Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Two Hotels

I don't know if the Hotel Monaco staff were just following prescribed procedures or whether I should have taken their percautions personally.

Only later did I learn one possible reason for their questions about my reason for wanting to take photos. I read later that InStyle Magazine had noted that "Faith Hill, Janet Jackson and the Backstreet Boys have all checked into the Hotel Monaco--the coolest hotel in town."

So, even though I had two cameras, I don't know of any paparazzi who carry tripods, so I guess it was simply procedure. At any rate, after answering a couple of questions, I was given the OK to photograph the lobby of this hotel.

Built in 1924, the hotel was once a bank. Now the lobby, "with its plush furnishings, recalls a 1940s living room in the Hollywood hills" (Hemispheres Magazine).

Soon after taking a seat in the lobby, I noticed the artistic work on the ceiling (left). I could only imagine what the rooms looked like with their lime-and-white-striped wallpaper.

The lobby had a formal air about it and a harem-like quality in this sitting area (left). But on an informal level, the hotel also caters to four-footed guests. Cats and dogs even get their own monogrammed water and chow bowls.

With two doormen, the hotel presented an air of "guests only," so even though the lobby looked comfor-table, it was difficult to become inconspicuous.

I cut my visit short.

Although the Hotel Utah was no longer a hotel, its beehive at the building's peak and its interior conveyed a welcoming message.

Work on the Second Renaissance Revival style hotel began in June 1909. Two years later, on June 9, 1911, the Hotel Utah opened for business. While the LDS church was the primary stockholder, many Mormon and non-Mormon community and business leaders also purchased stock in the effort to provide the city with a first-class hotel.

Known for many years as THE Hotel in the Intermountain West, the building still shows the signs of the elegance it conveyed as a hotel.

The building ceased operations as a hotel in August 1987. In 1993, following a major remodeling and adaptive reuse project to accommo-date both community and church functions, the former hotel was re-named The Joseph Smith Memorial Building in honor of Joseph Smith, Jr., the founder of the Latter Day Saint movement.

Although no longer functioning as a hotel lobby, the ornate former lobby still exuded a welcoming quality.

The noontime "concert" by the pianist, who was dwarfed by the columns and the cavernous quality of the space, invited visitors to spend a relaxing period in this administration building.

We imagined the lobby being a comfortable gathering place for hotel guests, community members, and visitors just pausing on their walk around Temple Square--if only this were still a hotel.

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