Hamilton Crown Plaza Hotel in Washington DC: Offering Guests the Ultimate in Convenience and Amenities

Washington DC has always had a bustling nature to it, attracting visitors from everywhere to this US capital. In particular, Franklin Square is especially popular among tourists and locals alike, with such attractions as the four-storey Second Empire Hotel built back in 1877. At this site one will find the infamous Franklin School, which is the site where Alexander Graham Bell’s first wireless transmission originated back in the year 1880. Considering such vibrance, this area quickly became the center of business and theater action.

The Hamilton Crowne Plaza Hotel was erected in 1921, which was designed by famed architect Jules Henri de Sibour, who designed a host of other famous and impressive Washington structures and buildings in the US capital. In the 1930′s and 1940′s, the Hamilton Hotel was quite popular, and hosted a number of notable events, including Franklin D. Roosevelt’s inaugural balls.

Unfortunately, the prosperity of the surrounding area declined rapidly despite having such success in the years prior. As such, the popularity and integrity of the Hamilton Hotel suffered as well, and was eventually sold to the Salvation Army in the 1970′s where it then became used as part of a site for the Evangeline Home for Girls for a little while. A few years later, the hotel was again sold and reincarnated as a commercial and office building, housing a number of offices and businesses.

Thankfully, it was soon revitalized again, and still stands today as one of the four remaining Jules Henri de Sibour buildings in Washington DC.

Although the Hamilton Crowne Plaza Hotel went through a few years of decline, its rich history coupled with its revitalization brought back its magnificent stature and popularity which still stands today. Thanks to its central location in Franklin Square, the hotel is local to everything, making it the ideal place to rest one’s head as they make their way all over the glorious city of Washington DC. Whether traveling for business or leisure, the Crowne Plaza Hotel marks a top destination for convenient and luxury accommodations.

The famous hotel in the capital of the US was recently renovated in early 2013 in an effort to combine both the traditional aura of the original hotel’s architecture with high-end amenities and high-tech conveniences, making it truly the ideal place for business travelers. The original 1920′s Beaux Arts-style arched ceiling was fully restored with gold-gilt paint, and the lobby was newly redesigned using a gorgeous palate, using historic maps and 1920′s photos as its decor. The lounge was also expanded, and the guest rooms and suites were refurnished to include up-to-date pieces.

The in-house cafe boasts fabulous views of the tree-shaded K St and Franklin Square. Guests can benefit from the extremely close proximity of the Crowne Plaza Hotel to Washington’s convention center, which is only four blocks away. The Hamilton Hotel is also easily accessible to the Metro system, with a huge 12,000 sq.ft. conference center right next to it.

Guests will be sure to get the feel of a small-sized, quaint and comfortable hotel with the grandeur of spectacular finishes and amenities. The intricately carved ceilings in the lobby simply cannot be imitated, and the hotel’s accents are a far cry from the typical bland, neutral decor of most chain hotels. Rarely will you see large glazed Chinese urns in other hotels as you’ll be able to marvel at the Hamilton Crowne Plaza.

All 318 rooms mix gorgeous blue hues with stunning woods. The bathrooms and tubs are made mostly with impressive marble, and many suites feature amenities that are geared toward pleasing the female traveler, such as lit-up makeup mirrors.

For those requiring a little more personal service, the Club Level provides private concierge services, as well as private elevators, complimentary breakfast, cocktails and desserts. If you are in need of an extra good night’s sleep, you can always opt for the Crowne Plaza Sleep Advantage rooms that are lined with plush, comfortable, seven-layer bedding and sleep amenities.

Washington DC is certainly one of the most impressive and fabulous cities in the country. When visiting this US capital, the Hamilton Crowne Plaza Hotel will offer guests excellent service, superb amenities and the ultimate in convenience as far as location is concerned. Staying at this historic hotel will certainly not be a disappointing venture.

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Step Back in Time at Iconic Chicago Jazz Lounge, The Green Mill

If you’re looking for authentic jazz music in a historic setting as you enjoy your favorite cocktail, then the Green Mill Cocktail Lounge in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood is the place to be. Those who frequent the lounge swear that it’s the best jazz club in the known universe.

