Category Archives: Historic Hotels

Black Monarch Hotel, One of Most Haunted Hotels, Opens Bela Lugosi-Dracula Themed Room

The Black Monarch Hotel in the historic mining town of Victor, Colorado, are thrilled to reveal its newest room: Bela Lugosi’s Dracula, a hotel room themed around the icon and cult phenomenon. (photo by Cait Falc)

After “one of the U.S.’s most haunted hotels” (The Metro UK) garnered international acclaim for its Victorian gothic aesthetic and serial-killer themed rooms, the owners of the Black Monarch Hotel in the historic mining town of Victor, Colorado, are thrilled to reveal its newest room: Bela Lugosi’s Dracula, a hotel room themed around the icon and cult phenomenon whose unique characterization of Count Dracula forever transformed pop culture’s portrayal of vampires. 

“We are very proud to be working directly with the Lugosi Estate and are excited to highlight Bela Lugosi’s legacy at the Black Monarch,” said owner and designer Adam Zimmerli.

Born in Hungary, Lugosi’s early version of Dracula, which he created on the Broadway stage in 1927, perfected the dark shadowy figure walking among us that now perpetuates vampire lore. The new Black Monarch room will feature a floor to ceiling 15-foot photorealistic mural of Bela Lugosi, as well as licensed Bela Lugosi as Dracula merchandise as decoration, prints of photos from the family archive, and a first-edition copy of the only family-authorized biography of Bela Lugosi as provided by Lynne Lugosi Sparks, Bela Lugosi’s granddaughter and CEO of LUGOSI LLC. The partnership between the Black Monarch and the Lugosi Estate also include plans for a collaborative merch line, and a screening of the 1931 film Dracula hosted by Lugosi Sparks at the Black Monarch in 2021.

Further cementing Bela Lugosi’s place in film history, in 1963, his son, Bela G. Lugosi, brought the landmark case against Universal Studios (Lugosi v Universal) for the unauthorized use of his father’s name and likeness on merchandise. This case paved the way for the California Celebrity Rights Act enacted in 1985, making the right to exploit the name and likeness of a celebrity a property right which survives his or her death. Bela G. Lugosi and the Lugosi Estate continue to protect the commercial use of Bela Lugosi’s name and likeness. 

“It is an honor to include the Bela Lugosi Dracula room at the Black Monarch under the official license of LUGOSI LLC,” Zimmerli says.

The Bela Lugosi room is part of an extensive list of renovations at the Black Monarch that include detailed painting of the elaborate exterior in a gothic motif, a 30′ x 50′ exterior mural of Nicola Tesla by nationally-recognized mural artist Chad Bolsinger, an atrium room, a restored antique claw foot bathtub, and more themed rooms. To support this one-of-a-kind project, visit the recently-launched Indiegogo campaign

The Black Monarch Hotel gained notoriety the moment it opened in May 2019 for its phenomenally dark story: this former brothel, casino and saloon from the Gold Rush era, allegedly haunted, was renovated to reflect its dark history. The building’s gorgeous character from 1899 was preserved while also painted black and gold to reflect an immersive stay in a decadent opium den. The rooms are themed after serial killers like H.H. Holmes and Elizabeth Bathory, and are brimming with taxidermy, naughty Victorian pop-up books, tomes on Satanism and other oddities and curiosities. The Black Monarch has been featured in Travel + Leisure, Lonely Planet, the Daily Mail, the Metro, the Guardian, Refinery29, Inked and more. The hotel recently hosted the Haunted Writer’s Retreat in February of 2020; writers attended horror writing workshops led by Josiah Hesse and Erin K. Barnes, experienced walks to the local cemetery, learned about the wild mining town history, and immersed themselves in literary isolation a la The Shining, all in the dead of winter.

In the late 1800s during the town of Victor’s heyday, what was then called the Monarch Hotel served miners and international travelers as the Gold Rush fueled their indiscretions. It played host to uproarious parties, accumulating a Wild West lore unrivaled in pulp novels.

The Monarch fell to tragedy in 1899 after a great fire, and the hotel was rebuilt. After its transformation, however, something was amiss. Those working the hotel bar reported strange sights that they could not explain: a woman’s silhouette in the window when no one was there, gazing upon Victor’s main street. The sounds of women laughing and men yelling in the middle of the night. Perhaps it was the ghost of the miner whose life was cut short. Perhaps it was the spirits of weary madams or ladies of the night who witnessed the vivid spectrum of humanity within its walls. Perhaps it was just the settling of a beautiful old Victorian building. Guests will ultimately judge for themselves.

With luxe bedding, a full kitchen, a shared bathroom and modern amenities, The Black Monarch Hotel is a delightful blend of unique and comfortable–with a twist. “There’s something for everyone at the Black Monarch, whether you’re looking for a quiet mountain getaway or an unconventional leap into another world.”

The Black Monarch Hotel, 301 Victor Ave,, Victor, CO 80860, blackmonarchhotel.com.

For more travel features, visit:

goingplacesfarandnear.com

goingplacesnearandfar.wordpress.com

moralcompasstravel.info

www.huffingtonpost.com/author/karen-rubin

travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate/

goingplacesfarandnear.tumblr.com/

instagram.com/going_places_far_and_near/

‘Like’ us on facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures

Twitter: @TravelFeatures

Hotel Industry on Brink of Collapse Releases Roadmap to Recovery

Wentworth By the Sea, a grand historic resort on New Castle island, off Portsmouth, NH (c) Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

WASHINGTON D.C. – With new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) showing staggering job loss to the hospitality and leisure industry, the American Hotel & Lodging Association today released a “Roadmap to Recovery,” calling on Congress to prioritize relief for hotel workers and small businesses in the next stimulus package. The April Jobs Report showed the hospitality and leisure industry was the hardest hit, losing 7.7 million jobs—nearly as many jobs as the next four sectors combined. (Click here to read AHLA’s letter to Congress.)

AHLA is urging Congress to provide immediate assistance in these four areas:

  • Help hotels retain and rehire employees by extending the Paycheck Protection Program, offering employees direct tuition assistance or tax credits, and expanding the Employee Retention Credit

  • Protect employees and guests through tax credits for cleaning equipment and personal protective equipment (PPE)

  • Keep hotel doors open by providing relief for hotel commercial mortgages and increasing the size and flexibility of PPP loans

  • Incentivize Americans to travel again when it’s safe with a new, temporary travel tax credit and restoring the entertainment business expense deduction

“The hospitality industry is in a fight for survival,” said Chip Rogers, president and CEO of AHLA. “We are grateful to the leadership of both parties during one of the most difficult health and economic challenges we have faced. We are urging Congress to do even more to help the hotel industry so that our small business hotel operators can keep the lights on and retain and rehire employees.”

COVID-19 continues to devastate the hotel industry: 2020 is projected to be the worst year on record for hotel occupancy, and experts estimate it will be at least 2022 before hotels return to their 2019 occupancy and revenue levels. So far, the impact of COVID-19 on the travel industry has been nine times worse than September 11. In a recent survey of AHLA members, more than 8 in 10 hotel employees said they have had to lay off or furlough workers. Only 37 percent have been able to rehire any staff through economic relief measures such as PPP.

With a presence in every congressional district in America, hotels are central to getting our economy back on track and supporting millions of jobs. Prior to the pandemic, hotels were proud to support one in 25 American jobs—8.3 million in total—and contribute $660 billion to U.S. GDP. A representative hotel with 100 occupied rooms per night supports nearly 250 jobs in the community and generates $18.4 million in guest spending at neighborhood shops and restaurants. Hotels also generate $186 billion in local, state, and federal taxes each year.

