2018 Historic Hotel Nominations Announced as Market Wants History

Union Station Nashville Hotel, photo by Don Sniegowski
Hotel history

Historic Hotels Worldwide yesterday announced finalists for its 2018 Awards of Excellence. The awards aim to recognize and celebrate the finest historic hotels and hoteliers, The winners, which are voted on by a committee, will be announced on the evening of November 1 in a ceremony at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs.

“The nominee finalists exemplify the finest historic hotels and hoteliers from the across the United States and from around the world,” said Lawrence Horwitz, executive director of Historic Hotels Worldwide.

Historic Hotels is the official program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. It aims to promote travel to historic treasures, of which some 300 hotels are registered.

Market wants to engage in history

Hotel historian and author Stan Turkel calls these hotels, “a unique and significant brand identification, as unique as any franchise.”  Turkel stipulates that these historic hotels are important for industry insiders to understand given some critical consumer trends. He first points out the Airbnb phenomenon that is impacting the hospitality industry, including franchisees. Airbnb is an online marketplace to book short-term homestays and lodging. The San Francisco-company has built a brokerage that has linked 300 million check-ins in over 5 million listings in 191 countries.

“The Airbnb phenomenon proves that there are many guests who are looking for unexpected hotel-like experiences. If the unique Historic Hotels of America were marketed as OK HIP HOP (One of a Kind Historic Places & Hotel Priority), they would attract many Airbnb customers,” states Turkel.

Turkel, author of Great American Hoteliers, is critical of the roll out of so many new brands of late by hotel franchisors, which he calls “the uneconomic proliferation of hotel brands.” The hotel consultant thinks the creation of so many new brands by major hospitality franchisors have confused traveling consumers. “The mindless and unbusinesslike proliferation of new hotel brands provide Historic Hotels with an extraordinary opportunity,” says Turkel. “Since guests cannot identify with the new names and their differing levels of service and amenities, Historic Hotels Worldwide can become the best marketing opportunity available to adventurous guests.They could be made aware via creative promotional ideas of the wonderful and unique hotel accommodations available in the Historic Hotels' system."

Wide Variety of Nominations

It is not easy to be registered as a historic hotel and to be nominated. The nominated hotels must be 75 years or older and significant to the history and the area. Still, there is a wide variety of nominations. Finalists include boutique hotels such as the independent Brown Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky to members associated with chain hotels such as Marriott International’s Union Station Hotel in Nashville or Hilton Chicago. There is a category for historic resorts too. That’s a category that the Mohonk Mountain House in New York, built in 1869, has been nominated. There is also an award for best historic restaurant.

From over 200 nominations, the 2018 finalists are listed below by award category:

40330847651_ff92a4a066.jpgBest Social Media of a Historic Hotel

  • Ledges Hotel (1890) Hawley, Pennsylvania
  • Union Station Hotel Nashville, Autograph Collection (1900) Nashville, Tennessee
  • The Otesaga Hotel and Cooper Inn (1909) Cooperstown, New York
  • Historic Hotel Bethlehem (1922) Pennsylvania
  • The Brown Hotel (1923) Louisville, Kentucky
  • Mauna Kea Beach Hotel (1965) Kohala Coast, Hawaii

Sustainability Champion

  • Airlie (1892) Warrenton, Virginia
  • Hotel Congress (1919) Tucson, Arizona
  • La Fonda (1922) Santa Fe, New Mexico
  • Omni San Francisco Hotel (1926) San Francisco, California
  • The Inn at Death Valley (1927) Death Valley, California
  • Mauna Kea Beach Hotel (1965) Kohala Coast, Hawaii

Best Small Historic Inn/Hotel (Under 75 Guestrooms)

  • El Convento Hotel (1651) San Juan, Puerto Rico
  • Glasbern (1787) Fogelsville, Pennsylvania
  • Castle Hotel & Spa (1910) Tarrytown, New York
  • Benbow Inn (1926) Garberville, California
  • The Berkeley City Club (1930) Berkeley, California
  • Williamsburg Inn (1937) Williamsburg, Virginia

Best Historic Hotel (76-200 Guestrooms)

  • Beekman Arms and Delamater Inn (1766) Rhinebeck, New York
  • Union Station Hotel Nashville, Autograph Collection (1900) Nashville, Tennessee
  • Historic Hotel Bethlehem (1922) Pennsylvania
  • La Fonda (1922) Santa Fe, New Mexico
  • The Cavalier (1927) Virginia Beach, Virginia
  • The King and Prince Beach and Golf Resort (1935) St. Simons Island, Georgia

Best Historic Hotel (201-400 Guestrooms)

  • The Willard InterContinental, Washington, DC (1818)
  • Capital Hotel (1873) Little Rock, Arkansas
  • The Pfister (1893) Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • The Brown Hotel (1923) Louisville, Kentucky
  • Hotel Viking (1926) Newport, Rhode Island
  • The Wigwam (1929) Litchfield Park, Arizona

