bronze elevator doors
at the Jumeirah Essex
House in New York City
intricately engraved, bronze elevator doors inside New
York City’s Jumeirah Essex House gleam as if new, although they’ve
opened to guests since 1931. Across the country at the Hotel
Colorado, in Glenwood Springs, the illustrious halls of a
century-old castle betray a feeling, nearly palpable, that past
presidents and dignitaries once dined within them.
Such is the craftsmanship and singular
design of a former age, present and well preserved within a group
of 213 nationally recognized, historically relevant properties
designated as Historic Hotels of America by the National Trust for
Historic Preservation. All are enriched by finely maintained
architecture, tales of former patrons and amenities to accommodate
today’s business needs.
To be welcomed into the group, the
properties must offer full-service amenities; be located within a
structure that is more than 50 years old; and be listed in or
eligible for the National Register of Historic Places, or
acknowledged by the community as historically significant.
Featured below are the six newest
additions to the Historic Hotels family. The collection is an
exceedingly broad cross-section of American cultural history,
ranging from a 200-year-old former cattle ranch to an Italian-style
luxury villa for 20th-century America’s social elite.
The Colcord Hotel
Oklahoma City, Okla.
(405) 601-4300; www.colcordhotel.com
It is difficult to imagine that the
thick slabs of black and white marble blanketing the walls of the
Colcord lobby were confined to an office building since the hotel
opened its doors in 1910. The property was, in fact, originally
designed and conceived as a hotel, but after architect Charles
Francis Colcord and his business partner parted ways shortly before
its opening, it was unveiled as an office building. Today, in the
wake of a multimillion-dollar renovation, the structure’s
century-old marble has been cut, cleaned and reshaped, and the
building’s original purpose as a full-service hotel literally has
Despite having the distinction of being
Oklahoma’s first skyscraper, the 108-room boutique property offers
amenities that disguise this legacy. Fitness and business centers
are available, as well as a brand new lower-level cocktail lounge
for the hip, after-hours crowd. The Colcord offers its own
restaurant, the Soleil. The defining feature of the upscale eatery
is the Oyster Bar, which, due to numerous requests from members of
the community, was fashioned in the image of the building’s popular
1950s original. Two meeting rooms, totaling 1,800 square feet of
space, and more than 4,900 square feet of prefunction and event
space are available.
Downtown Oklahoma City is clearly
enjoying a renaissance, and the Colcord Hotel is in the center of
it. The 17-acre Myriad Botanical Gardens, the Ford Event Center
sporting complex and Bricktown, Oklahoma City’s trendy
entertainment district, are all within yards of the hotel’s
High style: The recently
restored lobby lounge
of the Skirvin Hilton,
The Skirvin Hilton
Oklahoma City, Okla.
(405) 272-3040; www.hilton.com
The expansive architecture of the
225-room Skirvin Hilton, Oklahoma City’s original grande dame,
calls to mind the wide-open spaces of the southwestern plains.
Equally impressive is the 1911 hotel’s extensive restoration and
revival as the city’s focal point for social gatherings. The
unrivaled gem of the property’s recent $55 million
renovation is the 14th-floor Venetian Room, named for its Italian
renaissance decor. The black mahogany wood paneling throughout and
the Italian plaster moldings of its barrel ceiling have been
carefully restored, and windows on all four sides of the room offer
views of the Oklahoma City skyline. Once a popular spot for big
band music and dancing, the Venetian Room attracted well-known
musicians such as Johnnie Johnson and Charlie Straight, and also
has received presidential visits from Harry Truman, Dwight D.
Eisenhower and Gerald Ford.
The property’s 18,500 square feet of
meeting space includes two high-
ceilinged ballrooms accommodating 230 and 670 guests, respectively;
the 2,600-square-foot Vene-tian Room, which seats 175; the
1,444-square-foot Continental Room seating 110, and three lounge
areas. Elegant meeting facilities are complemented with broadband
access, a high-tech business center, a health club and a signature
The Skirvin’s central location gives
attendees full access to Oklahoma City’s bustling downtown
district. Alternatively, attendees may take a break from the urbane
and experience a taste of the Old West at the nearby National
Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum.