Tag: Historical Hotels

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Up at Mackinac Island's Grand Hotel: Inside a Room

July 17, 2012 at 5:54 PM | by | Comments (0)

How many US hotels do you know that've reached 125 years of business? Well, The Grand Hotel of Michigan's Mackinac Island is one of 'em, as well as being one of the last surviving wooden construction hotels. Its history is long and tumultuous, but its summers are sunny. This week, we'll take a look around the Victorian property and the features and amenities that have made it a top seasonal destination for the last century-and-a-quarter.

Today: Inside a regular room at The Grand

No two rooms of the 385 are alike at The Grand Hotel. Many hotels make this claim by changing the artwork or bedding but, at The Grand, the differences are substantial and noteworthy: custom wallpapers (264 specially designed for The Grand), custom colors (22 specially mixed colors), custom furniture (some taken from estates owned by the likes of Joan Crawford) and the banning of the color beige across the board. These are the opposite of the cookie-cutter, corporate hotel room; they are the vision of interior designer Carlton Varney, protégé of Dorothy Draper and infamous fiend for color and prints.

We checked into Room 484 on the top floor of the building, with a view down the main street connecting the hotel to town and the harbor. This being our first visit to the hotel, our initial room reaction was one of "hmm, okay this is interesting. We shall see." It was very feminine, very pretty and very...grand.

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Up at Mackinac Island's Grand Hotel: Getting There

July 16, 2012 at 5:46 PM | by | Comments (0)

How many US hotels do you know that've reached 125 years of business? Well, The Grand Hotel of Michigan's Mackinac Island is one of 'em, as well as being one of the last surviving wooden construction hotels. Its history is long and tumultuous, but its summers are sunny. This week, we'll take a look around the Victorian property and the features and amenities that have made it a top seasonal destination for the last century-and-a-quarter.

Today: Getting to The Grand Hotel

In the United States, there are the Great Lakes. In the Great Lakes, there is an island. On this island—Mackinac Island—there is a hotel. And at this hotel there is a fleet of carriages. To get to the airport, you must take a carriage. To get to the ferry, you must take a carriage. There are no cars on Mackinac Island, but there are these horse-drawn carriages of The Grand Hotel.

Now that we've already detailed how exactly to reach Mackinac Island, it's time to make that final mile up to the historical hotel and its white columned porch, which holds that title of "longest porch in the world." Grabbing a "taxi" at the ferry docks means hopping in a carriage, but guests of The Grand have the varnished wood ones complete with driver in top hat and finery.

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New Orleans' Historical Hotel Dining Rooms: The Sheraton-Charles

July 13, 2012 at 9:31 AM | by | Comments (0)

A while back on our brother site, Jaunted, we looked into how the NYC of the 1950s gave way to the NYC of today, sadly minus $1.95 steak dinners and the "famous rooms" that used to keep hotels hopping. It's important to note, however, that the famous rooms—selling a good time with dining, drinking and dancing to live music—weren't just a Big Apple exclusive.

Recently we came across a 1960 visitor's brochure for the Mississippi Coast, in which the New Orleans version of these famous rooms is advertised. We'll be focusing on a few the rest of this week.

Today, it's the Outrigger Bar & Lounge at the Sheraton-Charles Hotel.

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New Orleans' Historical Hotel Dining Rooms: The Fontainebleau

July 12, 2012 at 9:55 AM | by | Comments (0)

A while back on our brother site, Jaunted, we looked into how the NYC of the 1950s gave way to the NYC of today, sadly minus $1.95 steak dinners and the "famous rooms" that used to keep hotels hopping. It's important to note, however, that the famous rooms—selling a good time with dining, drinking and dancing to live music—weren't just a Big Apple exclusive.

Recently we came across a 1960 visitor's brochure for the Mississippi Coast, in which the New Orleans version of these famous rooms is advertised. We'll be focusing on a few the rest of this week.

Today, it's the The Empire Room at The Fontainebleau.

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New Orleans' Historical Hotel Dining Rooms: The Roosevelt

July 11, 2012 at 9:56 AM | by | Comments (0)

A while back on our brother site, Jaunted, we looked into how the NYC of the 1950s gave way to the NYC of today, sadly minus $1.95 steak dinners and the "famous rooms" that used to keep hotels hopping. It's important to note, however, that the famous rooms—selling a good time with dining, drinking and dancing to live music—weren't just a Big Apple exclusive.

Recently we came across a 1960 visitor's brochure for the Mississippi Coast, in which the New Orleans version of these famous rooms is advertised. We'll be focusing on a few the rest of this week.

Today, it's the The Blue Room at The Roosevelt. See what it looks like now.

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New Orleans' Historical Hotel Dining Rooms: The Pontchartrain

July 10, 2012 at 5:06 PM | by | Comments (0)

A while back on our brother site, Jaunted, we looked into how the NYC of the 1950s gave way to the NYC of today, sadly minus $1.95 steak dinners and the "famous rooms" that used to keep hotels hopping. It's important to note, however, that the famous rooms—selling a good time with dining, drinking and dancing to live music—weren't just a Big Apple exclusive.

Recently we came across a 1960 visitor's brochure for the Mississippi Coast, in which the New Orleans version of these famous rooms is advertised. We'll be focusing on a few the rest of this week. Today, it's the Caribbean Room at The Pontchartrain Hotel. Here is a peak at the entrance to the room.

