about symptoms over the past 72-hours and if they’ve washed their hands. Once inside, guests go straight to their rooms; there is no bar or restaurant. Elevators carry one passenger at a time; others must wait on taped Xs on the floor, placed six feet apart. Of the hotel’s 368 rooms, only 225 will have guests, to limit crowding on the property.

Guest and hotel staff members no longer interact. For check-in, keys are placed in envelopes on a table. Minibars have been removed from guest rooms. Housekeeping is an amenity of the past; rooms are provided with extra linens and towels. Dirty items are collected only after guests, who stay for a minimum of seven days, check out their rooms have been fumigated. Beds no longer have decorative pillows which can spread germs. On every nightstand there is a bottle of sanitizer instead of a piece of chocolate.

The idea to convert the Four Seasons was owner Ty Warner’s idea. In a few days, General Manager Rudy Tauscher helped a new team plan the emergency residence in a few days with reinvented planning and operations. Elizabeth Ortiz, the hotel’s personnel director, started daily call arounds to ensure that every employee is getting to work Ok and is feeling Ok. But despite the careful planning, the hotel was unprepared for what happened after Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mr. Warner announced that the Four Seasons would reopen for medical professionals. Thousands of doctors and nurses swarmed the phone lines. “It totally overwhelmed the ordinary systems in place” said Grey Scandaglia, Mr. Warner’s lawyer. After the initial confusion, the hotel is now working with New York hospitals and medical associations including the New York State Nurses Association, which are handling reservation requests internally.

Dr. Quigley suggested that other vacant properties could follow the Four Seasons model soon. “I’ve gotten multiple calls from multiple hotels around this country and the world to replicate what we did,” he said. “Now we have a benchmark.”


My New Book “Hotel Mavens Volume 3: Bob and Larry Tisch, Curt Strand, Ralph Hitz, Cesar Ritz, Raymond Orteig” has just been published.

My Other Published Hotel Books

  • Great American Hoteliers: Pioneers of the Hotel Industry (2009)
  • Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels in New York (2011)
  • Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels East of the Mississippi (2013)
  • Hotel Mavens: Lucius M. Boomer, George C. Boldt, Oscar of the Waldorf (2014)
  • Great American Hoteliers Volume 2: Pioneers of the Hotel Industry (2016)
  • Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels West of the Mississippi (2017)
  • Hotel Mavens Volume 2: Henry Morrison Flagler, Henry Bradley Plant, Carl Graham Fisher (2018)
  • Great American Hotel Architects Volume I (2019)

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.107

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. 229: Hotel History: Admiral Fell Inn

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 229: Hotel History: Admiral Fell Inn

Stanley Turkel | April 07, 2020

By Stanley Turkel, CMHS

Hotel History: Admiral Fell Inn (80 rooms)

Fell’s Point was founded in the early 1700s when the Fell Brothers arrived from Lancaster, England. Edward was a shopkeeper and his brother William was a shipbuilder. The old street names in Fell’s Point are unchanged: Fell, Thames, Bond, Bank, Caroline, Fleet, Aliceanna, Wolfe, Lancaster, Shakespeare. They are still paved mostly with Belgian stone blocks and their narrow paths are edged by brick sidewalls.

The Admiral Fell Inn is four stories high, and therefore the only building in the Point that qualifies as a skyscraper. The Inn is a group of eight different buildings which date from the late 1700s. Before becoming an inn, the site was a ship chandlery, a vinegar factory, a YMCA, a boardinghouse for actors and a sailor’s lodging house. The eighty guestrooms each have their own unique decor with wonderful views, many overlooking Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. Some have canopy beds with balconies and Jacuzzi tubs.

The streets of Fell’s Point contain hundreds of buildings built before the war of 1812 and many others before the Civil War. It was the first district in Maryland to be included on the National Register of Historic Places. Most of the homes are narrow brick row houses two and a half stories tall. The gabled roofs are of slate and the narrow passageways between houses are called sallyports, allowing access from the street to the rear of the houses. Many tourists tour the famous Inner Harbor and then walk a few blocks to historic Fell’s Point where they find a real neighborhood, restaurants, patisseries, bars and galleries.

