The 2018 Historic Hotels List Announced by Historic Hotels of America and Historic Hotels Worldwide

 

The iconic and legendary hotels inducted into Historic Hotels of America® and Historic Hotels Worldwide® are noteworthy for their grandeur and architectural significance. Guests and visitors to these hotels can see wonderful examples of the artistry, craftsmanship, and extraordinarily detailed work preserved from the past. Some of the best examples are viewed by looking up at these magnificent ceilings and domes in the public areas of these hotels including lobbies, ballrooms, and restaurants. These ornate ceilings and domes include some of the finest examples of stained-glass, painted frescoes, painted ornamental plaster, stenciled wood, and of course, gold leaf. Often, these beautiful, ornate, grand and detailed ceilings have been recognized as historically significant local or regional historic landmarks. (Visit www.HistoricHotels.org/Ceilings for a complete listing of these ornate masterpieces.)

Historic Hotels of America logo

Historic Hotels of America logo

Here are the 2018 Top 25 Most Magnificent Ceilings and Domes at Historic Hotels of America:

  • The Willard InterContinental, Washington, DC (1818): The Willard’s iconic lobby has a coffered ceiling that is adorned with 48 original state seals. The seals for Alaska and Hawaii reside on the back pillars of the iconic Peacock Alley. For over a century, the Crystal Room has played host to many of Washington DC’s most elegant social and corporate events. From sophisticated receptions and lavish galas to prestigious conferences and annual meetings, the Crystal Room provides a stunning backdrop for an unforgettable event. Exuding spectacular opulence, the Crystal Room’s design motif includes mottled green columns, crystal-dripping chandeliers, ornate hand-carved gold leaf crown molding, and antique drapery.

