Arising from many years of travels and visits throughout Europe, North America, the Near East and the Orient, this examination of the luxury hotel is an architectural and social history that covers the world from the 1830s to the 1930s, but also takes note of recent refurbishments. The styles of architecture and decor have varied enormously for grand hotels: that of a French Renaissance chateau for the Canadian Pacific Railroad in the 1880s, a fantastic Moorish-style confection for the Tampa Bay on Florida's Gulf Coast (1891), Art Deco for Oliver Hill's seaside Midland Grand at Morecambe (1933). And the services available were equally dramatic: Turkish baths, rifle ranges, a rooftop cycle-track, and even a fleet of vintage Rolls-Royces at Hong Kong's Peninsula. To keep this illusory world glittering, the reality had to run like clockwork, with managers such as Cesar Ritz, king of hoteliers, monitoring every detail from ballrooms to basement boilers. The book explores many aspects of this all-but-vanished world of opulence, from the entrepreneurs, architects and designers who made it possible to the ambitious individuals and dynasties that kept it going.
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(283mm x 225mm x 32mm)
Publisher: Reaktion Books
Country of Publication:
UK Kirkus Review »
This massive tome, with its fine print and hundreds of colour illustrations, represents a significant contribution to the world of architectural history from a recognized expert. The many years of labour are evident as Denby charts the emergence of the grand hotel around the world between the 1830s and the 1930s. The author links architecture to socio-economic patterns, citing that the development of this particular art form is important in understanding the world's industrialization and subsequent shrinkage. The splendour and opulence of the finest hotels says as much about the city or town in which it is located as the clientele it attracts. But be warned: this does not make light reading and the illustrations are far from purely ornamental. (Kirkus UK)
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Author Biography - Elaine Denby
Elaine Denby is an architect and a member of the RIBA and the Art Workers Guild.