Nearby attractions

  • Antique Row – 10 blocks west
  • Aquarium – 10 blocks west
  • B & O Railroad – 1 ½ miles west
  • Babe Ruth House – 10 blocks
  • Baltimore Museum of Art – 6 miles
  • Baltimore Zoo – 3 ½ miles west
  • Oriole Park at Camden Yards – 12 blocks
  • Center Stage- 14 blocks
  • Christopher Columbus Building – 8 blocks
  • Convention Center – 10 blocks west
  • Edgar Allen Poe House – 1 ½ miles
  • Fort McHenry – 2 ½ miles
  • The Gallery – 9 blocks west
  • Inner Harbor – 10 blocks
  • Little Italy – 4 blocks
  • Lyric Opera House – 3 ½ miles northwest
  • Maryland Historical Society – 1 mile
  • Morris Mechanic Theater – 1 mile
  • Meyerhoff Symphony Hall – 3 ½ miles north
  • Peabody Conservatory – 1 ½ miles
  • Science Center – 10 blocks west
  • Walter’s Art Gallery – 1 ½ miles
  • World Trade Center – 8 blocks

Frommer’s Review describes the Inn as follows:

Updated and expanded over the years, this charming inn sits just across Thames Street from the harbor in the heart of the Fell’s Point Historic District. It spans eight buildings, built between 1790 and 1996, and blends Victorian and Federal-style architecture. Originally a boardinghouse for sailors, later a YMCA, and then a vinegar bottling plant, the inn now features an antiques-filled lobby and library, along with individually decorated guest rooms with Federal-period furnishings.

The Inn is a charter member of the Historic Hotels of America and a member of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

My New Book “Hotel Mavens Volume 3: Bob and Larry Tisch, Curt Strand, Ralph Hitz, Cesar Ritz, Raymond Orteig” has just been published.

My Other Published Hotel Books

  • Great American Hoteliers: Pioneers of the Hotel Industry (2009)
  • Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels in New York (2011)
  • Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels East of the Mississippi (2013)
  • Hotel Mavens: Lucius M. Boomer, George C. Boldt, Oscar of the Waldorf (2014)
  • Great American Hoteliers Volume 2: Pioneers of the Hotel Industry (2016)
  • Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels West of the Mississippi (2017)
  • Hotel Mavens Volume 2: Henry Morrison Flagler, Henry Bradley Plant, Carl Graham Fisher (2018)
  • Great American Hotel Architects Volume I (2019)

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.83

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.

Website: (www.stanleyturkel.com)

Contact: Stanley Turkel

stanturkel@aol.com/917-628-8549

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Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 228: Hotel History: The Barbizon Hotel, New York

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 228: The Barbizon Hotel, New York

Stanley Turkel | March 17, 2020

By Stanley Turkel, CMHS

Hotel History: Barbizon Hotel, New York

The Barbizon Hotel for Women was built in 1927 as a residential hotel and clubhouse for single women who came to New York for professional opportunities. Designed by the prominent hotel architects Murgatroyd & Ogden, the 23rd-story Barbizon Hotel is an excellent example of the 1920s apartment hotel and is notable for its design quality. The Barbizon’s design reflects the influence of architect Arthur Loomis Harmon’s enormous Shelton Hotel in New York. Harmon, who would help design the Empire State Building a few years later, made visionary use of the city’s 1916 zoning law to admit light and air to the streets below.

In the period following World War I, the number of women attending college began to approach that of men for the first time. Unlike the graduates of preceding generation, three quarters of whom had intended to become teachers, these women planned on careers in business, the social sciences or the professions. Nearly every woman student expected to find a job upon graduation in a major city.

The demand for inexpensive housing for single women led to the construction of several large residential hotels in Manhattan. Of these, the Barbizon Hotel, which was equipped with special studio, rehearsal and concert spaces to attract women pursuing careers became the most renowned. Many of its residents became prominent professional women including Sylvia Plath, who wrote about her residence at the Barbizon in the novel The Bell Jar.

The Barbizon’s first floor was equipped with a theater, stage and pipe organ with a seating capacity of 300. The upper floors of the tower contained studios for painters, sculptors, musicians and drama students. The hotel also included a gymnasium, swimming pool, coffee shop, library, lecture rooms, an auditorium, a solarium and a large roof garden on the 18th floor.

On the Lexington Avenue side of the building, there were shops including a dry cleaner, hairdresser, pharmacy, millinery shop and bookstore. The hotel also leased meeting and exhibition space to the Arts Council of New York and meeting rooms to the Wellesley, Cornell and Mount Holyoke Women’s Clubs.