“While the hotel industry was one of the first affected by the pandemic, we have collectively stepped up to serve our communities during this public health crisis. We need Congress to continue to prioritize the industries and employees most affected by the crisis, so we can retain and rehire the people who power our industry, our communities and our economy,” concluded Rogers.

Click here to download the hotel industry’s Road Map to Recovery one-pager.

Click here to read AHLA’s letter to Congress.

For more travel features, visit:

goingplacesfarandnear.com

goingplacesnearandfar.wordpress.com

moralcompasstravel.info

www.huffingtonpost.com/author/karen-rubin

travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate/

goingplacesfarandnear.tumblr.com/

instagram.com/going_places_far_and_near/

‘Like’ us on facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures

Twitter: @TravelFeatures

Newly Renovated Dromoland Castle Brings Modern Luxury to 16th Century Ireland Living this Winter

Set on 450 acres of parkland, Dromoland Castle dates back to 16th century Ireland when it was home of the O’Brien family, whose lineage dates back 1,000 years to Brian Boru, one of the last High Kings of Ireland. Converted to a hotel in the 1960s and fresh off a $20 million renovation and restoration, Dromoland Castle exhibits the best of its regal Irish heritage.

As frosty days turn to long nights, there’s no need to escape the cold. Put the winter doldrums aside and embrace the best that the season has to offer, Downton Abbey-style, at Ireland’s Dromoland Castle. Think: Cozy spaces. Evenings spent by the fire. Brisk walks through the countryside. Days idle by, with opportunities to enjoy falconry or horseback riding. Warm up with afternoon tea or a signature spa treatment. Nights are for indulging in an artful take on traditional Irish ingredients at The Earl of Thomond Restaurant before retiring to the cocktail bar for a tarot-card inspired libation or a glass of Irish whiskey. Then, it’s off to the stately guest rooms for a restful night before beginning another day as a royal.

If Ireland’s temperate climate isn’t enough to lure travelers from the States – though it’s chilly, the daily low rarely dips below freezing – Dromoland Castle in County Clare has a number of winter specials on offer. Stay two nights and receive a special rate that includes a five-course Table d’Hote Dinner in the Earl of Thomond Restaurant. The two-night package starts at $700 based on double occupancy. Or, gather your gal pals for a special wine weekend from February 21–22. The getaway includes a six-course meal that showcases the best of the Co. Clare culinary scene, paired with six different wines. Rates start at $881 for the two-night package. 

Set on 450 acres of parkland with 97 rooms and suites, Dromoland Castle dates back to the 16th century when it was home of the O’Brien family, whose lineage dates back 1,000 years to Brian Boru, one of the last High Kings of Ireland. Converted to a hotel in the 1960s and fresh off a $20 million renovation and restoration, Dromoland Castle exhibits the best of its regal Irish heritage.

Central to Dromoland Castle’s appeal is its location. Just 15 minutes from Shannon Airport, Dromoland sits at the gateway to the Wild Atlantic Way – the 1,553-mile route along Ireland’s west coast. Dotted with small fishing villages, the trail passes vivid seascapes, with plenty of opportunities to stop to enjoy a local catch. The Cliffs of Moher, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is just an hour’s drive from the Castle. And the limestone, lunar-like landscape of the Burren National Park is only 45 minutes away.

Though surrounded by Ireland’s famously dramatic landscapes, Dromoland Castle is just an hour away from Galway, which will be the European Capital of Culture in 2020. The arts abound, as the city has been designated a UNESCO City of Film, and it has a vibrant musical, theater and literature scene. Dublin, home to the newly opened Museum of Literature Ireland, is 2.5 hours east.

Families: Multigenerational families have the perfect venue at Dromoland, which features something for each age group – tennis lessons, bespoke golf clinics, horse and buggy rides, archery, garden tours, falconry, bubble baths on demand, and even a genealogy expert to help trace any Irish familial roots.

Golf: No one does greens better than Ireland. With its 18-hole parkland course, Dromoland offers expert lessons at its School of Golf, as well as a newly renovated driving range that feature “power tees,” eliminating the need for bending down to replace a tee each time.

Dromoland is perfectly suited to enjoy Ireland’s famed links courses  – Lahinch, Ballybunion and Tralee –­ as well as the new Adare Manor, which will host the Ryder Cup in 2026. Stay at Dromoland and transfer between the courses via helicopter – which the Castle can arrange – or simply take advantage of Dromoland’s ability to book a tee time.

Weddings: All of Dromoland Castle can be rented out for royally lavish weddings. Among the Irish touches: The bride can make her entrance via horse and carriage; bagpipers can create fanfare as the guests arrive; tents or even glass pavilions can be erected on-site; step dancers can perform; and fireworks over the golf course will end the evening with a pop!

Dromoland Castle, Newmarket-On-Fergus, Co. Clare, Ireland, Tel: +353 61 368144, USA: 800-346-7007, Email: sales@dromoland.ie,  https://www.dromoland.ie/vacation-ireland/.

For more travel features, visit:

goingplacesfarandnear.com

goingplacesnearandfar.wordpress.com

moralcompasstravel.info

www.huffingtonpost.com/author/karen-rubin

travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate/

goingplacesfarandnear.tumblr.com/

instagram.com/going_places_far_and_near/

‘Like’ us on facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures

Twitter: @TravelFeatures

Top 25 Most Haunted Historic Hotels of America

Jekyll Island Club Resort, Jekyll Island, Georgia, is among this year’s Historic Hotels of America Top 25 Most Haunted Hotels © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

WASHINGTON, DC—Halloween 2019 – Just in time for Halloween 2019, Historic Hotels of America has released its list of Most Haunted Historic Hotels. A membership organization of more than 300 hotels with long and storied histories, some hotels have reported ghosts and paranormal activity throughout the halls and in guestrooms giving those who stay a fright – and they don’t just come out at Halloween. From ghosts who have been around since the Revolutionary War to jilted lovers, heartbroken, there are an abundance of ghostly sightings in historic hotels.

Here is a listing of the Top 25 Most Haunted Hotels:

Concord’s Colonial Inn (1716) Concord, Massachusetts
The original part of the Inn was built in the early 1700s before the Revolutionary War. With such a long and robust history, it’s no wonder there are spirits that still wander the halls of this historic hotel. One of the most famous, haunted and sought-after guestrooms is room 24. During the Revolutionary War, the right side of the Inn was privately owned by Dr. Timothy Minot. When patriot soldiers were injured at the Battles of Lexington and Concord at the North Bridge, they were brought to his home to be cared for. Dr. Minot used what is now the Liberty Room as a hospital and room 24 as an operating room. Several soldiers who were operated on in room 24 died during surgery. They were then carried directly downstairs into room 27, which was used as a morgue. It’s no wonder then that guests have reported lights flickering in room 27 or turning on and off completely. One guest woke up in the middle of the night and every light was on in the room, including the television! Others have heard hushed whispers coming from the closet and have seen the door to the room slamming shut on its own.

The Red Lion Inn (1773) Stockbridge, Massachusetts
Ghostly rumors continue to swirl at the inn which has seen the likes of many paranormal investigators and mediums. The fourth floor, in particular, has been said to have the most activity. Both cleaning staff and guests have claimed to see a “ghostly young girl carrying flowers” and “a man in a top hat.” It has been said that guests have awoken to the feeling of someone standing over them at the foot of the bed. Cold spots, unexplained knocks, and electrical disturbances have all been reported. Guestroom 301 is also known to be a haunted hot spot. 

Omni Parker House, Boston (1855) Boston, Massachusetts
This hotel was opened by Harvey Parker and he was involved with the operations of the building until his death in 1884. Over the years, many guests have reported seeing him inquiring about their stay—a true “spirited” hotelier even after his death. 

