Hotels of the Social Elite


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Daniel Odysseus

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Just curious... When the "social elite" stayed in London and Paris, what were some hotels that they stayed in?

Thanks!
-D.O.
 

Noel F. Jones

Member
May 14, 2002
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HOTEL CECIL, LONDON

From a Guardian 'retrospective':

"The Hotel Cecil, built 1890-96, stood on the Thames Embankment where Shell Mex House stands today. The Hotel Cecil was the largest hotel in London in its time, with 800 rooms, lavishly decorated by Maples, Waring (later to become Waring and Gillow) and Shoolbreds. It was especially popular with Americans and businessmen"

The Hotel Cecil stood right alongside the Savoy which it dwarfed by its size and more ornate presence.

I think it was demolished sometime in the 1930s

Noel
 
May 8, 2001
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Randy. Do you have any idea where they would have stayed here in California in 1912? Hotel Del Coronodo in San Diego maybe, but where else? My mind is drawing a blank. Seems like the Pasadena area was THE place to live, but to stay on a vacation??? Curious as to if they still exist.
 
Mar 20, 2000
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Hi Colleen,

Probabaly Los Angeles - not yet being "Hollywood" in the sense that we know it today - wasn't on the itinerary of the rich and famous until the 1920s. As you point out, San Diego's Hotel Del Coronado, the inspiration for the author of the book on which the film "Somewhere in Time" was based, was chic, but I believe in those days it was San Francisco that was the most fashionable destination in California.

The names of the old hotels there elude me though I should know them as I've read about the '06 quake/fire and recall that Enrico Caruso and other celebs who were in town were staying at one of the very fine hotels. Was there one called the Fairmount?

Lucile's sister Elinor Glyn first visited San Francisco in 1908 and she confided her impressions of that noble city to her memoirs "Romantic Adventure:"

"...The day after the ball I went with reporters to see the town of San Francisco. It had been wrecked by the earthquake and destroyed by fire only two years before and the ruins on Nobs Hill and in the town had not yet been rebuilt. I was absolutely astonished at the reporters, who seemed eager to tell me - a visting stranger - about the despicable graft on the part of building contactors which had been exposed by the shock. Great walls and columns, supposed to be solid, now showed that they were only shells filled with rubble. One would have thought that they would have been ashamed to point out the disgraceful dishonesty of the contractors - their own countrymen; but not at all. Their attitude was that it was darned hard luck on them being found out in this way by a dirty trick of nature!

There was something strangely sinister about the atmosphere of San Francisco, perhaps due to the earthquake, although the people themselves seemed charming..."

Perhaps someone better versed in the history of California can give us some info on accomodations favored by the "smart set."

Randy
 
Aug 29, 2000
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One of my favorite topics! Yes the Grand Hotel at Mackinac Island , the Del Coronado near San Diego, the Windsor and Fairmont in San Francisco, and of course the New Yok Plaza (now over 100 years old) were the places to stay. Those going South had Henry Flagler's impressive Breakers (burnt down but rebuilt)and of course the venerable old Pfister in downtown Milwaukee which boasts today the country's largest Victorian art collection on display in a hotel. Portly President Taft stayed here often, and was there the night the WWI Armistice was signed. It was also the first hotel to install a thermostat in each room! The art collection is worth a look- Pfister Hotel The Algonquin and St. Regis were hotspots for Manhattan -the Waldorf Astoria is still too young at 70 years. The famous Dakota was standing as a residential hotel. A great book on the subject of resort hotels- Cleveland Amory's The Last Resort. Plenty of inexpensive postcards around showing interiors ad exteriors and Dover Publications offers a tradepaperback on the subject at a good price.
 
May 8, 2001
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Checking out my local Big Bear history. Gold was discovered here in 1860.
The first hotel was built in 1888, after the dam was completed. Movies were made up here starting in 1914. It became an exclusive place to go in the 1920's and 30's.
FWIW. The second picture on the page provided is of the old rock dam. The new dam is 27 feet higher and built in the 1900's. The last time the old dam saw the light of day was in 1969. To date, the lake is so low you can see the big rock it is attacthed to (seen in the picture) at least several feet out of the water, and the dam is about 3 feet from breaking surface again.
The 3rd picture down. The old building in the background still stands today in the Village.
Neat old town...... if you know where to look for it.
 

John Clifford

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Mar 30, 1997
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At least one prestigious hotel, in the LA area is the Miramar Hotel, in Santa Monica. Many of the rich and famous stayed there. I do remember, one time, going to an event there, and seeing a "Picture Gallery" (my term).

The hotel is not far from the beach, which must have made for a pleasant thought of "being there", though the California incline might not have been built at that time. Still, the hotel might have made it a point to provide a stairway to the shore (nowadays there is a staircase and an ovehead walkway - over Pacific Coast Highway).

The hotel used to be run by Sheraton. Now it is owned by the Fairmont Group, the Canadian Pacific spin-off (they also run Canada's prestigious hotels: Chateaus Frontenac, Laurier, & Lake Louise, the Banff Springs, Manoir Richlieu, etc.).