The Green Mill opened its doors over 100 years ago in 1907 by Pop Morse. The place was known then as ‘Pop Morse’s Gardens’, or alternatively, ‘Pop Morse’s Roadhouse’. The establishment’s sunken beer garden was a big attraction for Chicogans who either lived in the vicinity or visited from other Chicago neighborhoods. In 1910, entrepreneur Tom Chamales bought the place, and renamed it the “Green Mill Gardens”. Inspired by the Moulin Rouge (‘Red Mill’) in Paris, the Green Mill transformed to include outdoor dancing, musical entertainment, an enlarged sunken beer garden and a newly installed “Rhumba Room”.

In those early days, Uptown Chicago was known as “Hollywood By the Lake”, and the Green Mill lounge actually spanned an entire block. Celebrities like Charlie Chaplin would often grace the establishment with his appearance after working at a nearby film studio just down the block. Musical performers like Joe E. Lewis, Billie Holiday and Benny Goodman would regularly perform for the crowd.

During the Prohibition era, the Green Mill became an increasingly popular hangout for gangsters of that time, including Al Capone himself. In those days, the mob actually held some stake in the club, making it the obvious choice for big mobsters to hang out. Even though Capone owned a basement speakeasy across the street, he actually preferred the Green Mill instead because of its open operation.

Whenever Capone would enter the lounge, the bandleader would stop whatever they were playing, and go right into Capone’s favorite tune, “Rhapsody in Blue”. Sliding into his favorite seat in the booth at the end of the bar closest to one of the bar’s side doors, the gangster had a bird’s eye view of everyone who would walk into the establishment.

After some trying times in Chicago in the early days of the establishment’s operation, the Green Mill was eventually bought by the Batsis Brothers in 1942 who ran the place until the 60′s. Many artifacts including in the lounge’s decor are a legacy to these brothers. In that time, many other legendary figures, such as Frank Sinatra, would frequent the Green Mill to enjoy some hospitality, cocktails and great live music.

The neighborhood of Uptown started to decline in the early 1940′s, thanks in part to the increase in local drug dealers and pimps that began to infest the area. Unfortunately, the new owner of the Green Mill, Steve Brend, who purchased the club in the 1960′s, wasn’t able to get the club off the ground. A methadone clinic even opened up next door, causing the patrons frequenting the lounge to decline in status, and eventually bring the club into a deteriorated state.

After being purchased in 1986 by the current owner, Dave Jemilo, the Green Mill was rehabilitated and brought back to life. It was Dave who infused his love and passion for quality jazz music who made the lounge what it is today. Since the rehabilitation of the legendary lounge, the Green Mill has been attracting some of the most notable jazz musicians in the country, including the likes of Jimmy Sutton’s Four Charms, the Alan Gresik Swing Shift Orchestra and the Mighty Blue Kings, who actually got their big break into the jazz music industry thanks to the Green Mill. Live music has been playing at the Green Mill every night since 1942, including such music genres as piano, blues, big band orchestras, swing bands, and of course, jazz.

When you step foot in the Green Mill on any given night, you will seemingly be taken back in time to the 1940′s era. Decorated in a predominantly art deco style, the Green Mill is lined with wooden-framed murals, gold velvet seats, white tablecloths, and a bright neon green sign bearing the club’s name that infuses green light throughout the space.

In addition to fabulous music, the Green Mill is also the site of Sunday night Poetry slams, where amateur poets attempt to perform modern slam poetry. After contestants have competed, a panel of judges selects the winner, who is then awarded a prize.

The Green Mill Cocktail and Jazz Lounge is most certainly a rich piece of Chicago history. It has been the site of numerous films, including ‘The Untouchables’, ‘High Fidelity’ and ‘Ocean’s Twelve’. With all the notable characters that have frequented the place, and the famous stories of the happenings behind these four walls, the Green Mill makes for an intriguing evening spent in the timeless 1940′s style.

