Tag Archives: hotel

21c Museum Hotel

Stepping into the foyer of the 21C Hotel in Durham, North Carolina, the first thing that caught my eye was the green marble and silver leaf ceiling — one of the brilliant Art Deco details preserved in this ornate and beautiful building.

Hill Building Durham, North Carolina

Right in the heart of downtown Durham, 21C is an adaptive reuse project in the old Hill Building, an Art Deco dream built from 1935-1937 and designed by Shreve, Lamb and Harmon– legendary designers of the Empire State Building.

Repurposed Bank | Durham, NC

The 2400 square-foot Main Gallery is located in the old banking hall where busy tellers once lined the room and the sound of businessmen’s clicking heels echoed off the checkered terrazzo floor. You can almost hear John Sprunt Hill, the building’s namesake, negotiating a Trust from behind the original pecan wood paneling.

Vintage Pictures of the Hill Building, Durham, NC
(left) 1937 | (right) 1965 | Courtesy The Herald-Sun via OpenDurham + Preservation Durham

John Sprunt Hill, a local lawyer, banker, and philanthropist who lead the civic and social development of the city in the early decades of the 20th century, also served as president of Durham Loan & Trust Company, later Durham Bank & Trust Company — for which “The Hill” was first built. The Hill building has since housed other bank offices on its 17 floors.

Luxury Hotel | 21C | Durham, NC

Its last bank tenant was SunTrust Banks before Greenfire Development stepped in in 2006 to begin the Hill’s transformation into a 125-room luxury hotel.

Counting House Restaurant | 21c Hotel

From 2013-2015, Greenfire teamed up with 21C Museum Hotels. With a sweep of their adaptive reuse wand, they added a contemporary art museum, an upscale hotel, bar and ballroom as part of the 21C brand, founded by contemporary art collectors and preservationists Laura Lee Brown and Steve Wilson.

Luxury Museum Hotel | Durham

Originating in Louisville, the 21C Museum Hotels celebrated 10 years in 2016! The concept was born from Laura Lee’s passion for contemporary art and desire to share it with the public. Laura and Steve saw the shift to commercialism in Louisville and thought that would be a good place for their preservation project to begin. Every 21C Museum Hotel is in an old, repurposed building.

Contemporary Art Museum Durham, NC
courtesy of 21c Museum Hotels

I love when hipstorical places combine historic charm and architecture with modern and contemporary touches– and that’s exactly what the 21C Hotel in Durham, North Carolina does. Every 21C hotel hosts a free contemporary museum that’s open to the public. The 10,500 square-foot 21C Durham museum is open 24 hours except when it’s closed for private events. Curated exhibits are presented on a rotating basis, and guided docent tours are offered twice a week!

Repurposed Bank | 21c Museum Hotel

My favorite part of the building, and my favorite part of just any adapted bank, is the vault. 21C’s “The Vault” is located on the lower level and serves as a lounge for private events like bourbon tastings and cocktail parties. Here, again, is a place where vintage meets contemporary: leather button-back seats line the walls that are home to original safety deposit boxes from floor to ceiling, while original money art sweeps the floor.

Ellis Stone Department Store | Durham | Hipstorical

The Counting House restaurant on the ground floor was once Ellis Stone department store. This gourmet dining room swallows guests with its 23-foot ceiling, and some more contemporary art on display is the perfect side-dish for your seared monkfish or lamb chop. Or book out the Main Gallery for your event, and you’ll get catering cooked right off the line!

The Counting House Restaurant | Durham

Care to accompany me up to my room? The Penthouse Suite takes up the entire 15th floor and is home to 1,000 square feet of glam. Kitchen, 1 ½ baths, bedroom, living room, private balcony with panoramic view of the city– what more could you ask for? Even the standard rooms still have the original floors, big bathrooms and a seating area instead of a desk.

Guest Room | 21c Hotel Durham

21C Museum Hotel in Durham screams glam. It both harkens back to a the Hollywood feel that its Art Deco design emits and envelops you in the opulent indulgence of a luxury hotel filled with a vast collection of contemporary art. If or when you’re in Durham or Raleigh, a stay at the 21C will not disappoint. Go ahead, treat yourself.

A special thank you to Meredith and Kelsey at the 21c Museum Hotel, Durham CVB, OpenDurham, and Preservation Durham!


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Hale Ulu Lulu Guest House

The warm summer-like breeze tangled my hair and weaved itself through the knitted holes of my bright pink sweater. Our topless Jeep hugged the final hairpins along the Road to Hana and finally turned down the lawn to our little home for the weekend: the Hale Ulu Lulu cottage.

Hale Ulu Lulu Maui Guesthouse

“Hale Ulu Lulu,” in the lovely Hawaiian language, means “house sheltered by the breadfruit trees. The exotic fronds of the namesake trees surround the little blue cottage.

The Guest Houses at Malanai

It was a lovely site after a long, sunny day filled with rock-hopping to hidden waterfalls, slurping fresh pineapple, and hugging rainbow eucalyptus trees. Coconut sunscreen on our shoulders and black beach sand between our toes, we unlocked the door to our island getaway: the loveliest little Hawaiian cottage we could have imagined.

The little blue cottage bore a striking resemblance to the summer cottage in northern Wisconsin where my family spent the June, July and August weekends of my childhood. It was the perfect setting for a Hawaiian vacation with my sister.

Soft Hawaiian music drifted through the windows, and I collapsed on the chaise to sip my pineapple Maui Wine to relax and wonder about the history of this pretty little place.

Bed and Breakfast Road to Hana

The first sugarcane plantation in Hawaii was established in 1835, and by the 1840s, the sugarcane export business was booming. Hale Ulu Lulu was built around 1900. By then, the town of Hana was abuzz with movie theaters, shops and restaurants, despite its remote location. The town had a population of 3,500 and could be reached by the gravel Hana Highway (completed in 1926).

Maui Hana Sugarcane Plantation
1885 | Hana Sugar Plantation, Maui | From Hawaii State Archives Digital Collection via Hawaii Picture of the Day

The land surrounding Hale Ulu Lulu was once covered in sugarcane — part of the Hana Sugar Plantation. The cottage was built to house the plantation manager and is one of the few surviving authentic plantation houses in Hana. It was also once home to the legendary Eddie Pu, subject of the book “Voices of Wisdom-Hawaiian Elders Speak.”

Inn on Road to Hana, Maui

By the turn of the 21st century, the population of Hana would dwindle to around 700 and the little blue plantation house fell into ruin. The current owners purchased the cottage, along with a few others nearby, and began a year-long restoration.

Island Getaway Maui

They paid great attention to detail when preserving the historical integrity of the house while adding all of the modern amenities you might need. The bead board, crown molding and claw-foot tub add charm and authenticity to the beautiful plantation home.

Hawaiian vacation homes - Hana, Maui

They restored as many original windows as they could while adding new and beautiful Brazilian Mahogany floors, a Koa wood bar counter and granite kitchen countertops. The 900-square-foot, one-bedroom, one-bathroom cottage is the perfect, charming getaway for a couple or pair to rest after the long journey along the winding Road to Hana. Local artwork, Hawaiian antiques, and views of the ocean are the sugarcane on top.

Vacation Rental - Road to Hana, Maui

We spent each morning enjoying stunning sunrises from the front porch, and just a short drive away, Hamoa Beach provided the ideal setting to watch surfers at sunset. Our stay at Hale Ulu Lulu in Hana was a dream come true, from sunrise to sunset. I can’t wait to go back.

Sunset from Hale Ulu Lulu - Vacation rental Hana, Maui


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Brewhouse Inn & Suites

Brewhouse Inn Entrance

Cotton-bunch clouds find their reflection in the 300 windows that scale the cream-colored brick facade of the Victorian Gothic factory as it towers over North 10th Street. The street is so quiet on a Friday morning, I swear I can almost hear the hum of a turn-of-the-century working brewery behind those brick walls– the bubbling of the copper kettles and the chatter of brewers at work. Sadly, beer hasn’t been brewed on these grounds in over 20 years. But from 1905 to 1996, that bustling hum could be heard across the dozen brewing buildings on the Pabst property.

Boutique Hotel Milwaukee | Brewhouse Inn & Suites

Pabst Brewing Company has its earliest roots in Best and Company brewery, established in 1844 by Jacob Best, Sr. and his four sons, Jacob, Jr., Charles, Phillip and Lorenz. In 1850, Charles and Lorenz left to open their own brewery, which would later become Miller Brewing Company. (Talented family, huh?) Phillip Best’s son-in-law, Frederick Pabst, bought into the business in 1864 and became the sole owner in 1888, and the brewery was renamed “Pabst Brewing Company” a year later.

Pabst Brewery around 1900
Pabst Brewery around 1900 (AP Photo/Pabst Mansion)

Somewhere in between Frederick taking ownership of Best’s brewery and the advent of Pabst, the shiny new brewery at 1215 North 10th Street was completed (1882, to be exact). Fun fact: the same year the building was erected, Best brewing began tying a blue silk ribbon around each bottle of their “Best Select” beer to represent all of the US and international awards they’d earned. The nickname “blue ribbon” became official in 1898, though the practice of tying the ribbons on the bottles ended in 1950.

Pabst Brewery Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Pabst became the nation’s largest in 1899 through the first half of the 20th century. The brewery was one of the first to welcome visitors for tours in 1907.

Abandoned Pabst Brewery by Paul Bialas
Photo by author Paul Bialas | brewerybooks.com

Except for a stint aging cheese in its cellars during prohibition, Best and then Pabst brewed the bubbly stuff at 1215 North 10th Street until the brewery suddenly shut down in 1996 under a new owner. The Cream City-brick building sat empty and abandoned for ten years.

Photo by author Paul Bialas | Pabst Brewery
Photo by author Paul Bialas | brewerybooks.com

In 2006, its savior– local real estate developer and philanthropist named Joseph A. Zilber– purchased 1215 and all of the surrounding Pabst buildings with the grand vision of creating a charming and sustainable new neighborhood known as “The Brewery.” He purchased the entire neighborhood, made it a historical landmark, and sold off the buildings to trusted developers.

Old Pabst Brewery Milwaukee

Gary Gorman and Gorman and Company, a developer specializing in adaptive reuse and historic properties, took on the project of creating a funky, luxurious boutique hotel at 1215, and Brewhouse Inn & Suites was completed in spring of 2013.

Hotel Lobby | Boutique Hotel Milwaukee

Gorman & Co. did an outstanding job with the renovation, expertly preserving some of the unique historic details of the brewery. The first brewhouse element that stands out as you enter the hotel lobby are the exposed copper kettles in the lobby. The bottom has been sliced off to reveal the inside of the still to hotel-goers as they enter.

Restored Pabst Brewery | Brewhouse Inn Milwaukee

What was originally the Pabst employee break room is now the breakfast nook for hotel guests. Gorman & Co. used reclaimed wood from the brewery to create sturdy, history-rich breakfast tables. In the building’s brewery days, the room was filled with free-flowing taps 24 hours a day. The room was called “the Blue Room” for the police officers who often stopped by for a beer after their shifts, and it’s still called “the Blue Room” today.

Pabst Brewery Restored Brewhouse Inn

Beams from the building’s original atrium were used to make a stunning sign handpainted by a local artist. The sign provides a focal point for the lobby along with the front desk, decorated with 1500 beer bottles. Original wooden archways beckon visitors into the heart of the hotel.

Copper Kettles at the Old Pabst Brewery

The sun-drenched atrium is lined with original wrought iron beams that surround the sparkling copper kettles. The developers knew they wanted to keep the kettles, so they used them as inspiration for the subtle but effective steampunk theme of the inn’s decor. Furniture was custom made by a local artisan, but the lovely spiral staircase in the atrium is an original.

Custom Furniture at Brewhouse Inn & Suites

Fun Fact: Phillip Best worked with a local coppersmith to design the first copper brew kettle. The coppersmith, AJ Langworthy, received a lifetime of free beer in return.

Stained Glass and Copper Kettles at Brewhouse Inn and Suites

A two-story stained glass window also sparkles in the atrium. It dipicts King Gambrinus, the “patron saint” of beer and was commissioned by Frederick Pabst himself.

Guest Room at Brewhouse Inn Milwaukee

The extended-stay hotel offers kitchenettes in each of its 90 rooms, and the rooms vary in size and amenities, from standard rooms to lofts and suites. The suites feature oyster shucking tables as an added luxury, and many rooms feature original wooden beams.

Suite at Brewhouse Inn Milwaukee

The nearby First German Methodist Church can be seen from the rooftop deck of the hotel. Rumor has it that Pabst beer was once pumped right into the church for the famous Wisconsin Friday Fish Fries. A Pabst microbrewery serving old Pabst recipes and gastropub cuisine is scheduled to open in 2017.

Best Place, Pabst Brewery, Milwaukee

A building across the street awaits redevelopment and will soon become apartments. Another building in the neighborhood is used as an education and student housing complex. The original 1880 Best Brewery headquarters adjacent to the inn serves as a beer tasting room and event space and offers historical tours that feature a visit to Captain Pabst’s fully restored office and the old infirmary-turned-speakeasy.

Jackson's Blue Ribbon Pub

Be sure to stop by Jackson’s Blue Ribbon Pub for a PBR during your visit, a bar and restaurant housed in the brewery’s old carriage house!

***

When you hear the word “Wisconsin,” or “Milwaukee,” your mouth likely begins to water for an ice-cold brew– maybe even a Pabst Brew Ribbon. The city and state have become synonymous with the bubbly beverage, and Wisconsinites have German-American immigrants Jacob Best and Frederick Pabst. Brewhouse Inn & Suites has done a magnificent job of breathing new life into this piece of Milwaukee history, and Jacob and Frederick would be proud of this beautiful inn where their legacy lives on.

Watch a video about hotel’s renovations here.

Brewhouse Inn Milwaukee | Renovated Pabst Brewery


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The Iron Horse Hotel, Milwaukee

Venture off the beaten path to Milwaukee’s historic Walker’s Point neighborhood. First founded in 1835 as a fur trading post, Walker’s Point saw massive development from the 1800s through the turn of the century as the industrial revolution swept through Milwaukee. Today, abandoned buildings are being adaptively reused for loft apartments like River Place Lofts, office suites like the Tannery, event space like the Pritzlaff building and hotels like The Iron Horse.

Historic Iron Horse Hotel | Milwaukee

The building that’s now home to The Iron Horse Hotel was originally built in 1907 by the architectural firm Buemming & Dick as a factory and warehouse for Berger Bedding Factory. Before it opened as the Iron Horse Hotel eight years ago, it was being used as cold storage.

Walker's Point Milwaukee History | Iron Horse

The hotel’s name pays homage to the railroad nearby and to the Harley Davidson museum across the bridge (“Iron Horse” is a Victorian term for a steam locomotive and a nickname for motorcycles). The facade is original, including this capital detail that inspired the hotel’s logo.

Iron Horse Hotel | Historic Architecture
Iron Horse detail on the building’s facade

Nearly all of the decor throughout the hotel is recycled, reused or repurposed. The bar, lined with 1920s drafting chairs, is made from the building’s original doors, and a giant copper mirror that hangs behind it has been repurposed from a stained glass church window in Pennsylvania.

Iron Horse Hotel | Repurposed
“Branded,” The Iron Horse bar

Developer and  carpenter by trade, owner Tim Dixon kept as much historical detail throughout the building as he could, including the boiler room door on the lower level that hides a private office.

Iron Horse Hotel History | Milwaukee

The Iron Horse is the last original timber-beamed building in Milwaukee, and the 300-year-old pine beams throughout the lobby give the room structure and strength.

Iron Horse Hotel | Adaptive Reuse
The lobby

The lobby’s wrought iron chandeliers are made from motorcycle parts, light fixtures are made from baked bean cans, and there is an enormous flag on a nearby wall made from 32 ½ pairs of Wrangler Jeans.