The Sagamore (1883) Bolton Landing, New York
The Sagamore has its own American ghost story. Opened in 1883 as a playground resort for summer residents of Millionaire’s Row, this rambling historic hotel sits in a 6 million-acre state park and is rumored to accommodate a ghost or two. Stories persist of the ghost of a silver-haired woman wearing a blue polka-dot dress descending from the second floor to the Trillium, the hotel’s fine dining restaurant. 

1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa (1886) Eureka Springs, Arkansas
The 1886 Crescent Hotel, well known today as being a mountaintop spa resort in the Arkansas Ozarks, was once used as a Cancer Curing Hospital which was under the control of the hospital’s owner, reported charlatan Norman Baker from Muscatine, Iowa.  Baker operated his Eureka Springs’ facility from 1937 until December 1940. There are many paranormal patrons with terrifying tales to tell. Among those are Michael, the Irish stonemason who, while constructing the building back in 1885, fell to his death in the footprint of what is now Room 218. He has thought to be a frequent visitor to the room since the day of his death. There’s also Theodora – a patient and helper during the days when the hotel was owned Norman Baker, resides in Room 419. Guests have reported that she will put bags in front of the door from the inside making it hard for guests to open their door upon their return. Dozens and dozens of ghost like encounters, and creepy, unexplained occurrences happen at this hotel on a regular basis.

Jekyll Island Club Resort (1887) Jekyll Island, Georgia
Over the years, the Jekyll Island Club Resort has seen many families come and go since it opened in 1887. With all that time, comes the stories and mysteries, the staff, as well as guests have encountered firsthand. One such encounter involves the family of J.P. Morgan. Sans Souci, one of the buildings at the Jekyll Island Club Resort, is a handsome four-story structure erected in 1896 as one of the first condominiums to ever be built. It was built originally for families to use, including the family of J. Pierpont Morgan. His family rooms were located on the third floor, north end of the property facing the Jekyll River. He was particularly fond of the large porch which graced the front of his apartment allowing him a beautiful view of the river. Mr. Morgan was a lover of cigars. As the story goes, one could tell where he was by following the trail of smoke. In order to avoid criticisms for his favorite hobby, he would rise early every morning by 5 am to have a smoke on the porch. While most contemporary guests are not rising at such an early hour for a cigar, those who have stayed in the Morgan’s old apartment swear they have awakened to the faint smell of cigar smoke wafting about when there is absolutely no one else awake.

Union Station, Nashville, Tennessee is among this year’s Historic Hotels of America Top 25 Most Haunted Hotels © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Union Station Nashville, Autograph Collection (1900) Nashville, Tennessee
One of Nashville’s most iconic landmarks, Union Station Hotel resides in a building that previously served as the city’s buzzing railway station. Guests are reminded of the building’s rich history through another kind of encounter: with the hotel’s resident ghost, Abigail. Legend has it that during World War II a young woman, Abigail, said goodbye to her soldier on the Union Station train platform before he shipped off to France. When she arrived at that same spot to greet him on his return, she was instead met with word that he was killed in action. Distraught, Abigail threw herself in front of a passing locomotive. The forlorn spirit of Abigail, still looking for her lost love, can reportedly be seen wandering the main terminal and her presence felt in Room 711. Now known as the Abigail Room, guests can request to stay in the haunted suite, which is decorated unlike any other room in the hotel with antique furnishings, a four-poster bed and artwork inspired by her tale. 

Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa (1901) Honolulu, Hawaii
On February 28, 1905, the untimely death of Jane Stanford, co-founder of Stanford University, made headlines everywhere. Stanford, who was vacationing in Hawaii following a strychnine poisoning attempt on her life, died in her room at the Moana. There have been reports that the ghost of Stanford still frequents the hotel, whose beautiful ocean vistas brought her short-lived peace. Guests and hotel staff have said that they’ve seen her walking at night trying to find her room. 
Omni Mount Washington Resort, Bretton Woods (1902) New Hampshire
Known affectionately by staff members as “the princess”, Caroline Foster, was a long-time inhabitant of the hotel. Princess Caroline Foster’s ties to the resort go back to its inception when her husband, railroad tycoon Joseph Stickney, built the grand resort in 1902. Incorporating special accommodations for his wife, construction of the resort included an indoor swimming pool and a private dining room for Caroline known today as the “Princess Room.” A prominent figure at the resort since its opening, many guests who have visited continue to report sightings of the regal Caroline. Visions of an elegant woman in Victorian dress are often spotted in the hallways of the hotel, there are light taps on doors when no one is outside and items suddenly disappear and then reappear in the exact place they were lost. But perhaps the most common sighting of the beloved Caroline is in room 314, where guests report seeing a vision of the woman sitting at the edge of their bed. 

The Seelbach Hilton Louisville (1905) Louisville, Kentucky
Legend says two lovers were to be married at the hotel in 1907, but the groom met an untimely death on his way to the wedding. His distraught bride threw herself down the elevator shaft, falling ten stories to her death. The bride is said to continue to haunt the halls of this historic hotel. 

Mizpah Hotel (1907) Tonopah, Nevada
Built in 1907 and beautifully restored to its former grandeur and glory. The hotel is home to several ghostly figures. One of which is the former bellhops has been seen roaming the halls of the hotel trying to give guests a hand with their luggage. The town of Tonopah was well known for silver mining and just beneath the Mizpah are old mining tunnels. The hotel had a run-in with a few very greedy miners and lost out on a large sum of money. As legend is told, three miners dug a hole into the old bank safe and robbed the hotel. One of the men turned his back on his two accomplices and shot them. He left them for dead and took off with the money and was never been caught. To this day, those two miners still lurk in the basement of the Hotel.

The Omni Grove Park Inn (1913) Asheville, North Carolina
There is a strange, but gentle spirit residing within the gray, granite walls of Asheville’s historic Grove Park Inn. Known simply as the “Pink Lady”, she has been seen, felt and experienced by hotel employees and guests for nearly a century. Although the Pink Lady is believed to have met her demise on the Palm Court floor after falling two stories from the fifth floor to the third floor, she has been seen and experienced in a number of places throughout the resort. The Pink Lady has been described as a dense pinkish smoke with a presence that can be felt by guests throughout the grounds of the Inn.

La Fonda (1922) Santa Fe, New Mexico
Shot to death in 1867 in the hotel lobby, John P. Slough, Chief Justice of the Territorial Supreme Court, is said to have never left. Meanwhile, a distraught salesman, who jumped into the hotel well after losing a card game, has been seen emerging from the fountain by visitors and guests alike. 

The Emily Morgan San Antonio- a DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel (1924) San Antonio, Texas
The Emily Morgan is known to be one of the most haunted hotels in all of Texas. According to various reports, even some given by the hotel’s own management team, the most haunted floors are the seventh, ninth and fourteenth floors in addition to the basement.
It was these particular floors that at one time functioned as the psychiatric ward, surgery level, waiting area and morgue, respectively. At the Emily Morgan, almost all of the paranormal reports involve ghosts and spirits from days gone by when the building was the medical building.
Guests have reported strange things occurring on these particular levels. Those staying on the fourteenth level of the Emily Morgan generally have one thing to say: that the smell is acutely reminiscent of a hospital. Guests have reported to opening the doors to the hallways only to find a scene from a hospital waiting right inside.

Francis Marion Hotel (1924) Charleston, South Carolina
In the early 1930s, New Yorker Ned Cohen was visiting his Southern lady friend in Charleston. Whatever happened was never clear, but he was found face down, body smashed in the middle of King Street facing toward the old Citadel’s parade grounds. Today, visitors hear eerie and unexplained sounds at night, all too familiar to the bell staff and room attendants walking the halls. Sounds of rustling silk drapes, rattling windows, and an unexplained vision of a man questioning either himself or the witness. Some see the ghost in short sleeves, others just feel his presence throughout the hotel. 