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  • French Lick Springs Hotel (1845) French Lick, Indiana: The Baroque-style murals on the ceiling of the mezzanine level of the hotel are visible by just looking up from the lobby. In keeping with the area’s fame for producing mineral-laced “Pluto Water” 100 years ago, the murals depict the mythological story of Pluto’s World. A single mural over the main lobby shows Orpheus and Eurydice, symbols of love, in a springtime setting. This is the story of Pluto’s world, as told through a breathtaking mural containing six separate panels. The mural may look like a masterpiece that was crafted in a bygone era, though it actually was designed, painted and installed during the 2005-2006 renovation that restored French Lick Springs Hotel to its original grandeur. A group of artists from Conrad Schmitt Studios invested 1,500 hours in the planning and creation of these mural panels. In the process, Pluto’s world came to life.
  • Battle House Renaissance Mobile Hotel & Spa (1852) Mobile, Alabama: Inside the lobby of the Battle House is a stunningly beautiful dome that is over 42 feet tall and 63 feet wide. The Tiffany-style glass in the dome features fleur-de-lis designs, in keeping with the city’s history, as the true birthplace of Mardi Gras. The painting technique used to depict these rulers in the lobby ceiling is called Trompe-l’œil. It is an art technique involving extremely realistic imagery in order to create the optical illusion that the depicted objects really exist, instead of being just two-dimensional paintings. In refurbishing the dome from 2004 to 2006, master plaster artists were brought in to work with their apprentices and make molds of all the design elements in the ceiling. The glass ceiling designs were carefully repaired and more than 95 percent of the glass is original to the 1908 construction.
  • The Menger Hotel (1859) San Antonio, Texas: The Victorian lobby reflects the 1909 remodeling, designed by noted San Antonio architect Alfred Giles. Giles transformed the simple utilitarian space into a grander, neoclassical style which was popular at the time. The oval-shaped lobby is dominated by eight Corinthian columns. The original columns were cast iron and encircle the redesigned columns ornamented with festoons, garlands, modillions, and painted to resemble stone. The leaded skylight was added as part of the 1909 alterations, as was the decorative tile floor which extended into the Colonial Room Restaurant. Many of the pieces of furniture in the lobby are believed to have been purchased by William Menger on his frequent buying trips to New York and Europe in the 1860s.
  • The Peabody Memphis (1869) Memphis, Tennessee: The ornate stained glass skylight and carved wood ceiling in The Peabody’s Grand Lobby is one of the signature characteristics of the hotel, measuring in at 32 feet high and 3,100 square feet in total. The ceiling dates back to the opening of the current Peabody, built in 1925. The hotel was designed by noted Chicago architect Walter Ahlschlager, who also designed the Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza. The glass skylight is located in the Peabody Lobby Bar and the lobby fountain where the famed Peabody Ducks reside during the day. The Duckmaster offers daily history tours in the Grand Lobby, which highlight the ornate ceiling. A little-known fact about the ceiling is that the beautiful carved wood that surrounds the stained glass is not wood as it appears, but sculpted plaster.
  • Palmer House®, a Hilton Hotel (1871) Chicago, Illinois: The ceiling of the Palmer House has been compared to that of the Sistine Chapel of Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Measuring in at 28 feet high and 50 feet by 28 feet wide, it is approximately the size of a basketball court. These 21 distinct pieces of artwork were completed in Paris in 1926 by Louis (Pierre) Rigal. Three large circular panels illustrate classic romantic scenes from Greek mythology. Depicting Aphrodite, the goddess of love; Apollo, the god of sun, music, and poetry in his pursuit of Daphne; and the god Pluto in his pursuit of Persephone. There are nine vertical paintings of the Muses where each Muse depicts a joy of life. The 16 plaster frescos that frame the ceiling are done in the style of the 15th century Della Robbia family in the colors of Wedgewood blue, cinnabar, and celadon. The paintings that adorn the ceiling were completed in 1917 in France and later installed in the hotel’s ceiling in 1927.
  • Capital Hotel (1873) Little Rock, Arkansas
  • Wentworth by the Sea (1874) New Castle, New Hampshire
  • The Pfister Hotel (1893) Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • St. Louis Union Station Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton (1894) St. Louis, Missouri
  • The Jefferson Hotel (1895) Richmond, Virginia
  • Omni Mount Washington Resort, Bretton Woods (1902) New Hampshire
  • West Baden Springs Hotel (1902) West Baden Springs, Indiana
  • The Bellevue (1904) Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Castle Hill Resort and Spa (1905) Proctorsville, Vermont
  • The Seelbach Hilton Louisville (1905) Louisville, Kentucky
  • The Otesaga Hotel and Cooper Inn (1909) Cooperstown, New York
  • Embassy Suites by Hilton Portland Downtown (1912) Portland, Oregon
  • Fairmont Copley Plaza (1912) Boston, Massachusetts
  • Amway Grand Plaza (1913) Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • The Broadmoor (1918) Colorado Springs, Colorado
  • La Valencia (1926) La Jolla, California
  • The Cavalier (1927) Virginia Beach, Virginia
  • Lord Baltimore Hotel (1928) Baltimore, Maryland
  • Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza (1931) Cincinnati, Ohio. In addition to the above, there are other noteworthy and magnificent ceilings and domes at Historic Hotels Worldwide:
  • Tivoli Palacio de Seteais (1787) Sintra, Portugal: The frescoes of Salão Nobre at Tivoli Palacio de Seteais are original from the palace’s construction in 1787. The artist of these frescoes is unknown but was inspired by the French Jean Baptiste Pillement who painted the Pillement Room. The Royal Room is original from the palace’s construction in the 18th century by the Portuguese architect José da Costa e Silva. This room reflects the romanticism of Sintra and tells a love story in the frescoes above.
  • Hilton Paris Opera (1889) Paris, France: Dating back to 1889, its Eiffel style lobby in the Hilton Opera Paris and Second Empire Style covered ceiling are decorated with paintings and sculptures by the artist Charles Joseph Lameire (1832-1910). Several French movies were filmed with this magnificent backdrop over the years.
  • Fairmont Le Château Frontenac (1893) Québec City, Canada: The original sketch for the beautiful hand-painted ceiling of the Verchères Space was designed by architect William Maxwell. The ceiling includes leaf and flowering vine design embellished with cartouches and monochrome motifs. The palette includes shades of blue and green against a yellow background. Palm designs are visible on top of each column. The original name of this space was the Palm Court and its original use was a tea room. The ceilings date back to 1924.
  • Grand Hotel Tremezzo (1910) Tremezzo, Italy: Frescoes in the Grand Hotel, represent the scenes of the Aeneid of Virgil and scenes of heaven. The grand ceiling at this historic hotel was painted by Francesco by Francesco Conegliani, Gianbattista Tiepolo’s pupil. Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, well-known as Gianbattista Tiepolo known as an Italian painter and printmaker from the Republic of Venice. He was prolific and worked not only in Italy but also in Germany and Spain.
  • Hotel New Grand (1927) Yokohama, Japan
  • The Fullerton Hotel (1928) Singapore