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America’s Oldest Family-Run Restaurant: Antoine’s Restaurant in New Orleans

Talk about running with the family business and making it work. Antoine’s has been serving local patrons and tourists for almost two centuries, first opening it’s doors in the French Quarter of New Orleans way back in 1840. In fact, Antoine’s is the oldest family-run restaurant in all of the US.

Young Antoine Alciatore adopted this city after two unsuccessful years trying to make it in tough New York City. After some frustration, young Antoine decided to move to New Orleans and try his hand at establishing a restaurant that would carry on generation after generation within his family’s circle and under their direction. So successful did Antoine’s become that the restaurant has become known as the industry standard, and has helped make New Orleans one of the greatest dining hubs across the globe.

Choosing to set roots in the French Quarter was one of the best decisions Antoine made – the audience of notable aristocrats was the perfect bunch for the young chef’s culinary creativity and uniqueness. Today, the name “Antoine’s” has simply become synonymous with delectable cuisine.

The tempting aromas coming from Antoine’s kitchen eventually drew crowds to the establishment. Soon, the space proved to be too small to accommodate the ever-growing number of patrons who came to accept the restaurant as one of the greatest in town. As such, Antoine’s moved down the block, then eventually to the current St. Louis Street location in 1868, where it still stands today.

After Antoine’s passing in the late 1800′s, his wife and son Jules began a role of great importance in keeping the establishment going, and continuing to serve patrons with the same caliber of food they had come to know while Antoine still reigned supreme. For six years, Jules worked as an apprentice under the guidance of his mother before he headed to France to gain some valuable experience in notable kitchens in Paris, Marseilles and Strassburg. After gaining much knowledge and experience, he returned to Antoine’s after a brief stint with the famous Pickwick Club.

It was Jules who came up with the delicious Oysters Rockefeller, which is still part of the menu today and is well-guarded against imitators. Though there have been copycats a number of times, these other versions could never come close to the culinary genius of the original recipe.

Roy Louis Alciatore, Jules’ son, took over the reigns after his father’s passing. Roy spearheaded the restaurant for 40 years until his eventual passing in 1972. Even during some of the most challenging and tough years, such as World War II and the Prohibition era, the restaurant still stood strong, indicating the value that the restaurant continued to provide to its loyal patrons.

The contributions made by Roy Louis are still evident today, with the artifacts in the fashionable private dining room affectionately dubbed the “1840 Room”. In this room patrons will find a museum of treasures, including an old cookbook from Paris that was published in 1659.

The sons of Roy Louis’ sister Marie Louise eventually took over the restaurant, becoming the the fourth generation of the Alciatore family to run the famous restaurant. The Guste boys – who’s surname comes from their father, William Guste – ran the restaurant for the family, and Roy’s son, Roy Jr., eventually became proprietor from 1975 to 1984. William’s son, Bernard Guste, took over afterwards, and still runs the restaurant today.

Over the decades, renovations have taken place to keep the structural integrity in place, and to ensure a comfortable atmosphere that was as pleasing on the eyes as the food is to the palette. Though certain changes have been made, the main dining room at the restaurant is just as it was back in 1951 when the last major overhaul took place. The decorative gas chandeliers that are still hanging were used in those times as a source of heat rather than decor. The kitchen is also as it was in 1951, with the ancient coal burning stoves still in operation, though their functionality has been enhanced.

So popular is Antoine’s that a number of notable figures and celebrities have had the pleasure of dining here over the years. People like Franklin Roosevelt, Bob Hope, Bing Crosby and even Pope John Paul II have dined here in the past!

Considering how successful the Alciatore-Guste family has been at keeping the restaurant at the forefront – and keeping family only in charge – the years ahead seem to tell a story of continued success. It’s clear that the spirit of Antoine and his descendants lives on in the restaurant, providing fabulous dishes, friendly hospitality and an element of ‘magic’ in a way that seems timeless.