Hawthorne Hotel (1925) Salem, Massachusetts
The city of Salem is notorious for the Salem Witch Trials in 1692 and is prone to hauntings and spirits of its own. The hotel has ghost stories, mostly attributed to the sea captains who were returning to their gathering place. In particular, guests staying in rooms 612 and 325 have reported of lights turning off and on and experiencing a general uneasy feeling throughout the rooms. 

Hotel Viking (1926) Newport, Rhode Island
Hotel Viking has had many guests and staff members come and go, reporting stories of spirited guests. The story that has been reported repeatedly is of a little boy is often seen cleaning the floors of the historic wing of the hotel. There have been about 10 different guests regaling a similar story of a young boy cleaning. This has also been confirmed by most of the housekeeping staff. 

Hotel Saranac, Curio Collection by Hilton (1927) Saranac, New York
This historic hotel was built on foundation of a former High School. It is the only hotel building remaining of 13 luxury hotels that once served this community. While fires led to the downfall of some of the area’s hotels, survived by design: made of steel and brick, Hotel Saranac was the area’s first fireproof hotel. The hotel had a civil defense tower on top, where it is said that Boy Scouts would wait to watch for Russian Bombers. Room 308 – Emily Balsam, was a guest at Hotel Saranac and worked at a local college. She had a cat. The story is told that she was not feeling well for a while and got tired of people checking on her and just wanted to be left alone. She had her phone disconnected and stopped all housekeeping.  She did not want to be disturbed for any reason. No one saw much of her after that. At some point the guest and staff started to complain about the smell coming from that room and the cat always “crying” and Emily refused to answer the door. The manager at the time went up to talk to her and found she had been dead for weeks and the cat was still alive. The cat was taken to a shelter but it is said that the ghost of Emily’s cat can still be heard crying or scratching at the wall, perhaps wandering the hotel looking for her.  

Hotel Monteleone (1886) New Orleans, Louisiana
A maid, known as “Mrs. Clean” reputedly haunts the hotel. Paranormal researchers once asked why she stayed, and the maid, whose mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother also worked at the hotel, said she was picking up after housekeeping to ensure high standards.

Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa (1927) Sonoma, California
It is said that ghosts haunt where they were the happiest. Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa welcomes guests past and present and tells the tales of guests who never wanted to leave. When the evenings are still and the fog rolls in from the Bay, a hauntingly beautiful woman has been seen strolling the hallways of the Inn in period dress. Victoria, as she is fondly referred to by many of the Inn’s tenured employees and whose family traces back to the founding fathers of Sonoma Valley, is said to have celebrated her wedding and many anniversaries at the resort.

Hassayampa Inn (1927) Prescott, Arizona
The year it opened, the Hassayampa Inn developed its most famous legend. A very young bride named Faith Summers checked into a balcony suite with her much older husband in 1927. According to the story, Faith’s husband went out to buy cigarettes and never returned. Faith waited for three days and then took her life in despair. Since then, countless hotel guests and employees have reported encounters with a young woman throughout the hotel crying at the end of a bed, dressed in a pink gown in the hallway, appearing and disappearing from rooms. One housekeeper saw a woman by a bed, holding flowers and crying. When asked if she needed help, the woman vanished. Kitchen staff have reported feeling Faith’s presence in the kitchen, right before the burners on the stove suddenly went out. Others have reported strange cold spots in Faith’s honeymoon suite. The heartbroken ghost appears unable to move on from her anguish. Many think that though Faith is heartbroken, she enjoys staying at the Hassayampa Inn.

The Don CeSar (1928) St. Pete Beach, Florida
Over the years there have been a number of reported “sightings” and strange occurrences at this historic hotel. Although there are various stories, the most common presence felt through the building is that of  Mr. Thomas Rowe, the man who brought the Don CeSar to life and is the focal point of the love story surrounding the hotel. It is rumored that people have reported seeing Mr. Rowe throughout the hotel, on the beach, and even interacting with guests and staff. In the evening it has been reported that from time to time guests have looked up to the windows on the fifth floor and see the figure of a man watching from above. 

Lord Baltimore Hotel (1928) Baltimore, Maryland
Over the course of its more then 90-year history, the Lord Baltimore Hotel has had reports of paranormal activity. Built in 1928, the hotel was one of the tallest building in the city (the Great Fire of 1904 destroyed Downtown Baltimore) and around the time of the Great Depression, there were at least 20 documented reports of “jumpers” from the 19th floor rooftop deck. The most spoken about is that of a couple who attended an event at the hotel with their daughter – and then proceeded to jump off the building. Their daughter, “Molly,” is typically seen in the halls wearing a white dress and playing with a red ball. There has also been a lot of paranormal speculation around a handprint of a child on a wall in one of the hotel’s penthouses that won’t go away.

Omni Shoreham Hotel, Washington, DC (1930) Washington, DC
During the Shoreham’s early years, three people died unexpectedly in suite 870. At that time the apartment was occupied by one of the hotel’s owners, Henry Doherty. Juliette Brown, the family’s housekeeper dropped dead mysteriously one night at 4 am. Doherty’s daughter and wife also perished mysteriously in the same suite. During its vacancy there were claims of mysterious noises, doors slamming shut and furniture moving—many of which happened around 4 am, the time of Juliette’s death. 

Tubac Golf Resort and Spa (1959) Tubac, Arizona
There have been hauntings throughout the resort that have been reported by guests by at least four unique ghosts including a boy, a lady in gray, a very active gentleman spirit, and a cowboy. Some of these spirits are believed to date back to the early age of the resort when it was the Otero Ranch. The haunts have been investigated by the Phoenix, Arizona Paranormal Society and featured on the “Haunted Series, Arizona.”
“The spirits reported to reside within these Historic Hotels of America have been described as sad to happy, shy to friendly, slowly meandering to in a rush, in work clothes to elaborately dressed, and range from young to old,” said Lawrence Horwitz, Executive Director, Historic Hotels of America and Historic Hotels Worldwide. “Some pre-date the construction of the hotel and others figure prominently from the early years of the historic hotels.”

For a complete listing of haunted historic hotels, visit https://www.historichotels.org/MostHaunted.php.

Historic Hotels of America is the official program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation for recognizing and celebrating the finest Historic Hotels. Historic Hotels of America has more than 300 historic hotel members. These historic hotels have all faithfully maintained their authenticity, sense of place, and architectural integrity in the United States of America, including 44 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. Historic Hotels of America is comprised of mostly independently owned and operated historic hotels. More than 30 of the world’s finest hospitality brands, chains, and collections are represented in Historic Hotels of America. To be nominated and selected for membership into this prestigious program, a hotel must be at least 50 years old; have been designated by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior as a National Historic Landmark or listed in or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places; and recognized as having historic significance. For more information, visit HistoricHotels.org

For more travel features, visit:

goingplacesfarandnear.com

goingplacesnearandfar.wordpress.com

moralcompasstravel.info

www.huffingtonpost.com/author/karen-rubin

travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate/

goingplacesfarandnear.tumblr.com/

instagram.com/going_places_far_and_near/

‘Like’ us on facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures

Twitter: @TravelFeatures

The Willard Hotel Celebrates Bicentennial at Center of Washington DC Political Society

The lobby of the historic Willard Hotel, which celebrates its 200th anniversary in 2018, was where people who wanted to meet influential politicians would hang out, providing the term “lobbyist”. © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Washington, DC– For 200 years, one Washington DC hotel has remained an anchor in a town that has undergone countless transformations and been called home by US Presidents. In 2018, the Willard InterContinental celebrates its bicentennial, bringing two centuries of colorful anecdotes, architectural evolution and historical preeminence. The long-standing venue is currently receiving a substantial room refurbishment, refreshing guest rooms while maintaining the essence and charm of a bygone era.