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The Year Was 1957 and the Place Was Alaska's McKinley Park Hotel

July 3, 2012 at 4:32 PM | by | Comments (0)

Happy Independence Day! This year, we're celebrating with a patriotic look back at one of the United States' most historic hotels: the McKinley Park Hotel in Mt. McKinley National Park, Alaska. Really, what's more "nuclear family" traditional Americana than a National Park?

We recently came across a vintage pamphlet from a stay at the hotel in the summer of 1957. The yellowed pages tout the 86-room property as "a friendly hotel in Alaska's scenic land of the midnight sun" and a perfect location for spotting the multitude of wildlife of the park, whose land measures an impressive 1,939,493 acres.

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A Chat with Jon Hodgman, Actor, Author, Humorist and Hotel Aficionado

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 59 West 44th Street [map], New York, NY, United States, 10036
June 6, 2012 at 5:46 PM | by | Comment (1)

Who is Jon Hodgman? Well, aside from being an actor, author, humorist and the personification of a PC in the Mac vs PC commercials, Jon is also a bit of a hotel aficionado. This we found out recently, during a lengthy chat with the man at the reopening party for NYC's historic Algonquin Hotel.

Hodgman, pictured here with SNL alum and fellow Penguin-published author Rachel Dratch (whom we interviewed yesterday), carefully considers his words before speaking. As a result, Hodgman's thoughts come slowly but deliberately; he is erudite and perfectly quotable. Nonetheless, there is one question for which he has a short, direct answer: does he have any qualities he specifically looks for in a hotel?

"I do. Is it the Chateau Marmont?"

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Rachel Dratch Has a Simple Request for Hotels

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 59 West 44th Street [map], New York, NY, United States, 10036
June 5, 2012 at 4:38 PM | by | Comments (0)


Jon Hodgman and Rachel Dratch at The Algonquin last night

Tear your eyes away from this oddly creepy image of Jon Hodgman for a moment, and refocus instead to the right, where comedian and actress Rachel Dratch perches with a tiny smile. What was Rachel Dratch, of SNL and 30 Rock fame (and more), doing hanging out last night with bespectacled literary types in the lobby of the newly renovated and reopened Algonquin Hotel? Well, Rachel has a book on the shelf as well—Girl Walks Into a Bar—and though she nearly tells all in the memoir, we decided to delve a little deeper.

Oh yes, we're talking finding out the deepest, most secret and personal aspects of Rachel Dratch's life: her hotel preferences.

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Before The Standard and The Americano, There Was The Americana

May 16, 2012 at 3:45 PM | by | Comments (0)

Thanks to relatively low room rates for a high style hotel in Manhattan, the Hotel Americano is quickly making a name for itself. In fact, we have several friends who just go there for coffee or drinks. Now, were this fifty years ago, we'd all be talking instead about the Hotel Americana, the hot new hotel on the scene in 1962.

The Americana, at 7th Avenue and 52nd Street, towered 51 stories above Midtown and had 2,000 guestrooms, plus five restaurants and numerous ballrooms. Real-life Mad Men—the ad men of Madison Avenue—would absolutely have known it and gone for meetings and/or trysts there.

The cool part of all this is that the Americana still stands...though it's now the Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers and the 1960s interiors have long been ripped out in favor of what we'd like to call "modern business conservative."

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A Sneak Peek at The Algonquin's Brand New Barrymore Suite

Where: 59 West 44th Street [map], New York, NY, United States
May 15, 2012 at 5:25 PM | by | Comments (0)


It's a very early peek.

Big news! While the historical Algonquin Hotel works to complete a near total renovation, they're slipping in a brand new suite, and it'll be quite the unique one for a Manhattan hotel.

The Barrymore Suite, named for the actor John Barrymore (who himself was a frequent guest at The Algonquin's bar), will be a second-floor suite, looking directly out to the street. Furthermore it'll be two levels, with the living area sunken near the windows for optimum people-watching. It's ideal for guests who maybe love suites, but don't love being up towards the top of a high-rise hotel.

We stepped into the room recently and, though it was still very much in the middle of construction as you can see, we got a feel for the space, including what will be a very large bathroom and separate dressing area.

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Hotel Flashback: What the Hotel Commodore NYC Served Up in 1951

April 20, 2012 at 12:02 PM | by | Comments (0)

"Your Friendly Port of Call in New York," says the menu of the dining room and bar at the old Hotel Commodore. It's a wonderful little sentiment, implying that the Commodore is calm and safe within the tumult of the big city And yet, the Commodore was really at the center of the hubbub, squarely set up against Grand Central Terminal in a complex that included the (also gone) Biltmore Hotel.

The Commodore opened in 1919 with a whopping 2,000 rooms. It closed at the end of the 1970s—a noble run— due to (what else?) bankruptcy. Alas, it never really went away as you now know the Commodore as the Grand Hyatt New York. Thankfully they never resurrected the menu of the Commodore's Bar Cafe, because "Broiled Aiguillette of Striped Bass Mirabeau with Anchovy Butter" and "Half Alligator Pear Salad" just doesn't cause diners to drool like they did in 1951, when the menu below was served to guests.

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