Posts tagged “hotels

Hotel Veranda as Celebrity Stage

Posted on June 13, 2012

In the 19th and early 20th centuries, the sweeping verandas of America’s foremost resort hotels served as veritable stages across which the nation’s well-to-do promenaded. As historian Jon Sterngass observed in his book First Resorts, such spaces offered perfect places “to see and be seen,” even as resorts like Saratoga attracted a broader and broader swath of American society. In Saratoga, the “celebrities” of the day literally strode high above passersby on the Broadway sidewalk below as if enacting a tableau. The United States Hotel, along with Congress Hall and the Grand Union Hotel, was one of the great elite resort hotels of the Western Hemisphere in the 19th century. Originally built in 1824, the United States Hotel (like many wooden hotels) went up…

From Grand to Grand

Posted on May 14, 2012

Today I had an exciting opportunity to present alongside Dan Musser III, owner of Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island in Michigan, who was in town for a power networking workshop at Berea High School in Berea, Ohio, followed by “From Grand to Grand,” a tea luncheon at the Grand Pacific Hotel in Olmsted Falls. Following my presentation on Mackinac Island tourism, Mr. Musser told the story of Grand Hotel and how his family has been associated with the summer resort since 1919. Grand Hotel, which opened in 1887, elevated the stature of Mackinac Island, making it the preeminent Great Lakes summer resort. Built in an astounding 93 days by crews working three shifts around the clock, the white-pine hotel became distinguished for its 626-foot-long…

Stateside Sevilles

Posted on May 1, 2012

Architectural mimicry is tightly interwoven with the history of tourism. Few styles proved as inspirational in tourism placemaking efforts as those that evoked old Spain. Spanish-influenced styles became staples in the creation of regional architecture in California and Florida and occasionally in less expected places. Perhaps no structure excited so many replicas and emulations as the Giralda in Seville. Today we’ll explore two of them. The Giralda was originally constructed as the minaret for a Moorish mosque patterned after the Koutoubia Mosque in Marrakech, Morocco. Both were completed in the late 12th century. Following the 13th-century Reconquista, the 343-foot-tall structure became a tower for the Cathedral of Seville. It is among the most recognizable buildings to tourists in Spain. Spanish architecture or, more properly,…

Tourist Fantasies Loom Large in AIA Florida Top 100

Posted on April 20, 2012

Innovative developers have long made dramatic use of architectural expression to appeal to travelers’ search for extraordinary pleasure grounds. Walt Disney’s theme parks, for example, trade on their embodiment of childlike whimsy.  Whole towns from Pueblo-inspired Santa Fe, New Mexico, to the 18th-century fantasy of Colonial Williamsburg offer coherent landscapes for tourists.  Likewise, Florida has a long history of creating iconic structures that set the tone in many of its resort areas. The Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach, a massive, 1950s modern resort, recently garnered the #1 vote among a list of the top 100 buildings in Florida identified by the Florida division of the American Institute of Architects.  The Fontainebleau launched an entire style called “Miami Modern” that proved highly influential in both…

Revel Beach

Posted on April 6, 2012

Atlantic City is working hard to assure that its very name glitters, but a recent event shows how hard it can be to shape a city’s image. As reported in today’s Press of Atlantic City, the city council in the New Jersey tourist town recently discovered it had unwittingly approved rechristening part of the most famous stretch of sand on the Jersey Shore as “Revel Beach.” Revel, a new mega-resort, plans to open over Memorial Day weekend as a centerpiece in the much-awaited reinvention of a struggling seaside city. Don’t look for Parker Brothers to rename its iconic Atlantic City–based Monopoly place names anytime soon. The move has led to vows by the city never to allow another section of the municipal beachfront to be renamed…