With its inception as a row house on the corner of 14th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue in 1818, The Willard spent the first 30 years under a series of different names, managed by a slew of different operators. It wasn’t until 1847 that Henry Willard was named manager, spearheading a complete makeover, tearing down the original façade and replacing it with a new brick exterior and larger interior. It was around this time that the property was named the Willard’s City Hotel and would remain this way until 1901 when it was torn down to make way for the magnificent, Beaux-Arts style structure that exists today, hosting a number of monumental events that have made the history books.

Given its close proximity to The White House and many other government buildings, The Willard has attracted a great number of U.S. presidents, foreign dignitaries and celebrities over the years, beginning with Martin van Buren in 1841. The Willard has since welcomed almost every U.S. president, giving rise to the hotel’s nickname, the “Residence of Presidents.”

It was also in the mid 1800s when Kentucky Statesman Henry Clay first introduced Mint Julep to Washington  in The Willard’s Round Robin Bar. The southern favorite beverage would later become the hotel’s signature drink, serving 20,000 of them each year.

The walls of The Willard have witnessed some of the nation’s most notable happenings, from the inauguration of Abraham Lincoln in 1861, where the President-elect took up residence in the days leading up to his Presidency, to welcoming Dr. Martin Luther King in the hotel’s lobby in 1963, as he sat with his closest advisers making final edits to his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. After closing its doors in 1968 for 18 years, The Willard was saved from demolition and reopened in 1986 with a complete renovation, paving the way for more historical moments, including a visit from the Dalai Lama in 2016.

After such an illustrious track record, The Willard is taking some time in 2018, as it commemorates its 200th anniversary, to give all 335 rooms and suites a well-deserved makeover. To be completed by April, the final design is still being kept under wraps but the property has disclosed that it involves 355 new Nespresso machines, 355 new Cubie alarm clocks, 5,000 slippers, 25,101 yards of carpet, 49,900 yards of wall covering, 300 pieces of reupholstered furniture and 1,350 pieces of refinished wood furniture. With the room revamp, also comes a reimagining of The Willard’s highly-praised authentic French brasserie, Café du Parc where hotel patrons and locals alike will be able to enjoy the addition of a new private dining room and reinvented menu. Of course, The Willard’s old standby’s and foodie favorites will still be available for guests to enjoy whether it be a traditional spot of afternoon tea in the hotel’s famous Peacock Alley, which serves the likes of 30,000 scones a year, or a perfectly brewed cup of coffee at Le Bar, one of 23,725 served yearly.

Throughout the years, The Willard has developed a number of unique programs including the Kids Concierge, which offers a selection of amenities and activities, including a children’s library and a treasure chest of board games and toys to ensure that even the youngest of guests have a luxury experience to remember. This popular offering gives out 1,500 “Millie” bucks per year, a coveted reward which earns little ones a sweet treat from Le Bar. In 2018, both newcomers and longtime patrons can enjoy the hotel’s newest program, History Happy Hour. Held monthly, the two-hour event distills American history through cocktails, while providing attendees a hands-on mixology class, perfect for both cocktail aficionados and history buffs. This educational yet entertaining event is led by the legendary bartender, Jim Hewes, who has been serving up cocktails for over 30 years at the iconic Round Robin Bar.

The Willard, which is a member of Historic Hotels of America (historichotels.org), has stood the test of time and the 200th year anniversary will reflect on its expansive and vivid history. A pioneer in hospitality, The Willard has created and maintained traditions that will be remembered for years to come, whether it be the labor of love involved in the 255 ornaments hung on the beloved Christmas tree that graces the lobby each year or the 600 hours spent each year building the acclaimed gingerbread display. Many have walked through The Willard’s halls, from renowned politicians and celebrities, to tourists visiting the Nation’s Capital for the first time, or blushing brides celebrating their special day inside the hotel’s exquisite Crystal Ballroom, aptly named for the crystals on display and welcoming an astounding 7,000 wedding guests each year.

Want to experience the historic luxurious Willard InterContinental? Celebrate its 200th birthday by bringing the family on the next trip to Washington, D.C. with the Family Package. This offer includes priority access to The Willard’s Kids Concierge, a $75 food and beverage credit, a sweet or savory amenity upon arrival, complimentary internet and complimentary parking daily for one vehicle. Starting at $349 a night.

For The Willard Intercontinental, 2018 is both a year to reminisce and reinvent. For more information, visit www.washington.intercontinental.com for details or call (202) 628-9100.

 

For more travel features, visit:

goingplacesfarandnear.com

www.huffingtonpost.com/author/karen-rubin

goingplacesnearandfar.wordpress.com

moralcompasstravel.info

travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate/

goingplacesfarandnear.tumblr.com/

instagram.com/krubin0830/

instagram.com/famtravltr/

‘Like’ us on facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures

Twitter: @TravelFeatures

Historic Hotels of Europe Announce 2017 Award Winners, From Best Castle to Most Romantic

Festningen Hotel & Resort in Norway, the 17th-century fortress bursting with majesty, won Historic Hotels of Europe’s Historic Hotel Castle Award for 2017.

Historic Hotels of Europe announced the winners of its 6th annual awards honoring the most unique, important and cultural properties spanning across the continent across eight special categories, from weddings to fine dining.

Festningen Hotel & Resort in Norway, the 17th-century fortress bursting with majesty, won Historic Hotels of Europe’s Historic Hotel Castle Award for 2017.

Romantik Hotel Castle Rheinfels based in Germany’s UNESCO World Heritage Middle Rhine Valley, won Most Romantic Historic Hotel of the year.

The ceremony took place in November at the legendary Barberstown Castle near Dublin, Ireland. Originally built as a fortress in 1288, the castle’s most famous owner was Eric Clapton during the 80s. Its current host Ken Healy hosted the gala dinner, which was attended by the first three nominees in each category and dozens of representatives from the finest historic hotels.

From the 400 exceptional stays throughout Europe, the winners of the sixth prestigious Historic Hotels of Europe Awards are:

  1. In the Historic Host of the Year category, Dalen Hotel in Norway came in top. Known as the ‘fairytale hotel’ with its dragonheads, spires, towers, and balconies – the hospitality is equally dream-like.
  2. Winner of the City Historic Hotel Award was the incredible four-star boutique Heritage Avenida Liberdade, located in the heart of Lisbon, Portugal.
  3. From cosmopolitan retreats to sprawling vineyards, L’Unicorno Agriturismo in Italy won the Historic Hotel Countryside Award.
  4. Sundbyholms Slott in Sweden received an award for its outstanding castle weddings in the Historic Hotel Wedding Experience category. With its very own chapel, cake services and cannoneers who shoot real 17th-century gun salutes on reception, the hotel was a worthy winner.
  5. Another historic treasure crowned was Festningen Hotel & Resort in Norway. Perched on an iconic hill overlooking Finnskogen forest, the 17th-century fortress is bursting with majesty, landing it the Historic Hotel Castle Award this year.
  6. Dedicated to the revival of the traditional cuisine and aromas of Mani and within luxurious surroundings, Kyrimai Hotel Restaurant was the foodie’s choice. The wonderfully restored 19th-century building complex on the southern tip of rural Greece surrounded by water, was crowned with the Historic Hotels Gourmet Award.
  7. Romantik Hotel Castle Rheinfels topped the 400-strong collection of historic hotels for its sheer heart-stealing ambience. Based in Germany’s UNESCO World Heritage Middle Rhine Valley, the four-star castle won Most Romantic Historic Hotel of the year.
  8. Historic Hotels of Europe celebrates high standards of cultural and historical-hotel-keeping throughout the continent, so the Historic Hotel with ‘A Story To Tell’ award is very special. This year, it went to Allegory Boutique Hotel, a truly unique small property in the medieval town of Rhodes, Greece with just 6 units named after the Ovidian characters.