John Clifford
 

John Clifford

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Mar 30, 1997
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I forgot to mention, in my last post: the Fairmont Group also owns San Francisco's Fairmont Hotel, as well as The Copley Plaza in Boston, and New York's Plaza Hotel, all of which have been "famously mentioned": The Copley Plaza was featured in an episode of "Sabrina the Teenage Witch", the Fairmont was used for the old TV series "Hotel" (where James Brolin had black hair, and Anne Baxter "imitated" her famous "Eve" role when she took over from Betty Davis), utilizing the front exterior and the rear glass elevator.

The Plaza, of course, was used for both "Big Business" (Bette and Lily) and "Home Alone 2", as well as others. There is also the children's book character "Eloise".

Fairmont Hotels was recently acquired by the Canadian Pacific Hotels group, which chose to keep the Fairmont name.

If any of these hotels were around before 1912, how many of the Titanic's first-class passengers might have stayed there. I also how many of them got the chance to stay at the Canadian hotels, too.

Perhaps some of the first-class passengers on the Empresses stayed overnight at the Chateau Frontenac before embarking on their voyages to Liverpool. That would make for a truly luxurious trip.

John Clifford
 
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Daniel Odysseus

Guest
Speaking of San Francisco hotels, was the Hotel St. Francis (now known as the Westin St. Francis) a prominent hotel at the time? I was there for a weekend, and it is a regal, elegant hotel... I'm not sure of the construction time (sometime between the Earthquake of 1906 and the start of WW1...)

-D.O.
 
Aug 29, 2000
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John- enjoyed your postings above- THS had a convention at the Copley in 1988 for their 25th anniversary. Also Marshall Drew and Jason Robards did a Raise the Titanic promotion there back in the 70's- great photos from that event. The lobby of the Copley still has mementos in a case from it. TIS had its convention in May this year at Charles Hays' Chateau Laurier- what a beauty. Here are a few photos which don't do it justice!
http://www.revdma2.com/chateau.html
 
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Camron Miller

Guest
I was reading recently that in Britain, upper-class visitors to Brighton took their holidays in the autumn and winter - the only reason being to distinguish themselves from the lower-class folk who took day trips to Brighton in the summer.
 
Jun 8, 2002
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Hello, Daniel, Randy, Noel, Colleen, Shelley, John and Camron!

In San Francisco, The Palace, near Union Square, now a Sheraton property, I believe, might have survived the earthquake. Perhaps it was rebuilt somewhat. It's an Edwardian gem, and when I was there years ago they held tea dances in the glass-domed Palm Court--with a real palm court orchestra. You've got to see this room to believe it--far better than the similar space at New York's Plaza. I don't know of another current S.F. hotel that pre-dates the earthquake, but the St. Francis, the Sir Francis Drake and the Fairmont are all grand, old edifices that would have been patronized by Titanic's First Class types. Later on, the Mark Hopkins and the Clift would have appealed.

In New York, the best Titanic-related hotel is, of course, the St. Regis, since the current Waldorf-Astoria dates from the early 30s. John Jacob Astor built this marvelously-restored hotel based on the European establishments he had often visited, and a copy of the well-known oil portrait of him by Bonnat hangs in the corridor that leads to the restaurant, "Lespinasse".

In Canada, the Chateau Frontenac and the Banff Springs Hotels exhisted in 1912, with the Laurier opening celebrations cancelled that year due to the death of Charles M. Hays.

The Brown Palace in Denver and the Adolphus in Dallas also exhisted in 1912. If any of you are ever in Dallas, take a look at The French Room at the Adolphus. Architectural eye candy!

How about the Jeckel(sp?)Island Club, the Peabody in Memphis, the Palmer House in Chicago and my favorite little pre-Titanic Western resort, The Lodge at Cloudcroft, NM?

This is another fun thread. Thanks, guys!

Best regards,
Doug
 
Mar 20, 2000
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Doug,

Love the French Room - or did in my greener days! I've always been tempted to order a spam burger, mac & cheese, and cool-aid there and watch how quickly the waiter passes out!

"Them's is some good - and pricey - vittles!" But well worth it just for the ambience.

Randy
 
Aug 29, 2000
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Couldn't resist a spam opportunity- apparently it was a Godsend in WWII as it need not be refrigerated. Invented as Spiced Hormel Ham-spam is a 1926 concoction wih quite a history- see the homepage for all the delicious details:
spamcrate.gif
 

Inger Sheil

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Feb 9, 1999
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And then there's the rather gorgeous Adelphi in Liverpool - although it has been remodelled quite extensively since the days when Murdoch drank with his colleagues at the bar. I stayed a couple of nights a few weeks ago, and most of the public rooms were well occupied. Enjoyed it rather more a few years ago when there was virtually no one there, and those vast, gilded, cavernous rooms were almost eerily empty. This time around I had a conversation around about midnight with some of the hotel staff in the bar - they shared a few of the ghost stories, told me about certain areas they avoid, about a police investigation of a certain room, and observed that the Adelphi certainly had a bit of King's 'Overlook' to it.
 
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John Meeks

Guest
Didn't the Adelphi once have the honour of being in the Guinness Book of Records for having the highest room count of any hotel in the world ?

John M
 

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