Posted in Food & Drink, Restaurant

The Beverly Hills Hotel: A Historical Hollywood Landmark

The infamous Beverly Hills Hotel – affectionately known as “The Pink Palace” – opened its doors on May 12, 1912, before Beverly Hills was even named a city. As the clan of Hollywood figures started moving into the Beverly Hills area, the Sunset Boulevard hotel quickly became prime real estate, and the first stop for A-listers of that time. The city basically grew up around the hotel.

So popular did the Beverly Hills Hotel became, that it is simply known affectionately by locals and celebrities as “The Hotel”. Since the inception of the Californian city, the iconic hotel has been a central meeting spot for both affluent residents, as well as business people – in particular, those from the film and television industries.

Patrons who walk into the Beverly Hills Hotel will immediately get a sense of the history of this iconic hotel, with its roots deeply embedded in old Hollywood. Over the years, the historic hotel has been extensively renovated, keeping up with modern conveniences while preserving the old Hollywood charm that has made the hotel an infamous landmark.

The Beverly Hills Hotel has been a favorite among big celebrities for good reason. The hotel provides these famous A-listers with all the privacy and conveniences one could ask for. Fully equipped with various specialty suites and bungalows with private entrances, this hotel makes it easy for celebs to escape the flashes of paparazzi cameras, if only for a little while.

Some of the more historic rooms, like the Paul Williams Suite, are preserved and have been immaculately restored to its former glory. The 2500 sq.ft. Presidential Suite comes fully equipped with a private entrance, a full kitchen, a Jacuzzi bath tub with his and hers shower stalls, and even a personal chef and butler available around the clock.

Each of the 21 bungalows featured at this historic hotel are like separate homes full of amenities such as separate entrances, kitchens, living rooms, dining rooms, fireplaces, and luxury finishes such as marble and granite. Staying at one of these luxurious bungalows will tell their own stories, with Hollywood legends like Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor both having frequented these bungalows numerous times over their reign in TinselTown.

The popularity of the hotel escalated very quickly over the years, with high profile guests such as the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, John Wayne and Henry Fonda being some of the more famous patrons. Howard Hughes actually lived at the hotel sporadically over a 30 year period, and Elizabeth Taylor’s father had an art gallery on the hotel’s lower level. Hotel management opened up the pool after hours for the exclusive use of The Beatles, and The Eagles’ famous cover song “Hotel California” is based on this historic landmark.

Other infamous figures who called this place home for a short time include Richard Burton, John F. Kennedy, Aristotle Onassis, Spencer Tracy, Rudolph Valentino, Richard Pryor and Warren Beatty. The hotel has also been the location for a number of Hollywood flicks, including “The Way We Were” with Robert Redford and Barbra Streisand, “American Gigolo” with Richard Gere, and “California Suite” with Jane Fonda and Alan Alda. Many big events and parties have been held here, including the post-Oscar party in 1998, Elton John’s 55th birthday bash in 2002, and the pre-Grammy party in 1999.

The world-famous Polo Lounge restaurant has been a watering hole for A-listers since it first opened its doors. Legends like Paul McCartney, Frank Sinatra and Michael Jackson have all dined here, and the hot spot continues to be frequented by today’s hottest celebs.

The infamous hotel where the most legendary Hollywood celebrities frolicked has now earned the honor of being named Beverly Hills’ first official Historic Landmark. As the hotel celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2012, a celebration took place on September 12, 2012 to mark this notable distinction with a time capsule from 1993 unveiled. Time-encapsuled artifacts were revealed, including a cigar from Milton Berle and a drawing by Tony Curtis on a napkin taken from the Polo Lounge.

The Beverly Hills Hotel represents the perfect example of hospitality real estate being opened in a prime location at the right moment in time. Being situated in the heart of what would soon become the center of Hollywood, and being the first hotel of its kind to offer luxurious amenities, the Beverly Hills Hotel was destined to become extremely successful in it industry. To this day, the hotel continues to be the destination of choice for those looking for a little R&R, or even those who simply want to be part of Hollywood history.