In 1923, Rider’s New York City Guide listed only three other hotels catering to businesswomen: the Martha Washington at 29 East 29th Street, the Rutledge Hotel for Women at 161 Lexington Avenue and the Allerton House for Women at 57th Street and Lexington Avenue.

The Barbizon Hotel advertised that it was a cultural and social center which included concerts on radio station WOR, dramatic performances by the Barbizon Players, the Irish Theater with actors from the Abbey Theater, art exhibits, and lectures by the Barbizon Book and Pen Club.

This rich cultural program, the special studio and rehearsal rooms, reasonable prices and complimentary breakfasts attracted many women pursuing careers in the arts. Notable residents included the actress Aline McDermott while she was appearing on Broadway in the Children’s Hour, Jennifer Jones, Gene Tierney, Eudora Weltz and Titanic survivor Margaret Tobin Brown, star of the Unsinkable Molly Brown who passed away during her stay at the Barbizon in 1932. During the 1940s, several other performers resided at the Barbizon including comedian Peggy Cass, musical comedy star Elaine Stritch, actress Chloris Leachman, future first lady Nancy Davis (Reagan) and actress Grace Kelly.

The Barbizon Hotel has been the location of the following popular cultural performances:

  • In the critically acclaimed television series Mad Men, The Barbizon is noted as the place of residence of one of Don Draper’s post-divorce love interests, Bethany Van Nuys.
  • In the 1967 Nick Carter spy novel The Red Guard, Carter books his teenage god-daughter into The Barbizon.
  • In the 2015 Marvel TV Series Agent Carter, Peggy Carter lives in the Griffith, a fictional hotel heavily inspired by The Barbizon and located on 63rd Street & Lexington Avenue.
  • In Sylvia Plath’s novel, The Bell Jar, The Barbizon is prominently featured under the name “The Amazon”. The novel’s protagonist, Esther Greenwood, lives there during a summer internship at a fashion magazine. This event is based on Plath’s real-life internship at the magazine Mademoiselle in 1953.
  • In Fiona Davis’s debut novel, The Dollhouse, The Barbizon Hotel is featured in a fictitious coming-of-age story that details two generations of young women whose lives intersect.
  • Michael Callahan’s debut novel Searching For Grace Kelly, is set in 1955 at The Barbizon. The novel was inspired by Callahan’s 2010 article about The Barbizon in Vanity Fair, titled Sorority On E. 63rd

By the mid 1970s, the Barbizon was beginning to show its age, was half filled and losing money. A floor-by-floor renovation was begun and in February 1981 the hotel began accepting male guests. The tower studios were converted to expensive apartments with long leases in 1982. In 1983, the hotel was acquired by KLM Airlines and its name was changed to the Golden Tulip Barbizon Hotel. In 1988, the hotel passed to a group led by Ian Schrager and Steve Rubell, who planned to market it as an urban spa. In 2001, the hotel was acquired by the Barbizon Hotel Associates, an affiliate of BPG Properties, which operated it as part of its Melrose Hotel chain. In 2005, BPG converted the building into condominium apartments and renamed it the Barbizon 63. The building includes a large indoor pool which is part of the Equinox Fitness Club.

The NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission added the building to its roster in 2012, noting that the structure is “an excellent representative of the 1920s apartment hotel building and is notable for the high quality of its design.”

My New Book “Hotel Mavens Volume 3: Bob and Larry Tisch, Curt Strand, Ralph Hitz, Cesar Ritz, Raymond Orteig” has just been published.

My Other Published Hotel Books

  • Great American Hoteliers: Pioneers of the Hotel Industry (2009)
  • Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels in New York (2011)
  • Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels East of the Mississippi (2013)
  • Hotel Mavens: Lucius M. Boomer, George C. Boldt, Oscar of the Waldorf (2014)
  • Great American Hoteliers Volume 2: Pioneers of the Hotel Industry (2016)
  • Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels West of the Mississippi (2017)
  • Hotel Mavens Volume 2: Henry Morrison Flagler, Henry Bradley Plant, Carl Graham Fisher (2018)
  • Great American Hotel Architects Volume I (2019)

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.90

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. 227: Hotel History: The Carlyle Hotel, New York (1929)

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 227: Hotel History: The Carlyle Hotel, New York (1929)

By Stanley Turkel, CMHS

Hotel History: Carlyle Hotel, New York (190 Rooms)

The Carlyle Hotel was built by Moses Ginsberg and designed in Art Deco style by architects Sylvan Bien (1893-1959) and Harry M. Prince. Bien and Prince both had previously worked at the famous architectural firm of Warren & Wetmore. Since opening in 1930, The Carlyle has become a living legend that embodies the spirit of New York: elegant, sparkling, worldly and nostalgic.

