Reality and Illusion
Distributed for Reaktion Books
The styles of architecture and decor have varied enormously for grand hotels: a French Renaissance château manner 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 Morecombe in England (1933). And the services available were equally stunning: Turkish baths, rifle-ranges, 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 like César Ritz, king of hoteliers, monitoring every detail from ballrooms to basement boilers. Grand Hotels explores every aspect 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.