Photo courtesy Hotel Monteleone
Often the hotels we choose while on bank trips are simply clean and comfortable places to rest our heads. Quite frankly, that’s typically all we need because the star of the itinerary is usually the destination.
However, sometimes there’s no better star of an itinerary than a hotel that is itself the destination.
These venues provide not only lavish sleeping accommodations but also most everything bank travelers dream about for an ideal getaway: gourmet food, star-studded entertainment, lavish grounds, soothing spas and, at times, even friendly ghosts.
These award-winning and majestic hotels are located in the coolest communities, the kinds of locations where the best of adventures await. However, your members might discover that after walking through the doors of these historical icons, the best of adventures await right where they stand.
The 570-room Hotel Monteleone, known as the gateway to the French Quarter, celebrated 125 years of hospitality in 2011.
“This is the oldest family-owned and -operated hotel in the French Quarter, and Antonio Monteleone’s original shoe shop is still across the street,” said Betsie Gambel, spokesperson for the hotel.
Visitors may recognize the iconic property from the countless movies that have used it as a backdrop and the many mentions in classic stories from authors such as Ernest Hemingway and Truman Capote.
“The hotel is also known as the good-luck charm for many governors; this is where they have their press conferences and victory celebrations. Musicians from Dr. John to Liberace to Etta James have all revered the hotel and loved performing in the Carousel Bar,” said Gambel.
The newly renovated Carousel Bar is the heart of the historic structure. “It revolves around the bartenders, making one rotation every 15 minutes — just enough time to finish one cocktail,” Gambel quipped.
Renowned for good food, the hotel is combining its two restaurants into one and opening its culinary doors with a new chef and new look in mid-March.
Milton Hershey had already perfected his formula for milk chocolate when he was faced with hard times during the Great Depression.
Hershey decided to build a Mediterranean-style hotel complete with elegant fountains and carved woodwork, luxury unheard of during those lean times, to provide work for people in Hershey, many of whom had built his factory.
“Our Fountain Lobby was inspired by a town square in Cuba, so much of this property reflects Hershey’s travels,” said Reilly Fies, public relations coordinator.
“Thanks to our efforts to go green, we’ve had many award-winning renovations in recent years to rooms and cottages. Swimming, golf and even all-weather skating is part of our experience.”
The 276-room hotel overlooks Hershey Park and the town.
Three restaurants are part of the allure: The AAA Four-Diamond Circular Dining Room, where Hershey boasted no one will ever have a bad seat, offers American fare; Trevi 5 treats guests to Italian food with a twist; and Harvest showcases fresh, seasonal and local ingredients.
“We are known for our chocolate treats not only in our restaurants but our chocolate spa — the Spa of Hotel Hershey,” said Fies. “Starting in 2012, we will be the first spa in North America offering edible chocolate facial treatments.”
1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa
Eureka Springs, Arkansas
After the lights are out and you’re snuggled in luxury, keep one eye open for Michael, this hotel’s famous ghost, who occasionally wanders the property. “Voted the Most Haunted Hotel by TripAdvisor in 2011, we have stories galore,” said Jodie English, director of sales.
“Michael was a stonemason who was killed during the construction of the Crescent in 1886. And we were also a cancer hospital at one time. The paranormal professionals have checked us out many times, and we have daily ghost tours.”
This historic hotel is part of an entire community that is on the National Register of Historic Places and that is also a favorite artisan destination.
“We sit on Crescent Mountain in the Ozark Mountains, overlooking the village,” said English. “Along with our Victorian atmosphere, we offer 76 rooms — many with balconies overlooking those mountains — a hot tub and swimming pool, and the New Moon Spa and Salon.
“Our guests love to wander the 15 acres of show gardens and pristine woods that are threaded with walking trails.”
The Crystal Dining Room offers fine dining, and Dr. Baker’s Bistro and Sky Bar serves more casual fare.
“For those wanting to stay in the downtown area, check out our 1905 Basin Park Hotel, another historic property that offers impeccable hospitality,” said English.