Award winners can be viewed here:  http://www.historichotelsofeurope.com/award.html

“The winners of the 2018 Historic Hotels of Europe Awards represent an inspiring group of hoteliers with exceptional historic properties and outmost dedication to authentic hospitality spanning across Europe”, said Barbara Avdis, Chairman of the Historic Hotels of Europe. “The Hotels receive their merit with the organization’s highest honor, a guest’s choice, the Historic Hotels Awards.”

Historic Hotels of Europe is a membership organization representing unique places to stay in Europe. Encompassing castles, chateaus, palaces, monasteries, convents and more, they have almost 400 members dotted across 11 countries. Each property within the association has been handpicked for its historical architecture and the unique stories it tells.

“Whether you’re living like a lord or lady at a 16th-century manor, or a spa-based bliss in the Med, the aim is to give guests that ‘something special’ – a genuine, one-of-a-kind experience.”

For more information, www.historichotelsofeurope.com

 

For more travel features, visit:

goingplacesfarandnear.com

www.huffingtonpost.com/author/karen-rubin

goingplacesnearandfar.wordpress.com

moralcompasstravel.info

travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate/

goingplacesfarandnear.tumblr.com/

instagram.com/krubin0830/

instagram.com/famtravltr/

‘Like’ us on facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures

Twitter: @TravelFeatures

The Broadmoor, Amway Grand Plaza Among 2017 Historic Hotels Awards of Excellence Winners

Mohonk Mountain House, the grand resort in New Paltz, New York, was honored with a 2017 Historic Hotels of America Award for Excellence for Legendary Family Historic Hoteliers of the Year, the Smiley Family © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

The Broadmoor of Colorado Springs, The Dunhill Hotel of Charlotte, Mayflower Park Hotel of Seattle, West Baden Springs Hotel of Indiana, Amway Grand Plaza of Grand Rapids were among the winners of Historic Hotels Awards of Excellence for 2017 by Historic Hotels of America® and Historic Hotels Worldwide®. The winners were announced at a special ceremony and gala at The Omni Homestead Resort (1766) in Hot Springs, Virginia. Honors were given in multiple categories ranging from Hotelier of the Year and Hotel Historian of the Year to Best Historic Resort, Historic Hotelier of the Year, and Lifetime Achievement.

Each year, these Historic Hotels Awards of Excellence honor, encourage, and recognize the most exemplary historic hotels, hoteliers, and leadership practices. The Historic Hotels Awards of Excellence are presented to historic hotels and hoteliers demonstrating innovative leadership, stewardship, and contribution to furthering the recognition, preservation, and celebration of these preeminent historic hotels and their histories.

From more than 200 nominees, the following Historic Hotels of America and Historic Hotels Worldwide hotels and hoteliers were honored with these prestigious annual awards for 2017: 

Best Small Historic Inn/Hotel (Under 75 Guestrooms): The Dunhill Hotel (1929) Charlotte, North Carolina

Best Historic Hotel (76-200 Guestrooms): Mayflower Park Hotel (1927) Seattle, Washington

Best Historic Hotel (201-400 Guestrooms): West Baden Springs Hotel (1902) West Baden Springs, Indiana

Best Historic Hotel (Over 400 Guestrooms): Amway Grand Plaza (1913) Grand Rapids, Michigan

Best City Center Historic Hotel: Marriott Syracuse Downtown (1924) Syracuse, New York

Best Historic Resort: The Broadmoor (1918) Colorado Springs, Colorado

Best Historic Restaurant in Conjunction with a Historic Hotel: Penrose Room at The Broadmoor (1918) Colorado Springs, Colorado

Historic Hotels of America New Member of the Year: The Georges (1789) Lexington, Virginia

Best Social Media of a Historic Hotel: The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa (1876) Riverside, California

Sustainability Champion: Inn at the Presidio (1903) San Francisco, California

Hotel Historian of the Year: Jim Hewes at The Willard InterContinental, Washington DC (1847) Washington, DC

Ambassador of the Year (Quarter Century of Service): Woodrow “Woody” Pettus at The Omni Homestead Resort (1766) Hot Springs, Virginia

Best Historic Hotels Worldwide hotel in Europe: Hotel Waldhaus Sils (1908) Sils Maria, Switzerland

Best Historic Hotels Worldwide hotel in Asia/Pacific: Alsisar Haveli (1892) Jaipur, India

Best Historic Hotels Worldwide hotel in the Americas: Fairmont Le Château Frontenac (1893) Québec City, Canada

Historian of the Year: Chef Walter Staib, author, twelve time Emmy Award winning TV host of A Taste of History©,and chef and proprietor of City Tavern Restaurant in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Stewards of History and Historic Preservation Award: R.D. (Dan) Musser III at Grand Hotel (1887) Mackinac Island, Michigan

Legendary Family Historic Hoteliers of the Year: The Smiley Family at Mohonk Mountain House (1869) New Paltz, New York

Historic Hotelier of the Year: Philip Wood at The Jefferson, Washington, DC (1923) Washington, DC

Lifetime Achievement Award: Duane and Kelly Roberts at The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa (1876) Riverside, California

“The winners of the 2017 Historic Hotels Awards of Excellence represent more than 231 years of history and include the finest iconic and legendary historic hotels from across the United States of America and from around the world,” said Lawrence Horwitz, Executive Director of Historic Hotels of America and Historic Hotels Worldwide. “We applaud these magnificent historic hotels and their hoteliers for their dedication, passion, stewardship and success in preserving these treasures and their stories for future generations of travelers.”

Award recipients are selected from nominees received from historic hotels, historic preservation supporters, prior award recipients, and leadership from Historic Hotels of America and Historic Hotels Worldwide. As official programs of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Historic Hotels of America and Historic Hotels Worldwide provide the recognition to travelers, civic leaders, and the global cultural, heritage, and historic travel market that member hotels are among the finest historic hotels across America and around the world. The Historic Hotels Annual Awards of Excellence program recognizes the pinnacle of this distinct group of nominees in a range of categories.

Historic Hotels of America® is the official program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation for recognizing and celebrating the finest Historic Hotels. Historic Hotels of America has more than 300 member historic hotels which have all faithfully maintained their authenticity, sense of place, and architectural integrity in the United States, including 46 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. Historic Hotels of America is comprised of mostly independently owned and operated historic hotels. More than 30 of the world’s finest hospitality brands, chains, and collections are represented in Historic Hotels of America. To be nominated and selected for membership into this prestigious program, a hotel must be at least 50 years old; has been designated by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior as a National Historic Landmark or listed in or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places; and recognized as having historic significance. For more information, visit HistoricHotels.org.