However, by the time the Carlyle was ready to open its doors, the 1929 stock market crash ended the boom times. The new hotel went into receivership in 1931 and was sold to the Lyleson Corporation in 1932. The new owners kept the original management which was able to improve occupancy and to stabilize the Carlyles’ financial situation. In 1948, New York businessman Robert Whittle Dowling purchased the Carlyle and began to transform it into the most fashionable hotel in Manhattan. It became known as the “New York White House” during President John F. Kennedy’s administration who maintained an apartment on the 34th floor for the last ten years of his life. He occupied the apartment in a well-publicized visit for a few days before his inauguration in January 1961.

For almost nine decades, The Carlyle on the elegant upper East Side of New York City has pampered rich and famous guests from around the world with its timeless luxury, savvy discretion, attention to detail, smooth service and personalized touches. This swanky iconic hotspot, a Rosewood Hotels property, was celebrated in a cool new feature-length documentary film, Always at The Carlyle in 2018. The movie embraces more than 100 personalities, who share their colorful Carlyle stories. Among the celebrities spotlighted are George Clooney, Harrison Ford, Anthony Bourdain, Tommy Lee Jones, Roger Federer, Wes Anderson, Sofia Coppola, Jon Hamm, Lenny Kravitz, Naomi Campbell, Herb Albert, Condoleezza Rice, Jeff Goldblum, Paul Shaffer, Vera Wang, Alexa Ray Joel, Graydon Carter, Bill Murray, Nina Garcia, Isaac Mizrahi, Buster Poindexter, Rita Wilson and Elaine Stritch. Yet some of the most gracious and insightful sound-bites are voiced by staff, many of whom have worked at The Carlyle for decades, such as the concierge Dwight Owsley. These well-trained employees personify what The Carlyle does best.

The Café Carlyle is noted for the murals by Marcel Vertès, which were cleaned in the summer of 2007 as part of a renovation and redecoration of the café. Interior designer Scott Salvator oversaw the renovation and redecoration, the first significant alterations to the café since its debut in 1955. During the renovations, the café closed for three months and was widely praised after reopening in September 2007. Salvator removed the dropped acoustical ceiling, exposing two feet of newly found space which allowed for a modern sound and a lighting system to appeal to a younger generation.

The Bemelmans Bar is decorated with murals depicting Madeline in Central Park painted by Ludwig Bemelmans. Bemelmans is the namesake of the bar, and his murals there are his only artwork on display to the public. Instead of accepting payment for his work, Bemelmans received a year and a half of accommodations at the Carlyle for himself and his family.

Both the hotel’s Café Carlyle and Bemelmans Bar are musical havens featuring outstanding performers. For decades dapper Bobby Short played piano and with his distinctive voice exemplified café society sophistication. More recently, the Café Carlyle has featured Rita Wilson, Alan Cummings, Linda Lavin, Gina Gershon, Kathleen Turner and Jeff Goldblum.

It is interesting that the Carlyle has survived in splendid isolation that has heightened its visibility in comparison with most of these other pioneering residential towers. Much of the credit for that must go to Peter Sharp, the late developer who bought the hotel and also owned the low-rise building that fills the avenue blockfront across the street. That building was for many years the headquarters of Parke-Bernet, the auction house that was subsequently acquired by Sotherby’s which relocated it to a warehouse-like building on 72nd Street and York Avenue. After World War II, Parke- Bernet was the center of the art world and largely responsible for many art galleries moving uptown around Madison Avenue from 57th Street. Sharp could have erected a very major new tower on the site after the auction house was moved, but he chose to not develop it and to protect the sweeping Central Park views for the Carlyle. The low-rise building now contains several important art galleries and some offices of the real estate division of Sotheby’s as well as some high-end boutiques.