Upcycled Decor | Iron Horse Hotel
Upcycled chandeliers

Milwaukee’s famous Cream City Bricks that once protected the Berger mattresses from fire now separate the cozy lobby from the hotel restaurant, Smyth, which pays homage to the blacksmith. “Since we have a lot of motorcycle enthusiasts, we want someone to be able to step off their Harley and feel comfortable eating next to someone in a business suit,” says McGinnis.

Smyth Upscale Restaurant | Milwaukee
“Smyth,” the Iron Horse’s upscale restaurant

Photos tell the story of a local blacksmith’s work, and tables built with reclaimed elm are wrapped with copper to give the restaurant an industrial feel.

Smyth Gastronomic Restaurant | Milwaukee
Blacksmith art at “Smyth”

The menu is upscale casual and honors “the blacksmith and his craft by creating cuisine that reflects the handcrafted, soulful trade of transforming raw materials into works of art.” Try the Spanish octopus for starters, then choose between entrees like lake trout or duck breast with baby leek.

Smyth Restaurant | Iron Horse Hotel
Everything is hand crafted at Smyth

The hotel is also home to The Yard, an outdoor bar and restaurant with a more casual atmosphere and menu.

The Yard Bar and Restaurant | Milwaukee
The Yard patio

Cozy up in the working library, where tables are made from reclaimed factory parts and well-worn bucket chairs from the bank of London surround what once was a money vault and now acts as a fireplace.

The Library | Iron Horse Hotel | Milwaukee
The Iron Horse’s working library

The same artist who created the denim art, Charles Dwyer, is a childhood friend of The Iron Horse’s owner and created most of the art throughout the hotel. He even mentored a homeless man he encountered on the street, Jerry Pfeil, and taught him how to draw. Jerry’s art hangs in the hotel bar: Branded.

Local Art | Milwaukee Hotel
Funky art by Jerry Pfeil in the “Branded” bar

The Iron Horse loves out-of-town visitors, but they also work hard to cultivate a community space for locals, with activities, events and workspace for Milwaukeeans. “Local is really important to us,” says Iron Horse Senior Sales Manager Katie McGinnis. That’s why the hotel bar features local beer, and their Friday happy hour offers discounts on local drinks.

Bittercube Bitters | Cocktail Elixirs
Custom cocktail elixirs made for Iron Horse by Bittercube Bitters, a Milwaukee company

A local company makes cocktail elixirs, available in your room’s mini fridge, and local artist Charles Dwyer created murals for the guest rooms that depict the beauty of Milwaukee women.

Charles Dwyer Murals | Iron Horse Hotel
Charles Dwyer murals in Iron Horse’s guest roomsEach of the boutique hotel’s 100 rooms features a desk, chair, table, and big, roomy bathrooms with walk-in showers.

Boutique Hotel Rooms | Iron Horse Milwaukee

To cater to the motorcyclists the hotel welcomes from the Harley Davidson Museum across the river, the custom-made, Iron-Horse-shaped hooks along the wall hold up to 80 pounds for motorcycle gear (or wedding and bridesmaid dresses–whatever you need!)

Iron Horse | Milwaukee Motorcycle Hotel
Custom Iron Horse hooks to hold biker gear or bridesmaid dresses

When it comes to recreating a thoughtful and inventive new space from a priceless piece of history, it’s all in the details. Iron Horse does details. From the original timber beams to the Cream City Brick, and the hand-crafted, repurposed tables and chandeliers, Tim Dixon and his team have perfectly combined history and creativity to create a cozy and inviting space for everyone from a blushing bride to a badass biker. Book a room for your next visit to Milwaukee, enjoy a meal at Smyth, or a drink at Branded or The Yard. Whoever you are, wherever you’re from– stop into the Iron Horse, and you’ll feel at home.

History of the Iron Horse Hotel | Milwaukee

As featured on Nick and Danielle’s Milwaukee date on The Bachelor.


Suggestions for more hipstorical places in Milwaukee? Email me and help me build my archives!

Press Hotel, Portland

The first time I visited Portland, Maine two years ago, the old Press Herald building appeared to be an abandoned building, sitting sad, lonely and retired at the corner of Federal and Exchange Street. Just a year later on my next visit to this vibrant city, the beautiful old building had experienced a restoration and resurgence like no other, making it perfect for my first Hipstorical hotel.