Historic Hotels Worldwide® is a prestigious collection of historic treasures, including historic hotels, castles, chateaus, palaces, academies, haciendas, villas, monasteries, and other historic lodging spanning ten centuries. Historic Hotels Worldwide represents the finest global collection of more than 260 historic hotels in more than 36 countries. Historic Hotels Worldwide is dedicated to promoting heritage and cultural travel to prestigious historic treasures. Hotels inducted into Historic Hotels Worldwide are authentic historic treasures, demonstrate historic preservation, and celebrate historic significance. Embracing luxury hotel brands, chains, collections, and the finest independent historic hotels, participation is limited to those distinctive historic hotels that adhere to the following criteria: minimum age for the building is 75 years or older; historically relevant as a significant location with a historic district, historically significant landmark, place of a historic event, former home of a famous person, or historic city center; hotel celebrates its history by showcasing memorabilia, artwork, photography, and other examples of its historic significance; recognized by national preservation or heritage buildings organization or located within UNESCO World Heritage Site; presently used as historic hotel. To learn more visit www.HistoricHotelsWorldwide.com 

 

For more travel features, visit:

goingplacesfarandnear.com

www.huffingtonpost.com/author/karen-rubin

goingplacesnearandfar.wordpress.com

moralcompasstravel.info

travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate/

goingplacesfarandnear.tumblr.com/

instagram.com/krubin0830/

instagram.com/famtravltr/

‘Like’ us on facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures

Twitter: @TravelFeatures

St. Francis Inn, Oldest Inn in America’s Oldest City, Restored after Hurricane Devastation

St. Francis Inn, St. Augustine, Florida, America’s oldest inn in America’s oldest city, when I visited © 2017 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

(We stayed at the St. Francis Inn some years ago, so we were devastated to learn of the damage from Hurricane Matthew in October 2016 and thrilled to get this report that the inn ,which dates from circa 1791 in St. Augustine, Florida, making it the oldest inn in America’s oldest city, has been painstakingly and lovingly restored and is better than ever. Here’s the report:)

St. Augustine, Florida (February 2017) – The historic St. Francis Inn (circa 1791) sees the light at the end of the tunnel with an extensive Inn restoration that has taken nearly 5 months since the force of Hurricane Matthew in October 2016. The horrific storm changed the grand old structure’s destiny. What have emerged are property restorations to many of its buildings and deeper trusted friendships throughout the staff. Owners Joe and Margaret Finnegan will never forget their two goals and the driving force to complete the restoration: keep our staff employed and make our guests comfortable.

Deconstructing the St. Francis Inn

Losing all of the Ground Floor throughout the St. Francis Inn

It’s a complex multi-faceted project when you lose the floor of a landmark building from the late 1700s. Imagine tearing up the floorboards throughout the inn and finding that there are many layers of history represented the deeper you go. The surprise was discovering 3 floors leading to the original tabby floor structure that must have been built at least 18” down from street level!

Losing the St. Francis Inn’s Kitchen

Day after day the workers had to first de-construct the entrance, lobby, parlor, dining room, two ground floor guest rooms and the entire kitchen before beginning the restoration. Next to the main inn, the popular Cottage (which served as a cookhouse during the early years) has undergone significant restoration and the pool needed extensive refinishing too.  Additionally the Inn’s award-winning gardens and vegetation were demolished by the storm’s winds and waters ~ now waiting for Spring plantings and regeneration. Many of the St. Francis Inn’s guests’ favorite amenities were temporarily taken away: antique furnishings, fireplaces, Jacuzzis, fishpond and the famous dining room that has been a gathering spot for nearly 230 years.

But a miracle happened and the St. Augustine Historical Society bestowed a wonderful temporary dining option to the Inn and its guests ~ The Finnegans could move their entire dining room’s tables, chairs, sideboards and breakfast to Llambias House across the street from the Inn and call it ‘home’ each day, until the inn was ready to host guests again upon completion of the restoration.

Llambias House Comes to the Rescue

The Llambias House (circa 1565-1763) dating back to the first Spanish colonial period of St. Augustine, has become a cherished opportunity for the Inn guests. They get to enjoy breakfast in the gardens and inside one of the prime examples of architecture first developed by the Spanish and later modified by the British during the colonial period. Recognized as a National Historic Landmark, the Llambias House stands as an important reminder of the influence of Spanish and British colonialism in Florida and their lasting impacts on the United States.  

Llambias House – Temporary Dining Room for St. Francis Inn Guests

Inn Staff Goes Above and Beyond

How have the St. Francis Inn staff, and the sister property Casa de Suenos staff weathered the half year changes? With true hospitality to each other and their guests! The two bed and breakfast inns are on opposite north/south sides of historic St. Augustine. Yet each day the breakfast buffets, famous nightly desserts and catered events have been prepared in the Casa de Suenos kitchen and transported to the Llambias House and St. Francis Inn courtyard for meals and events.

“Our staff has always been close but having to pull together so the Inn could be cleaned up quickly was definitely a team effort,” says Kelly Brooks, Inn Manager. “We felt lucky that Joe and Margaret worked it out with the construction crew so that we could stay open during the cleanup and restoration so that we could keep our jobs (a huge financial strain on the Finnegans). We learned to be flexible so that we could move from room to room…while keeping reservations coming in and having to locate our daily supplies that needed to find a new home every day. We rolled with the punches many days, because the next day we had to do it all a different way with a new plan!” 

Additionally, two of the fulltime innkeepers lost their homes. The St. Francis Inn launched a GoFundMe account to assist in temporary lodging for moving them and their families to a safe haven. Co-workers, prior inn guests and business vendors supported this effort, another commendable example of people coming together to support each other.

The Finnegan’s trying to salvage the Inn’s furnishings and equipment

 

St. Francis Inn Completes Restoration

There are many new and beautiful additions to the St. Francis Inn including a state-of-the-art kitchen where guests love to peek in at the cooks and dishes being prepared, new carpeting, paint and furnishings. 

St. Francis Inn, St. Augustine, after restoration.

“Our staff has made miracles day after day to work within our two inns, juggling beach cottages and guest accommodations to insure their comfort and vacation expectations,” reflects Joe Finnegan. “We didn’t lose one employee during this turbulent time and each employee was flexible with whatever tasks they had to achieve. At the same time, many of our guests enjoyed being a ‘part of history’ when they could view some of the restoration projects and experience dining in the Llambias House ~ but mostly living through the next generation of our Inn’s historic story”.

St. Francis Inn, 279 St. George Street, St. Augustine, Fl 32082, 904-824-6068, www.stfrancisinn.com

For more travel features, visit:

goingplacesfarandnear.com

www.huffingtonpost.com/author/karen-rubin

goingplacesnearandfar.wordpress.com

moralcompasstravel.info

travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate/

goingplacesfarandnear.tumblr.com/

instagram.com/krubin0830/

‘Like’ us on facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures

Twitter: @TravelFeatures

3 Berkshires Hotels Offer Value-added Art Appreciation Packages This Winter

The historic Red Lion Inn, Stockbridge, MA, immortalized in Norman Rockwell's painting © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
The historic Red Lion Inn, Stockbridge, MA, immortalized in Norman Rockwell’s painting © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

STOCKBRIDGE, MA  – Widely recognized as a Northeast hub for culture and music, the Berkshires are enticing travelers to find artistic inspiration this winter during Art Appreciation Season. Three renowned properties under the Main Street Hospitality Group umbrella, Porches at MASS MoCA in North Adams, Hotel on North in Pittsfield and the Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge, have banded together to offer visitors value-added stays and access to the region’s  leading museums.

“Art has a year-round home in the Berkshires with more than 30 museums and several renowned theater companies in the region. We’ve coined this Art Appreciation Season to help visitors find creative ways to enjoy the quieter winter months in the Berkshires,” says Janet Eason, vice president of marketing at Main Street Hospitality Group. “Each of the three properties are conveniently located with an array of cultural events and inventive regional cuisine nearby for guests to enjoy.”

While seasonal favorites like Tanglewood and Jacob’s Pillow “take five” for the winter, visitors can tour numerous indoor galleries at places like the Clark Art Institute and Williams College Museum of Art in Williamstown or MASS MoCA, one of the country’s largest contemporary art museums, in North Adams. and the Norman Rockwell Museum (9 Route 183 Stockbridge , MA 01262, www.nrm.org). In Pittsfield, the 10×10 Upstreet Festival draws a crowd each February with ten 10-minute plays by 10 playwrights at the Barrington Stage Company and “10 Days of Play” at the Berkshire Museum.

