Historic Hotels of America honors its own
Early next month, I will be spending a night in the wonderful Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado. I’ve toured the hotel, I’ve dined there, I’ve had drinks there but I’ve never yet stayed overnight. Not that I’m afraid of the paranormal activities reports of the hotel that suspense-meister Stephen King used as a model for “The Shining,” but it’s an hour from my house, and I don’t customarily pay for an overnight so close to home. The Stanley is hosting a holiday party for the Society of American Travel Writers’ local members, and so I will finally get to stay there at a discounted rate.
The Stanley has just won another honor, this one for social media, one of Historic Hotels of America’s 2013 Annual Awards, which were just announced at Milwaukee”s grand Pfister Hotel, honor, encourage and recognize the most exemplary historic hotels, hotelier, and leaders.
The Historic Hotels of America Hotel of the Year Award is the highest honor awarded. The Best Historic Hotel awards are given to historic hotels demonstrating the highest contributions to furthering the celebration of history and demonstrating leadership and innovation. I have always owned old house (an 1870s brownstone in Hoboken and now an 189os prairie Victorian in Boulder. Knowing what it takes to maintain an old home, I can not even imagine how the task of restoring and renovating is magnified when it comes to even a modest hotel — and even with a big budget and a staff. Therefore, to me, the “encourage” component is major.
- New Member of the Year. The Jefferson (1923), Washington, D.C.
- Historic Hotelier of the Year. Dennis Costello, Historic Hotel Bethlehem (1922), Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
- Best Small Historic Inn/Hotel (Under 75 Guest Rooms). The Wort Hotel (1941), Jackson, Wyoming
- Best Historic Hotel (75 to 200 Guest Rooms). Gettysburg Hotel (Est. 1797), Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Note: This is particularly appropriate since the awards were announced the same time as the 150th celebration of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. The hotel is one of the stops in a town tour that follows the footsteps of President Abraham Lincoln during his November 1863 visit. Guests may also stand in the room where Lincoln crafted the resounding Gettysburg Address at the David Wills House Museum.
- Best Historic Hotel (200 to400 Guest Rooms). Ojai Valley Inn & Spa (1923), Ojai, California
- Best Historic Hotel (Over 400 Guest Rooms). Grand Hotel Marriott Resort, Golf Club & Spa (1847), Point Clear, Alabama
- Best City Center Historic Hotel. The Willard InterContinental (1850), Washington, D.C.
- Best Historic Resort. French Lick Resort (1845), French Lick, Indiana
- Hotel Historian of the Year. Bob Tagatz, Grand Hotel (1887), Mackinac Island, Michigan
- Legendary Family Historic Hoteliers of the Year. The Morrissey Family, The Saint Paul Hotel (1910), St. Paul, Minnesota
- Best Historic Restaurant in Conjunction with a Historic Hotel.Plume at The Jefferson, (1923), Washington, D.C.
- Best Social Media of a Historic Hotel. The Stanley (1909), Estes Park, Colorado
- Historic Hotels of America Sustainability Champion. Timberline Lodge (1938), Timberline, Oregon
- Historic Hotels of America Ambassador of the Year (Quarter Century Service) . George Moore, The Battle House Renaissance Mobile Hotel & Spa (1852), Mobile, Alabama
- Historic Hotels of America Heritage Award. The Marcus Family, The Pfister Hotel (1893), Milwaukee, Wisconsin
- Historic Hotels of America Community Leadership Award. The Lenox (1900). Boston, Massachusetts
- Historic Hotels of America Lifetime Achievement Award. Thierry Roch, Former Executive Director, Historic Hotels of America
Landmark park lodges join prestigious hotel group
Eight national park lodges in the West (specifically in Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Death Valley, Zion and Crater Lake National Parks) have joined Historic Hotels of America (HHA), a program for the National Trust for Historic Preservation. They are all operated by Denver-based Xanterra Parks & Resorts, so perhaps this company made a combined application for them all. I am actually a bit surprised that they haven’t been members of HHA for a long time. Herewith, the class of 2012:
- El Tovar, Grand Canyon NP, Arizona. Sometimes described as a cross between a Swiss chalet and a Norwegian villa (though I don’t quite see that), El Tovar was a Fred Harvey Hotel, designed by architect Charles Whittlesey, built for $250,000 and opened on January 14, 1905. It sits on the edge of the South Rim.
- Phantom Ranch, Grand Canyon NP. Legendary architect Mary Elizabeth Jane Colter designed Phantom Ranch, which was built in 1922, for guests on mule rides from the rim to the river. In fact, it is still the only lodging facility located below the rim. It offers bunk-style cabins for hikers, mule riders and river rafters — and I can tell you it’s the place to get a cold beer or a frosty lemonade on a hot Arizona day after descending more than a vertical mile to the bottom of the canyon.
- Bright Angel Lodge & Cabins, Grand Canyon NP. Also designed by Mary Colter, the Bright Angel Lodge has been listed in the National Register of Historic Places since 1982, which makes joining HHA a 30th anniversary tribute. The hotel is famous for panoramic vistas of the canyon. The park’s oldest building, the two-room “Red Horse Cabin,” recently reopened after an extensive refurbishment. It was built in 1890 and moved to the Grand Canyon 22 years later to serve as a tourist hotel and post office. It was incorporated into Bright Angel Lodge in 1935 by Mary Colter.
- Lake Yellowstone Hotel, Yellowstone NP, Wyoming. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this elegant 1889 structure features a massive sunroom overlooking Yellowstone Lake. It is the park’s grandest hotel.
- Old Faithful Inn, Yellowstone NP. One of the best known of all national park lodges, this massive structure or logs and stone was built in 1903-04 by a partnership of the Yellowstone Park Company and Northern Pacific Railroad has been a National Historic Landmark since 1987. architect Robert Reamer designed it and 40 craftsmen built it — a construction crew that didn’t need to do as much electrical work, plumbing, ADA compliance and other modern requirements. These, of course, have since been met, but without jeopardizing its place on the National Register of Historic Places.
- Crater Lake Lodge, Crater Lake National Park, Oregon. Originally opened in 1915, Crater Lake Lodge has been listed in the National Register of Historic Places since 1981. But it lived hard, with harsh winters and seasonal operations. TheNational Park Service closed the deteriorating lodge in 1988, but was in 1995 after a massive renovation that restored it to its original elegance.
- Inn at Furnace Creek, Death Valley NP, California. This gracious inn opened in 1927 with 12 guest rooms that cost $10 per night. Tourism boomed when Death Valley was designated a national monument in 1933, and another 56 rooms were eventually added. This Spanish-style hotel lies is the centerpiece of an oasis in the starkly beautiful Death Valley.
- Zion Lodge, Zion NP, Utah. Architect Gilbert Stanley designed the originaltwo-story lodge (now 75 rooms) and 40 cottages for the Union
Historic hotels offer atmosphere, charm & for a time, membership in an important preservation organization
Historic Hotels of America, a consortium of 235 historically and/or architecturally significant hotels, ir promoting its new website with an add-on bonus. Book a reservation for a Historic Hotels/Preferred Hotels online through September 30 and receive a complimentary one-year family membership to the National Trust for Historic Preservation (a $30 value). What goes around comes around. Historic Hotels of America was established by the National Trust, whose members enjoy s a savings of 10 percent at participating hotels, a subscription to Preservation magazine and discounted admission to over 600 historic places worldwide.