Best Historic Hotel (Over 400 Guestrooms)

  • Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa (1901) Honolulu, Hawaii
  • The Fairmont Hotel San Francisco (1907) California
  • The Mayflower Hotel, Autograph Collection (1925) Washington, DC
  • Hilton Chicago (1927) Chicago, Illinois
  • Lord Baltimore Hotel (1928) Baltimore, Maryland
  • Hotel Captain Cook (1964) Anchorage, Alaska

Best City Center Historic Hotel

  • Palmer House, A Hilton Hotel (1871) Chicago, Illinois
  • The Jefferson Hotel (1895) Richmond, Virginia
  • The Bellevue Hotel (1904) Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Utica (1912) Utica, New York
  • Omni Shoreham Hotel, Washington, DC (1930)
  • Hotel Phillips Kansas City, Curio Collection by Hilton (1931) Kansas City, Missouri

Best Historic Resort

  • The Buccaneer (1653) St. Croix, US Virgin Islands
  • Mohonk Mountain House (1869) New Paltz, New York
  • Hotel del Coronado (1887) Coronado, California
  • The American Club (1918) Kohler, Wisconsin
  • The Wigwam (1929) Litchfield Park, Arizona
  • The Hotel Hershey (1933) Hershey, Pennsylvania

Hotel Historian of the Year

  • Susan Wilson at Omni Parker House, Boston (1855) Massachusetts
  • Larry Johnson at The Seelbach Hilton (1905) Louisville, Kentucky
  • Teresa Porter at Benbow Inn (1926) Garberville, California
  • Sarah Gill at The Berkeley City Club (1930) Berkeley, California
  • Patrick Denis Murphy at Morris Inn at Notre Dame (1952) South Bend, Indiana
  • Brian Kelleher at Capital Hilton (1943) Washington, DC

Best Historic Restaurant in Conjunction with a Historic Hotel

  • TÈ at The Inn at Leola Village, Est. 1867 Leola, Pennsylvania
  • Chez Philippe at The Peabody Memphis (1869) Memphis, Tennessee
  • Grand Dining Room at Jekyll Island Club Resort (1887) Jekyll Island, Georgia
  • Woods Restaurant at Grand Hotel (1887) Mackinac Island, Michigan
  • Murray Circle at Cavallo Point (1901) Sausalito, California
  • Immigrant Restaurant at The American Club (1918) Kohler, Wisconsin

Legendary Family Historic Hoteliers of the Year

  • The Belz family at The Peabody Memphis (1869) Memphis, Tennessee
  • The Beach family at Basin Harbor Club (1886) Vergennes, Vermont
  • The Monteleone family at Hotel Monteleone (1886) New Orleans, Louisiana
  • The Boughton family at The Colony Hotel (1872) Kennebunkport, Maine
  • The Kohler family at The American Club (1918) Kohler, Wisconsin
  • The Oseran family Hotel Congress (1919) Tucson, Arizona

Historic Hotelier of the Year

  • Jack Moyer at 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa Eureka Springs, Arkansas
  • Linn Lesesne at Wentworth Mansion (1886) Charleston, South Carolina
  • Kenneth Hayward at Grand Hotel (1887) Mackinac Island, Michigan
  • Patty Henning at Jekyll Island Club Resort (1887) Jekyll Island, Georgia
  • David Tamulevich at Portland Regency Hotel & Spa (1895) Portland, Maine
  • Susan Anselona at Radisson Martinique on Broadway (1896) New York, New York

Steward of History and Historic Preservation

  • Andrew Todd at Xanterra Travel Collection
  • Oliver Carr at The Willard InterContinental, Washington, DC (1818)
  • John Murtha at Omni Parker House, Boston (1855) Massachusetts
  • Herbert V. Kohler, Jr. at The American Club (1918) Kohler, Wisconsin
  • Gary Melius at Oheka Castle (1919) Huntington, New York
  • Birney and Marie Dempcy at Mayflower Park Hotel (1927) Seattle, Washington

Historic Hotels of America New Member of the Year

  • Antrim 1844 Taneytown, Maryland
  • The Stagecoach Inn (1852) Salado, Texas
  • The Lodge at the Presidio (1895) San Francisco, California
  • The Bellevue Hotel (1904) Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Hotel Skyler Syracuse, Tapestry Collection by Hilton (1921) Syracuse, New York
  • The Statler (1956) Dallas, Texas

The association also listed finalists for best historic hotels in Asia, Europe and the Americas.

“We applaud the dedication and passion of the thousands of individuals working at these iconic and legendary hotels that keep the stories alive from the past and make staying or celebrating special occasions at these historic hotels memorable experiences,” said Historic Hotels’ executive director, Lawrence Horwitz.


Top photo of nominee Union Station Hotel Nashville(1900) and side photo is of the Brown Hotel, Louisville. Photos by Don Sniegowski
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Don Sniegowski