The Carlyle has consistently been recognized as one of the top hotels by the world’s leading publications, travel magazines and consumer organizations:

  • Travel & Leisure Top 15 Hotels in New York City 2019
  • Condè Nast Traveler the Best Hotels and Resorts in the World: The 2019 Gold List
  • Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Award 2019
  • S. News Best USA Hotels 2019
  • S. New Best New York Hotels 2019
  • S. News Best New York City Hotels 2019
  • Harper’s Bazaar The 30 Best Hotels in New York City

My New Book “Hotel Mavens Volume 3: Bob and Larry Tisch, Curt Strand, Ralph Hitz, Cesar Ritz, Raymond Orteig” has just been published.

My Other Published Hotel Books

  • Great American Hoteliers: Pioneers of the Hotel Industry (2009)
  • Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels in New York (2011)
  • Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels East of the Mississippi (2013)
  • Hotel Mavens: Lucius M. Boomer, George C. Boldt, Oscar of the Waldorf (2014)
  • Great American Hoteliers Volume 2: Pioneers of the Hotel Industry (2016)
  • Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels West of the Mississippi (2017)
  • Hotel Mavens Volume 2: Henry Morrison Flagler, Henry Bradley Plant, Carl Graham Fisher (2018)
  • Great American Hotel Architects Volume I (2019)

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.95

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. 226: Hotel History: Peninsula Hotel, New York

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 226 Hotel History: Peninsula Hotel, New York

Stanley Turkel | February 04, 2020

By Stanley Turkel, CMHS

Hotel History: Peninsula Hotel, New York (241 Rooms)

On February 7, 1989, the Peninsula Hotel was designated as a Landmark by the New York Landmarks Preservation Commission. The original neo-Italian Renaissance Gotham Hotel is one of the few structures on Fifth Avenue which recalls the golden age of luxury hotels and the prominent place they occupied in the formation of the city. Erected in 1905, it was designed by the architectural firm of Hiss & Weekes and is among the oldest of the early “skyscraper” hotels. These hotels heralded the transformation of Fifth Avenue from an exclusive residential street – Millionaires’ Row − to a fashionable commercial thoroughfare. Rising twenty stories, including a multi-storied rooftop addition, at the southwest corner of West 55th Street and Fifth Avenue, the boldly-rendered Gotham is a stylistic counterpoint to its contemporary, the flamboyant Beaux-Arts St. Regis Hotel directly across Fifth Avenue. It also skillfully complements McKim, Mead & White’s University Club which adjoins the Peninsula to the south.

The Architectural Record reported in November 1902:

We all know how woefully individualistic our builders have been, resulting in a mass of fragmentary, inharmonious, clashing architecture, no attempt being made to work in common for the sake of beauty and uniformity. This great projected hotel (the Gotham) of eighteen stories is designed to harmonize with the adjacent University Club, which is a fine piece of architecture. The architectural lines of the hotel will follow the lines of the University Club. The same centre line will make a continuous arcade of five openings in the club and five in the hotel. The stone balustrade will be carried out on the same lines of the present balustrade of the club. Thus the whole block will be tied together. The general scheme of architecture is also the same as that of the club, being Italian Renaissance as far as possible in an eighteen storied building.

The firm of Hiss & Weekes continued in practice for thirty-four years producing a number of buildings in the city including: the spectacular Belnord Apartments (1908-09), a massive neo-Italian Renaissance apartment house on West 86th Street (a designated New York City Landmark); and the handsome Beaux-Arts townhouses at 6 and 8 West 65th Street (now in the Upper East Side Historic District).

The Gotham never seemed to find the favor it sought, in part because it was overshadowed by the subsequent openings of the St. Regis Hotel across Fifth Avenue and then the Plaza Hotel four blocks to the north. The Gotham was foreclosed in 1908 after it failed to get a liquor license. As Christopher Gray reported in his Streetscapes article in the New York Times (January 3, 1999):

The Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church is at the northwest corner of 55th and Fifth and the St. Regis had just barely won permission to serve liquor − it was in technical violation of a restriction prohibiting liquor sales within 200 feet of a church. The Gotham, directly across 55th Street from the church was unequivocally in violation of the law. Several newspaper accounts state that United States Senator Thomas C. Platt and other influential politicians were silent partners on the original Gotham team, and in 1905 and 1907 bills were introduced in the New York State Legislature exempting hotels from the provision if they had more than 200 rooms.

Neither of the bills, which were clearly fashioned for the Gotham, passed. In 1908 the Gotham went into foreclosure over a $741 butcher’s bill, and the Real Estate Record & Guide said that the failure was due solely to the liquor restriction, which it denounced as ludicrous. The hotel, which had cost $4 million to build, was sold for $2.45 million.