Posted in Retail

McSorley’s Ale House: Rich History in New York City

One of the oldest and most historic bars in New York City is McSorley’s Ale House, which has been serving up traditional ale since it first opened its doors back in 1854. Located in the East Village of Manhattan at 15 East 7th Street, this old “Irish” bar is perhaps the most famous of the old historic bars in the Big Apple.

In 1854, Irish immigrant John McSorley opened up McSorley’s Ale House as a place for his men-only clientele to get together for some god old fashioned male bonding. McSorley’s was the last of the known “Men’s Only” bars, officially opening its doors to women only after the establishment was forced to allow female patrons after legally being forced to do so in 1970. In fact, the legal sanction to finally allow women to barge down the doors to this historical “men’s only” pub is probably what McSorley’s is most famous for. Female patrons were said to have come “kicking and screaming” back in 1970.

On August 10th of that year, the National Organization for Women lawyers Faith Seidenberg and Karen DeCrow brought forth a discrimination case against McSorley’s to District Court and won their case. After that ruling, the bathroom became unisex. Sixteen years later, after much battling, a ladies room was finally installed.

The incredible reputation and history behind this bar completely overshadows its modest decor. All you’ll get is good ale, good company, and memorabilia hung all over the walls showcasing all the events that have taken place there over almost two centuries. The artwork is aged, with sawdust floors and old newspaper clippings hung on the walls. The small space has hardly been touched, with all the memorabilia never having been removed from the walls since 1910. Plan on sparking up some entertaining and enlightening conversation with your buddies for entertainment and audible amusement, as no music or TV’s exist at this NYC watering hole.

If you plan on ordering the house-brand ale, be prepared to get served two mugs – one with dark ale and one with light. Order one mug, and you’ll get two; order two mugs, and you’ll get four….Those who frequent the joint say they both taste identical, especially if your guzzle them down with your eyes closed. The two-toned ales are simply part of a rich tradition that McSorley’s has brought to the NYC pub scene way back when. One of the mottos of this pub that has stuck for years is “Be Good Or Be Gone”, though after sucking back on 20 or 30 mugs of the good stuff, it might be a bit tough to take heed of these signs and sayings.

The second of the two mottos adopted by McSorley’s is, “We were here before you were born”, paying homage to all the patrons past who have frequented the place for almost two centuries. However, the motto that was uttered repeatedly before women were allowed in back in 1970 was “Good Ale, Raw Onions and No Ladies”. For obvious reasons, the motto has since been changed.

There is no extensive menu at McSorley’s – instead of peanuts or pretzels to accompany your beer, you’ll get to taste the cheese and onion plate, which simply consists of a huge slice of raw onion paired with a massive chunk of cheddar. Though not necessarily ‘gourmet’ or ‘trendy’ in nature, you’ll seemingly gain some testosterone after wrestling that dish down. Despite the potent aroma of split ale filling the room, the smell coming from one simple dish is simply overpowering, and the perfect dish to pair with a good old fashioned mug of ale.

If you’re one to sample traditional old fare, then you’re in luck – McSorley’s is probably the last place in NYC to find a liverwurst sandwich on the menu. If, however, you’re not really into pasty meat by-products, you’ll also have the option to choose a cup of soup or hamburger. It’s not the most extensive menu you’ll find in the city, but it simply works for the aura that surrounds patrons as they “dine” on typical pub fare and pound back the beer.

McSorley’s has been the site of many famous and notable figures, including Abraham Lincoln, Babe Ruth, Teddy Roosevelt, Paul Blabkburn, Peter Cooper, Stuart Davis and George Jean Nathan. After the New York Rangers won the Stanley Cup back in 1994, they took their celebrations to the infamous McSorley’s, and even drank beer from the trophy. Famous poet by the name of E.E. Cummings wrote a poem about the popular McSorley’s Ale House, which he entitled, “I Was Sitting in McSorley’s” where he describes the place as a “SnuganDevil”.

Thanks to the rich history of McSorley’s Ale House, the place gets packed pretty quickly, though it’s definitely worth the wait to get in.

Posted in Food & Drink, Restaurant
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