About My Books

Great American Hotel Architects – Volume 1 

The twelve architects featured in this book designed ninety-four hotels from 1878 to 1948. Many of them worked as apprentices in architect’s offices. Some were lucky enough to study in an architectural college, and some were wealthy enough to attend the École des Beaux-Arts (School of Fine Arts) in Paris. This school has a history of more than 350 years in training many of the great artists of Europe. Beaux-Arts’s style was modeled on classical antiquities. The origins of the school were drawn from 1648—when the Académe des Beaux-Arts was founded to educate the most talented students in drawing, painting, sculpting, engraving, and architecture. Women were admitted beginning in 1897.

Hotel Mavens –  Volume 2: Henry Morrison Flagler, Henry Bradley Plant, Carl Graham Fisher

My long-time preoccupation with hotel history reveals one continuous strand: the achievements of unique entrepreneurs who created singular hotels one at a time. These pioneers were not by subsequent definition, “hotel men”. They did not attend hotel schools because there were none until 1924 with the creation of the Cornell School of Hotel Administration. Most of them did not grew up in the hotel business but became successful because of their varied on-the-job training experiences, business acumen and unexpected opportunities. Their tradition-breaking vision and single-minded ambition led them to create iconic hotels. My research has uncovered three such hotel mavens two of whom 1) were both essentially in the railroad and steamship business 2) were friendly competitors 3) concentrated their hotel creations in the State of Florida: Henry Morrison Flagler, on the east coast and Henry Bradley Plant on the west coast. The third maven was Carl Graham Fisher who created Miami Beach and Montauk, Long Island, N.Y.

Built to Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels West of the Mississippi

This volume completes Turkel’s three books about hundred-year-old hotels in the United States: —Built to Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels in New York (2009): 32 Hotels —Built to Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels East of the Mississippi (2011): 86 Hotels —Built to Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels West of the Mississippi (2017): 60 Hotels. This trilogy describes 183 hotels in the United States that are each more than a hundred years old and fifty rooms or larger. The fascinating stories about their creation and the people who nurtured them represent great American business history. As Ian Schrager writes in the foreword, “These books are not only the history of 183 hotels, they are the history of our country and us as a people. They are truly enlightening. I sincerely feel that every hotel school should own sets of these books and make them required reading for their students and employees.”

Great American Hoteliers Volume 2: Pioneers of the Hotel Industry This book tells the fascinating and unpredictable stories of seventeen hotel pioneers who were (and are) important in the development of the hotel industry in the United States. Many of them are relatively unknown and lost in the dustbin of American history. Their biographies comprise this sequel to his first hotel book, “Great American Hoteliers: Pioneers of the Hotel Industry” AuthorHouse 2009.

These important and largely untold biographies include Stewart William Bainum (1920-2014), * Curtis Leroy Carlson (1914-1999) ,* Cecil Burke Day (1934-1978), * Louis Jacob Dinkler (1864-1928), * Eugene Chase Eppley (1884-1958), * Roy C. Kelley (1905-1997), * Arnold S. Kirkeby (1901-1962), * Julius Manger (1868-1937), * Robert R. Meyer (1882-1947), * Albert Pick, Jr. (1895-1977), * Jay Pritzker (1922-1999), * Harris Rosen (1939) ,* Ian Schrager (1946), * Vernon B. Stouffer (1901-1974), * William Cornelius Van Horne (1843-1915), * Robert E. Woolley (1935) and Stephen Allen Wynn (1942). As you will note, four of these great American hoteliers are alive and productive as I write this sequel: Harris Rosen, Ian Schrager, Robert Woolley and Steve Wynn.

Hotel Mavens: Lucius M. Boomer, George C. Boldt and Oscar of the Waldorf

Hotel Mavens tells the intriuging stories of these pioneers and the hotels they built and operated:

  1. Lucius Boomer, one of the most famous hoteliers of his time, was Chairman of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel Corporation. In a career of more than half a century, he owned and managed the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel in Philadelphia, the Lenox in Boston, the Willard in Washington, and the McAlpin, Claridge, Sherry-Netherland and the original as well as the current Waldorf-Astoria in New York.
  2. George C. Boldt who was the genius of the original Waldorf-Astoria. It was said of him that he made innkeeping a profession and, more than any man, was the creator of the modern American hotel.
  3. Oscar of the Waldorf was the superstar of his time and one of the stalwarts who managed both the original and the current Waldorf-Astoria. Among his many duties, Oscar commanded a staff of 1,000 persons besides conducting a school for waiters, the only one of its kind in the United States. In 1896, Oscar wrote one of the greatest cookbooks of its time: “The Cook Book by Oscar of the Waldorf.” It contains 907 pages and 3,455 recipes.

Sam Roberts, in the New York Times writes:

“Nostalgia for the city’s caravansaries will be kindled by Stanley Turkel’s Hotel Mavens: Lucius M. Boomer, George C. Boldt and Oscar of the Waldorf” (AuthorHouse).

The fact-filled book by Mr. Turkel, an industry consultant, explains, among other things, the history of the hyphen (recently excised) in the name of the Waldorf Astoria, which inspired a mid-block street and even a song.”

Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels East of the Mississippi

Each of the eighty-six hotels featured in this new book have unique and singular stories describing their creation, survival and revival. The book contains eighty-six antique postcard illustrations, foreword (by Joseph McInerney, President and CEO Emeritus of the American Hotel & Lodging Association), preface, introduction, bibliography and index. It has been accepted by the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute for promotion, distribution and sale.

Built To Last:  100+ Year-Old Hotels in New York

The thirty-two featured hotels have defied the passage of time for a variety of reasons, many explicable, some beyond explanation, all miraculous. The book contains 32 chapters, 35 illustrations, foreword (by Bjorn Hanson, Ph.D.), preface, introduction, bibliography and index. My research into the histories of these hotels turned up fascinating stories, great architects, entrepreneurial developers, unpredictable guests, famous movie stars, writers, musicians, politicians and even the story of an all-women’s hotel built in 1903. [Read the review]

Great American Hoteliers: Pioneers of the Hotel Industry

During the thirty years prior to the Civil War, Americans built hotels larger and more ostentatious than any in the rest of the world. These hotels were inextricably intertwined with American culture and customs but were accessible to average citizens. As Jefferson Williamson wrote in “The American Hotel” ( Knopf 1930), hotels were perhaps “the most distinctively American of all our institutions for they were nourished and brought to flower solely in American soil and borrowed practically nothing from abroad”. Development of hotels was stimulated by the confluence of travel, tourism and transportation. In 1869, the transcontinental railroad engendered hotels by Henry Flagler, Fred Harvey, George Pullman and Henry Plant. The Lincoln Highway and the Interstate Highway System triggered hotel development by Carl Fisher, Ellsworth Statler, Kemmons Wilson and Howard Johnson. The airplane stimulated Juan Trippe, John Bowman, Conrad Hilton, Ernest Henderson, A.M. Sonnabend and John Hammons.. My research into the lives of these great hoteliers reveals that none of them grew up in the hospitality business but became successful through their intense on-the- job experiences. My investigation has uncovered remarkable and startling true stories about these pioneers, some of whom are well-known and others who are lost in the dustbin of history.