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Hotel Throwback: The Blackstone’s Luxe Upgrade

Posted by on July 3, 2017 in Hospitality, Projects | 3 comments

By Mary Beth Klatt

There has been much secrecy at the Blackstone Hotel in Chicago throughout its history. Republican leaders named Warren G. Harding as its presidential nominee there during a secret meeting (notable for introducing us to the concept of the smoke-filled room, also an aptly named suite at the hotel); gangster Al Capone got his haircut at the hotel barbershop tucked away from prying eyes; and John F. Kennedy quietly prepared at the hotel to negotiate the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.

Dual staircases in the Blackstone Hotel in Chicago.

Following the $139 million architectural restoration in 2008 by the Gettys Group, the firm was called on once again to lead the hotel’s multimillion-dollar renovation, which included updating original artwork, highlighting the early 21st-century glamour and craftsmanship of the original building, and incorporating technology with modern amenities and a contemporary design.

A modern guestroom with contemporary artwork above the beds.

Continue reading →

Hotel Flashback: A Boston Staple’s Rebirth

Posted by on March 29, 2017 in Projects, Uncategorized

By Mary Beth Klatt

President Calvin Coolidge was the first U.S. President to stay at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel, built in 1927. Formerly the Statler Hotel, part of E.M. Statler’s grassroots hotel chain initiated at the onset of the 20th century, all but two U.S. presidents have stayed there since. In its heyday, this “city within a city” triangular building, designed by architect George B. Post, was the tallest in town. It was also the most technologically advanced in the world, with radios in each guestroom and programming broadcast from a rooftop station.

A cozy public space at the Boston Park Plaza

Over the decades, the building began to look dated. The lobby was diminished when commercial real estate offices were carved out of the hotel’s podium, detracting from the building’s original grand entrance.

However, in 2016, Sudbury, Massachusetts-based Parker-Torres Design completed a $100 million renovation financed by Sunstone Hotel Investors. Continue reading →

HD’s 10 Most-Read Stories of the Year

Posted by on December 28, 2016 in Projects

With 2017 nearly upon us (please, will someone put our beloved celebrities—Betty White, Bill Murray, and Tom Hanks, I’m looking at you—in a bunker until January 1st), we’d like to take the opportunity to look back at the past year. Last week, we named our favorite HD moments, a very subjective survey of what made us happy. But this week, we turn to you, dear readers, to see what you liked.

Thanks to the internet, we know what stories and photos you’ve been clicking on throughout 2016. The consensus based on the numbers is you liked our restaurant coverage, something we’ll take into consideration as we plan for 2017.

Anyway, you don’t need me to give long explanations about user data (I’m not a scientist). Here are our top 10 most-read stories on hospitalitydesign.com.

1. Earls Kitchen + Bar, Tysons Corner, Virginia
Architecture firm: MBH Architects
Description: An indoor-outdoor aesthetic is the focal point of the eatery with materials like concrete, wood, and steel mixing with upholstered and leather chairs in gray tones; marine-hued pieces add a pop of color. Continue reading →

A Fall Getaway

Posted by on November 22, 2016 in Projects

By Stacy Shoemaker Rauen

With Thanksgiving this week I was thinking back on what I was grateful for, and a weekend away in October came to mind.

Leaf peeping, for one. It’s a thing—really—with sightseeing trains and all. I wasn’t aware of this trend, which is why I was surprised when my friends and I wanted to do a girls’ weekend last month, and found every hotel in Upstate New York and Connecticut booked. I guess we city-dwellers crave pumpkin and apple picking, fall colors, and just some fresh air.

The entrance to the Emerson spa

Designer Rosalyn Cama led the Emerson’s $6 million renovation

We didn’t care as much about the leaves (even though they were a nice bonus): We were looking for a spa, hiking, and some good laughs. We discovered everything we wanted at the Emerson Resort & Spa in Mt. Tremper, New York. I grew up in northern New Jersey, and I never ventured much to upstate New York—we had all the leaves and pumpkins and farms you need, so I wasn’t aware of the Emerson. Continue reading →

The Sheraton Grand Park Lane Gets a Lift

Posted by on October 20, 2016 in Projects

My recent visit to London yielded many things—trips to quite possibly a million museums, a play about a bank robbery where the British actors mimicked Southern and Midwestern accents, a glimpse of the Queen (not really, but our cabbie informed us when the Royal Standard is flying at Buckingham Palace it means she’s home, so close enough).

The exterior of the Sheraton Grand London Park Lane Hotel on Picadilly Street.

The exterior of the Sheraton Grand London Park Lane Hotel on Piccadilly Street.

But a definite highlight was a stop at the Sheraton Grand London Park Lane, an Art Deco stalwart located in Mayfair facing Green Park from Buckingham Palace. The former Park Lane Hotel, which originally opened in 1927, is celebrating its upcoming 90th birthday with a multimillion-dollar upgrade from local firm MKV Design. Construction of the building, intended as apartments, first started before World War I but was abandoned due to financing.

Dubbed the Birdcage by Londoners because all that stood on the site for many years was the structure’s steel frame, the hotel’s now-restored Palm Court lounge—complete with new furnishings and a stunning stained glass ceiling—hosts its Birdcage Afternoon Tea (that most venerable of British traditions), in homage to the moniker. Continue reading →