The hotel had various owners until it was sold in 1920 to William and Julius Manger, proprietors of the Manger chain of hotels including the Martha Washington Hotel for Women. Subsequently, the Kirkeby Hotel Group purchased the property in 1944. Other owners were Mrs. Evelyn Sharp, Webb & Knapp, Wellington Associates, Swiss hotel owner Rene Hatt, Sol Goldman, Irving Goldman, Arthur Cohen, William Zeckendorf Jr. and Steven Goodstein. Finally, in 1988, the Hong Kong and Shanghai Hotels Ltd., the parent company of the Peninsula Group of hotels in Asia, bought the Gotham Hotel for $127 million and renamed it the Peninsula Hotel. At last, the Gotham got the owner it had needed since 1905. If you ever stayed at the original Peninsula Hotel in Hong Kong, you know what true luxury and service really feel like: complimentary fruit and champagne in your room while watching the Star Ferry cross the harbor outside your window; a Rolls-Royce for guest transportation to meetings and the airport; savoring a double espresso in the busy lobby bar while reading the International Herald Tribune.

The New York Peninsula Hotel has received the AAA Five Diamond Award for thirteen consecutive years. The Peninsula has one of the best and biggest hotel health clubs in New York including a 35,000 square foot spa, a glass-enclosed swimming pool and the rooftop bar and terrace.

The hotel has opted for an amenity that is more sporty than chic: chauffeur-driven Mini Coopers. The cars are available for up to three hours a day to guests who book a suite. Passenger can follow city tours that are stored on iPhones or iPads in the cars, or they can simply tell drivers where they want to go. The cars, the Mini Cooper S Clubman model, have been customized a bit. They hold a mini-refrigerator and a cargo box on top for shopping bags. Aside from the make, the main difference between these and the Hong Kong fleet: you won’t get a trip to the airport. These vehicles are intended strictly for joy rides.

The old Gotham is an orphan no more.

My New Book “Hotel Mavens Volume 3:

Bob and Larry Tisch, Curt Strand, Ralph Hitz, Cesar Ritz, Raymond Orteig” has just been published.

My Other Published Hotel Books

  • Great American Hoteliers: Pioneers of the Hotel Industry (2009)
  • Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels in New York (2011)
  • Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels East of the Mississippi (2013)
  • Hotel Mavens: Lucius M. Boomer, George C. Boldt, Oscar of the Waldorf (2014)
  • Great American Hoteliers Volume 2: Pioneers of the Hotel Industry (2016)
  • Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels West of the Mississippi (2017)
  • Hotel Mavens Volume 2: Henry Morrison Flagler, Henry Bradley Plant, Carl Graham Fisher (2018)
  • Great American Hotel Architects Volume I (2019)

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.119

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. 225: Hotel History: The Grand Hotel, Point Clear, Alabama

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 225: Hotel History: The Grand Hotel, Point Clear, Alabama

Stanley Turkel | January 14, 2020

Hotel History: Grand Hotel, Point Clear, Alabama (306 Rooms)

The site on which The Grand Hotel sits today has seen two earlier hotels so named and the area surrounding the hotel and grounds has had a long and exciting history. It begins in 1847, when a Mr. Chamberlain built a rambling, 100-foot long, two-story hotel with lumber brought down from Mobile by sailboats. There were forty guest rooms and a shaded front gallery with outside stairs at each end. The dining room was located in an adjacent structure, and a third two-story building, called The Texas, housed the bar. Destroyed in an 1893 hurricane, the bar was rebuilt and, according to one contemporary report, “It was the gathering place for the merchants of the South, and poker games with high stakes, and billiards enlivened with the best of liquors were their pastimes.” A fourth building, a two-story frame mansion called Gunnison House, was originally a private summer residence. It became a popular meeting place before the Civil War.

As one of the remaining Confederate strongholds during the Civil War, the port in Mobile was a popular spot for blockade runners. During the 1864 battle between the Confederates and Union, led by Admiral David Farragut- in which he famously proclaimed “damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead”- the confederates bombarded the Union soldiers with torpedoes, eventually sinking the Tecumseh. A large hole was found in the wall of the Gunnison House, located on the site of the Convention Center today. The city of Mobile remained in Confederate hands until 1865 while the hotel was turned into a base hospital for Confederate soldiers. Farragut was a Southern Unionist who strongly opposed Southern secession and remained loyal to the Union after the outbreak of the Civil War.