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Historic Hotels of America Announces 2017 Awards of Excellence Nominee Finalists

Hotels and Recipients to be Honored at the 2017 Historic Hotels Annual Awards Ceremony and Gala Dinner on September 28 at The Omni Homestead Resort

Historic Hotels of America® and Historic Hotels Worldwide® has announced the nominee finalists for the 2017 Historic Hotels Awards of Excellence. These Historic Hotels Awards of Excellence recognize and celebrate the finest historic hotels and hoteliers across the nation and around the world.

Historic Hotels of America is the official program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation for recognizing and celebrating the finest Historic Hotels. The organization has more than 298 historic hotels which have all faithfully maintained their authenticity, sense of place, and architectural integrity in the United States of America, including 46 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. (See more information below.)HHA_Black

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. The organization represents the finest global collection of more than 260 historic hotels in more than 34 countries and is dedicated to promoting heritage and cultural travel to prestigious historic treasures. (See more information below.)Historic Hotels Worldwide®

The 2017 Historic Hotels Annual Awards of Excellence and Gala Dinner will take place at The Omni Homestead Resort (1766) in Hot Springs, Virginia on Thursday, September 28, 2017 at 6 pm. The final award winners will be announced to recipients before an audience of owners, senior management, industry leaders, and representatives from the finest historic hotels around the world.

Award recipients are selected from nominees received from historic hotels, historic preservation supporters, prior award recipients, community leaders, 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.

From over 200 nominations, the awards committee evaluated, and after careful consideration selected the following 2017 award nominee finalists:

Historic Hotels of America New Member of the Year

Inn at Willow Grove (1778) Orange, Virginia

The Georges (1789) Lexington, Virginia

Penn Wells Hotel (1869) Wellsboro, Pennsylvania

Marriott Syracuse Downtown (1924) Syracuse, New York

Hotel Saranac, Curio Collection by Hilton (1927) Saranac Lake, New York

Silver Birches (1929) Hawley, Pennsylvania

Best Social Media of a Historic Hotel

The Willard InterContinental, Washington DC (1847) Washington, DC

The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa (1876) Riverside, California

Grand Hotel (1887) Mackinac Island, Michigan

The Otesaga Hotel and the Cooper Inn (1909) Cooperstown, New York

Hotel Blackhawk, Autograph Collection (1915) Davenport, Iowa

The Don CeSar (1928) St. Petersburg, Florida

Sustainability Champion

Hotel El Convento (1651) San Juan, Puerto Rico

Mohonk Mountain House (1869) New Paltz, New York

Ledges Hotel (1890) Hawley, Pennsylvania

The Lenox (1900) Boston, Massachusetts

Inn at the Presidio (1903) San Francisco, California

The Brown Hotel (1923) Louisville, Kentucky

Best Small Historic Inn/Hotel (Under 75 Guestrooms)

The Georges (1789) Lexington, Virginia

The Inn at Montchanin Village & Spa (1799) Montchanin, Delaware

Napa River Inn (1884) Napa, California

OHEKA CASTLE (1919) Huntington, New York

The Lord Jeffery Inn (1926) Amherst, Massachusetts

The Dunhill Hotel (1929) Charlotte, North Carolina Continue reading