While we love a glossy new hotel, there’s something indescribably special about staying in a gorgeous historic property. Capturing that je ne sais quoi is no small feat, so to maintain it for 100 years is downright impressive. But even with the near-impossible challenge of consistently keeping high standards, three time-tested beauties are celebrating centennials this year. Here’s a look at what they’re doing to mark the occasion:
Opened as the Huntington Hotel in 1914, this Southern California mainstay made its name on impeccable service for the vacationing dinner-and-dancing set during the Roaring Twenties. (The Langham Hospitality Group bought the property and reopened it in 2008, spending millions to improve and renovate the hotel, spa and dining facilities.) All year long the Pasadena hotel is ushering in its anniversary with unique packages, experiences and events, including a Celebrate a Century promotion that includes a $100 resort credit, two 100th anniversary cocktails at The Tap Room and a historical map so you can tour the property on your own. There will also be $100 historic cognac tastings, a 100-year anniversary tea on June 10, a Facebook photo contest and an over-the-top marriage proposal package (the Pasadena Symphony will perform for the couple at Rose Bowl Stadium) priced at $100,000.
You’d think there would be quite a few hotels to have reached the 100-year mark on the East Coast, but this Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star gem in Cape Cod is one of the few. Known for its killer clambakes and idyllic seaside location, the resort has a long history of hosting presidents, foreign heads of state and members of European royal families. This year, the resort will observe its centennial with a slew of events, ranging from history lessons (an actor playing founder Charles Ashley Hardy will lead tours) to specialty dinners. In March, June and September, Chatham Bars will host dinners with staff dressed in 1914 garb. The September occasion will be the biggest celebration of the year — a 200-seat table will dramatically curve along the C-shaped drive in front of the hotel and a band will play early 1900s music from the veranda as guests nosh on a menu inspired by the times. (Check the website for specific dates, which will be announced soon.) And while the resort itself was founded as a hunting lodge, nowadays you can engage in sporting of different types when the weather warms: fishing, sailing and — our favorite — sunbathing.
This charming escape located on a barrier island on Florida’s Gulf Coast opened its official 100th season back in October and will continue honoring its milestone anniversary until it closes for the summer after the Fourth of July weekend. Until then, The Gasparilla will host several special events, each with a small centennial-themed twist. One of the most memorable celebrations will be Beach, BBQ, Bourbon and Beer Weekend (June 20 to 22), a food- and drinks-filled three days culminating with a feast dubbed Making Barbecue a Classy Affair. But even with the aroma of grilled meats permeating, you can’t help but notice refined, genteel touches found throughout the Boca Grande property that has served as a retreat for the country’s moneyed families (Rockefellers, Morgans, Du Ponts) since it opened in 1913. And with activities ranging from sport fishing and tennis to croquet and golf always on the menu, it’s no surprise the charming 76-room beachside resort has lasted this long.
Photos Courtesy of The Gasparilla Inn & Club and Chatham Bars Inn Resort and Spa