300 Confederate soldiers died while at the hospital and are buried in the on-site cemetery, Confederate Rest. The soldiers were buried shoulder-to-shoulder, in mass graves. In 1869, a fire destroyed the documents that identified the deceased and a monument to the unknown soldiers was later constructed at the cemetery, which still stands today.

The hotel reopened after the war, but was almost destroyed by a fire in1869. Miraculously, none of the 150 guests was injured, and all their personal effects, as well as the hotel linens and most of the furniture, were saved.

Repairs were made and the hotel was soon again enjoying a prosperous existence. But then, in August 1871, tragedy struck. The twenty-seven-ton steamer Ocean Wave exploded at the Point Clear pier and scores of hotel guests died. For years afterward, sections of the wrecked steamer could be spotted during low tide.

After the explosion, Captain H. C. Baldwin of Mobile acquired the property, and built a new hotel that resembled the earlier 100-foot-long structure, but was three times longer. Baldwin’s son-in-law, George Johnson, Louisiana State Treasurer, took an active role in the business and became the owner upon Baldwin’s death. This two-story facility of sixty suites was opened in 1875. Steamers stopped at Point Clear three times a week bringing hotel guests. By 1889, boats arrived daily. The winter rates were two dollars a day, ten dollars weekly, and forty dollars by the month. The resort flourished.

In the 1890s, Point Clear was the center of the most brilliant social life in the Deep South. Boats crowded with pleasure-seekers from Mobile and New Orleans docked at the pier; carriages and tandem bikes dashed in and out of the drive; blaring bands and picnickers flocked to the broad lawns. The Grand Hotel was known as “The Queen of Southern Resorts.”

By 1939, however, the place was so badly rundown that its new owners, the Waterman Steamship Company, had it razed and, in 1940, built Grand Hotel III. This was a modern air-conditioned building with ninety rooms; it spread long and low, with giant picture windows and glassed-in porches. A few years later, cottages were constructed, utilizing lumber, especially the fine heart-pine flooring and framing, from the old building. During World War II, when the shipping company turned over the facilities to the United States government for $1 million, it was with the stipulation that the soldiers were not to wear shoes indoors lest they damage the pine floors.

In 1955, the hotel was acquired by McLean Industries, and ten years later J. K. McLean himself bought it and formed the present Grand Hotel Company. A new fifty-room addition was built and extensive improvements were made.

In 1967, a second 9-hole golf course and the first conference center were added. In 1979, the hotel closed as a result of Hurricane Frederick and after repairs reopened on April 10, 1980. In 1981, the Marriott Corporation bought The Grand Hotel and added the North Bay House and the Marina Building, bringing total guest rooms to 306. In 1986, the old Gunnison House was torn down to make way for The Grand Ballroom. Marriott added an additional 9-hole golf course for a total of 36 holes. Major renovations to the hotel were completed in 2003, including a new spa, pool and additional guest rooms. Renovation of the Dogwood course was completed in 2004. The renovation of the Azalea course was completed in 2005.

An expansion of the Grand’s grounds and new real estate opportunities were announced in 2006. The Colony Club at the Grand Hotel opened in spring 2008 and featured condominiums overlooking picturesque Point Clear and Mobile Bay. A new aquatics facility and a tennis center opened at the resort in July 2009.

Daily patriotic military salute and cannon firing started in 2008. The hotel continues to honor the military influence. Each day a processional begins at the lobby, weaves around the grounds, and concludes with the firing of a cannon at 4:00 PM. The Grand Hotel Golf Resort & Spa, is a member of the Historic Hotels Autograph Collection of America and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

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

  • Great American Hoteliers: Pioneers of the Hotel Industry (2009)
  • Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels in New York (2011)
  • Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels East of the Mississippi (2013)
  • Hotel Mavens: Lucius M. Boomer, George C. Boldt, Oscar of the Waldorf (2014)
  • Great American Hoteliers Volume 2: Pioneers of the Hotel Industry (2016)
  • Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels West of the Mississippi (2017)
  • Hotel Mavens Volume 2: Henry Morrison Flagler, Henry Bradley Plant, Carl Graham Fisher (2018)

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.118

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

Categories

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