Main Street Hospitality Group welcomes Art Appreciation Season with three value-added packages, including:

“Museum Mania!” at Porches Inn at MASS MoCA in North Adams, MA

Located across from MASS MoCA in North Adams, Porches Inn offers guests overnight accommodations with the “Museum Mania!” package. Also included are breakfast and two passes for two to MASS MoCA and the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. Rates start at $219 on weekdays and $275 on weekends, per night. Offer valid now through May 19, 2016, based on availability. Blackout dates may apply. For more information, call 413-664-0400 or visit http://www.porches.com/.

“Museum Break” at Hotel on North in Pittsfield, MA

In celebration of the fifth annual 10×10 Upstreet Festival, Hotel on North invites guests to make winter break a true work of art with the “Museum Break” package, available from February 12 through 21, 2016. The package includes overnight accommodations and two adult passes to the Berkshire Museum. Children’s tickets can be purchased at the hotel’s front desk. Kids also eat for free when ordering from designated kids menu and receive a special Lego toy upon check-in (10 years and under). Prices start at $270 per night, based on double occupancy. Blackout dates may apply. For more information, call 413-358-4741 or visit http://hotelonnorth.com/ 

“The Norman Rockwell Experience” at Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge, MA

A living museum in its own right, Stockbridge’s Red Lion Inn offers guests overnight accommodations, breakfast for two and two passes to the treasured Norman Rockwell Museum. Rates begin at $235 on weekdays and $305 on weekends, per night, inclusive of taxes and meal gratuities. Offer valid for booking now through May 26, 2016, based on availability. Blackout dates may apply. The Red Lion, made famous in Norman Rockwell’s painting, is a member of Historic Hotels of America. For more information, call 413-298-5545 or visit http://www.redlioninn.com/.

For more information on Art Appreciation Season, visit the dedicated landing page here.

Formed in 2013, Main Street Hospitality Group is a hotel management company founded originally at The Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, with a long tradition of excellence in preservation, innovation, sustainability and operations. As owners and operators of some of the most distinctive hotels in the Berkshires, the company’s mission is to deliver unparalleled experiences for guests, employees and owners through an authentic approach to hospitality, service, and management. Main Street’s management hotel portfolio includes The Red Lion Inn, The Porches Inn at MASS MoCA, North Adams, MA, The Williams Inn, Williamstown, MA, and Hotel on North, Pittsfield, MA.  For more information, visit www.mainstreethospitalitygroup.com or call 413-298-1610.

For more travel features, visit:

www.examiner.com/eclectic-travel-in-national/karen-rubin

www.examiner.com/international-travel-in-national/karen-rubin

goingplacesfarandnear.com

goingplacesnearandfar.wordpress.com

moralcompasstravel.info

travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate/

goingplacesfarandnear.tumblr.com/

‘Like’ us on facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures

Twitter: @TravelFeatures

Historic Hotels of America 2015 Awards of Excellence Winners Announced

The view of from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon National Park just steps away from the lodge operated by Xanterra Parks & Resorts. Xanterra which operates the lodges in several national parks, was named Historic Hotels of America's 2015 Historic Hotels of America Sustainability Champion © 2015 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
The view of from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon National Park just steps away from the lodge operated by Xanterra Parks & Resorts. Xanterra which operates the lodges in several national parks, was named Historic Hotels of America’s 2015 Historic Hotels of America Sustainability Champion © 2015 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

West Baden Springs, Indiana –Historic Hotels of America 2015 Awards of Excellence winners were announced at West Baden Springs Hotel (1902) at French Lick Resort in West Baden Springs, Indiana. Honors were given in multiple categories ranging from Hotelier of the Year and Hotel Historian of the Year to Best Historic Resort, Historic Hotelier of the Year, and others.

Each year, these awards honor, encourage, and recognize the most exemplary historic hotels, hoteliers, and leadership practices. The Awards of Excellence are presented to historic hotels demonstrating the highest contribution to furthering the celebration of history and demonstrating leadership and innovation.

From more than 200 nominees, the following Historic Hotels of America hotels and hoteliers were honored with these prestigious awards:

Historic Hotels of America New Member of the Year
• Hilton Chicago (1927) Chicago, Illinois

Best Small Historic Inn/Hotel (Under 75 Guestrooms)
• Green Park Inn (1891) Blowing Rock, North Carolina

Best Historic Hotel (75-200 Guestrooms)
• The Jefferson, Washington, DC (1923) Washington, DC
Best Historic Hotel (201-400 Guestrooms)
• Loews Don CeSar Hotel (1928) St. Pete Beach, Florida
Best City Center Historic Hotel
• Hawthorne Hotel (1925) Salem, Massachusetts
Best Historic Hotel (Over 400 Guestrooms)
• The Peabody Memphis (1869) Memphis, Tennessee
Best Historic Resort
• Grand Hotel (1887) Mackinac Island, Michigan

Hotel Historian of the Year
• Michaelene Lusk Norton, The Lancaster Hotel (1926) Houston, Texas

Legendary Family Historic Hoteliers of the Year
• The Lusk Family, The Lancaster Hotel (1926) Houston, Texas

Best Historic Restaurant in Conjunction with a Historic Hotel
• Plume, The Jefferson, Washington, DC (1923) Washington, DC

Best Social Media of a Historic Hotel
• French Lick Resort (1845) French Lick, Indiana

Historic Hotels of America Sustainability Champion
• Xanterra Parks & Resorts

Historic Hotels of America Ambassador of the Year (Quarter Century Service)
• Bill Ott, 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa (1886) Eureka Springs, Arkansas

2015 Historic Hotelier of the Year
• Dean Lane, Palmer House®, A Hilton Hotel (1871) Chicago, Illinois

2015 Lifetime Achievement Award
• Gayle Cook

2015 Historic Hotels of America Historian of the Year Award
• Stanley Turkel, Author and Consultant

2016 Historic Hotels of America Journalist of the Year Award
• Peter Greenberg, Travel Editor for CBS News

“Historic Hotels of America is proud to congratulate the 2015 Awards of Excellence winners,” said Lawrence Horwitz, Executive Director of Historic Hotels of America and Historic Hotels Worldwide. “These historic hotels and hoteliers represent the pinnacle in historic hotels and their achievements from Portland, Oregon to St. Pete Beach, Florida.”
The hotels were nominated by fellow members, past award recipients, and honorees. A panel of experts judged and weighed the nominees in each category in order to determine a winner. As the official program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Historic Hotels of America provides the recognition to travelers, civic leaders, and the global cultural, heritage and historic travel market that the members’ hotels are among the finest historic hotels across America.

Historic Hotels of America, founded in 1989 by the National Trust for Historic Preservation to recognize and celebrate the finest Historic Hotels, has more than 275 members. These historic hotels have all faithfully maintained their authenticity, sense of place, and architectural integrity in the United States of America, including 44 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. Historic Hotels of America is comprised of mostly independently owned and operated properties. More than 30 of the world’s finest hospitality brands, chains, and collections are represented in Historic Hotels of America. To be nominated and selected for membership into this prestigious program, a hotel must be at least 50 years old; have been designated by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior as a National Historic Landmark or listed in or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places; and recognized as having historic significance. For more information, visit HistoricHotels.org.

Click here to see the About Historic Hotels of America video. To view the Historic Hotels of America 2015 Annual Directory ebook or download the free app on iTunesAmazonGoogle Play, and the  Windows Store.

 

For more travel features, visit:

www.examiner.com/eclectic-travel-in-national/karen-rubin

www.examiner.com/international-travel-in-national/karen-rubin

goingplacesfarandnear.com

goingplacesnearandfar.wordpress.com

moralcompasstravel.info

travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate/

‘Like’ us on facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures

Twitter: @TravelFeatures