Exterior Press 780

I love meeting other people who share my passion for historical preservation and restoration, so I was incredibly excited for Jim Brady, owner and developer of The Press Hotel, to give me a tour of the hotel and point out all of its lovingly restored details. I loved seeing the passion and excitement in him as he took me on my tour.

Historic_Exterior 780

The Press Hotel was built in 1923 and was home to the Portland Press Herald, the state’s largest newspaper, until 2010 when it moved down the street to its current location. Jim Brady returned to Portland in 2011 after spending some time abroad and found that the building was vacant. Construction started in 2013, and the hotel opened in May of 2015.

Entrance 780

From the moment you step through the front door of the hotel, you can tell that so much thought went into not only the preservation and restoration, but also the design. Portland has a rich artistic and creative community, and Jim shared with me how it was important to him to take advantage of that by featuring art by local students and artists throughout the hotel. Jim saw an opportunity to create a high-end, boutique experience for travelers that didn’t exist yet in Portland. It was important for him to create a space that reflected the culture and feel of Portland for visitors.

Swarm 780

My absolute favorite art installation in The Press Hotel, and what drew me in as soon as I stepped in the lobby, was a piece called “SWARM.” The installation features a collection of vintage typewriters affixed to a wall in a circular formation, designed by artists at the nearby Maine College of Art (MECA) to represent the chaos of a newsroom. You can also find an installation using the vintage typewriters’ cases near the front desk.

Window 780

Jim did his best to preserve as many historical aspects of the building as he could, including the original marble and stairs in the entryway and the staircase to the left of the front desk. The window in the entryway is framed by letter press-inspired boxes—a nod to its printing press roots.

Tables 780

In the lobby, Jim and his design team chose an ink blue and orange theme, giving it a retro vibe. Chairs, tables, and textiles were designed by local artists and craftsmen like Angela Adams and Nelson Metal Fabrication. These tables (above) feature stories from different decades of the Portland Press Herald.

Front Desk 780

Behind the front desk, the newspaper theme continues with a letterpress art installation featuring letters of all sizes, fonts, and colors. (Insider detail: the orange letters spell “resurgam,” which means “to rise again” in Latin—Portland’s motto.)

Letters 780

The letterpress work can also be found on the hotel directional signs throughout the hotel’s hallways, pointing to rooms and meeting spaces in the hotel with names like “The Newsroom,” that reflect the hotel’s history.

Wallpaper 780

The hallways’ wallpaper features actual headlines from the newspaper throughout history, and tumbling typewriter keys cover the carpet.

Union Smoothie 780

My day started with breakfast at UNION, the hotel’s restaurant. The quiche and a carrot smoothie were a perfect start to my day, and I loved how they used newspaper clippings as a dining accessory.

Bed 780

The tasteful design aesthetic continues in The Press Hotel’s guestrooms.

Fox 780

My favorite details were the long writer’s desk, the leather chair with “the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog” printed on the back.

Water 780

I was in love with The Press Hotel’s logo and all of the quotes featured on the “do not disturb” sign and other signs throughout the guest rooms and in the lobby.

Soap 780

I even loved the luxurious, lavender boutique C.O. Bigelow bath products in the bathroom. It’s thoughtful details like these that really make a difference in a guest experience.

Suite 780

Guest can rent the penthouse suite with private access to a rooftop deck. And your very own vintage typewriter.

Gallery 780

The lower level of the hotel once housed the printing presses. Jim and his team wanted to make the best use of the high ceilings and art-gallery feel by creating an art gallery that is open to the public and features works from local artists.

Scale 780

Another great detail in the lower level is the preserved scale located in the hotel’s gym. It once measured paper before it went to press.

Typewriter 780

My stay at The Press Hotel was one I won’t soon forget. There were so many thoughtful details that went into the design and restoration of the hotel that I felt like Jim and his team not only truly cared about history and the building, but also about me as a guest. Whether you’re a Portland local or a visitor to the area, a stay at The Press Hotel is a must!

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