For months before I left for the Women of Faith event in Spokane, every time I mentioned to someone on staff that I was attending that particular event they would get a dreamy look in theirs eyes and sigh, “Oh . . . that hotel. Bring back peanut brittle.”
Ooookayy. I’m a sucker for a nice hotel myself. I revel in plush surroundings, marble bathrooms, and all the other trappings of luxury. (Mind you, I don’t get to stay in really nice hotels often, which probably adds to the mystique.) But seriously, what was the big deal?
Then I arrived at the Davenport Hotel. And suddenly, all became clear.
Does this remind anyone else of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum or is that just me?
Seriously? This place has its own walking tour. Of. The. Hotel. Of course, I took it. Er, twice, actually. Yes, I’m nerdy that way. Here are just a few of the wonders I saw:
The beams are cast plaster and until the hotel was restored at the turn of this century all that lovely color was lost due to decades of smoke from the fireplace as well as (no doubt) many fine cigars and cigarettes. They cleaned it with soft toothbrushes (and Simple Green) and voila, the colors appeared.
Speaking of the fireplace…
There were people in the Elizabethan Room (the nerve!) so I couldn’t snap any pics of that, but if you’ve been to any Tudor castles, you’ve got the idea. Dark carved wood paneling, chandeliers made of 75 pounds of sterling silver (each), that kind of thing. It was the first hotel ballroom in the world to use folding panel doors to divide the space into smaller rooms.
The Isabella ballroom was being used for a wedding and the reception was in the Marie Antoinette Ballroom. Hanna (my walking tour companion) and I weren’t exactly dressed for a wedding or we would have crashed the party; they seemed to be having a marvelous time. (Of course, we peeked through the window. Wouldn’t you?)
But that’s OK…nobody was in the Hall of the Doges.
It was like walking into a Venetian palazzo. Built in 1904 above Davenport’s restaurant, the entire thing was picked up by a crane and moved to its current location during the renovation of 2000, making it “the only flying ballroom in the world.”
All along the halls are fabulous photos of glory days of yore at the Davenport. Hanna and I spent some time studying one photo of the Marie Antoinette Ballroom’s opening night ball in 1914 and deciding who was with whom and how they felt about it.
There’s more—I haven’t even shown you the actual bedroom yet—but I think that’s enough for now. Let’s just leave with this picture in mind: