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 Historic Renaissance Hotels & Resorts Have Played a
Major Role in the History of U.S. Politics
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BETHESDA, Md., July 28, 2008 - From the War of 1812 to World War I, Prohibition and the stock market crash to Smoke-Filled Rooms, numerous presidential whistle-stops, political grandstanding, and the Obama-Clinton lovefest, historic Renaissance Hotels have played a major role in the history of U.S. politics.

In Mobile, Alabama, the historic Battle House, a Renaissance Hotel now stands on the site of an old military headquarters set up by Andrew Jackson during the war of 1812. The original Battle House, opened in 1852, dominated the social scene in Mobile for over a century. In 1860, Stephen A. Douglas stayed at the Battle House the night he lost the presidency to Abraham Lincoln. Over its history, the Battle House was frequently visited by such notables as Presidents Woodrow Wilson and Ulysses S. Grant, Jefferson Davis, Admiral Raphael Semmes, and Generals Bragg, Beauregard and Taylor.


The Battle House, A Renaissance® Hotel
26 North Royal Street
Mobile, Alabama

Nicknamed the "Grande Dame of Washington" at its opening in 1925, The Mayflower, a Renaissance Hotel has had no shortage of memorable political moments. The hotel has sponsored every Inaugural Ball since President Calvin Coolidge. Franklin D. Roosevelt wrote his famous "We have nothing to fear but fear itself" inaugural address while a guest and his successor Harry S. Truman lived at the hotel for the first 90 days of his presidential term while the White House was undergoing renovations. The Mayflower's lounge, Town & Country, has long been a social center for Washington's elite. FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover was said to lunch there daily for over twenty years and little did J. Edgar Hoover know that his beloved FBI would be celebrating their 100th anniversary this year. And just last month, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama played nice when she introduced him to about 300 of her leading contributors at the hotel.

In Chicago, a city nicknamed the "Windy City" not only for its heavy winds but for the swaying political climate, The Blackstone, a Renaissance Hotel was known as the "Hotel of Presidents" because of the numerous U.S. Presidents who stayed at the hotel since its opening in 1910. The hotel's famous "Smoke-Filled Room" originated from the night of June 11, 1920 when Republican senators and party power-brokers met secretly in the southeast corner suite on the ninth floor of The Blackstone and nominated Warren G. Harding for the presidency. After Harding accepted the nomination, the kingmakers emerged from the room -- trailed by a cloud of cigar smoke -- and broke the surprising news. The Associated Press reporter standing nearby wired a dispatch that read "Harding of Ohio was chosen by a group of men in a smoke-filled room early today as Republican candidate for president." Since then, the phrase has been used in political circles to denote decision making wherein powerful individuals scheme without regard for the will of the people. (View the grand-reopening of The Blackstone at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dVd9nyMLxTo )

The mansion of Leland Stanford (1824-1893) on San Francisco's famed Nob Hill is now part of The Stanford Court, a Renaissance Hotel. Stanford was a very prominent San Francisco resident as the President of the Central Pacific Railroad, an advisor to President Lincoln on the position of California in the brewing secession controversy, and a key figure in establishing the Republican Party in California with Mark Hopkins, Charles Crocker and Collis Huntington -- known together as The Big Four. Stanford made his mark on U.S. politics as Governor of California, state Senator and founder of the prestigious Stanford University.
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The Stanford Court, A Renaissance® Hotel
905 California Street-Nob Hill
San Francisco, California

Since its opening in 1918 and situated on the historic Public Square, the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel has been the gathering place for many events of local importance and has played host to many of the nation's political leaders and celebrities. Among them have been Presidents Harry S. Truman, Richard Nixon, and Ronald Reagan, who have spoken from its podium, as have the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Charles Lindbergh.

For more than 150 years the Renaissance Savery Hotel in Des Moines, Iowa has had a tradition of being visited by presidents, their wives, and presidential hopefuls while on the campaign trail. Originally opened in 1862, the hotel was leased by the U.S. Army between 1942 and 1945 as an induction center and supplemental barracks for the first Woman's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAC). During this time, Eleanor Roosevelt stayed at the hotel while reviewing WAC training.

The actual construction of the Renaissance Vinoy Resort & Golf Club commenced on February 5, 1925, and in just under 10 months a hotel depicting one of the finest examples of Mediterranean Revival architecture in Florida was completed. Over the years the hotel was very popular with celebrities, entertainers and politicians. Such luminaries as Herbert Hoover, Calvin Coolidge, Babe Ruth and Jimmy Stewart at one time or another had the pleasure of visiting the hotel. Even during the depression years the hotel prospered, largely due to its affluent and elite clientele. During World War II the hotel served as a cooking and baking school for the United States Army.

Renaissance Grand St. Louis Suites Hotel originally opened in 1929, just weeks before the stock market crash of 1929. The hotel was designed by Preston Bradshaw, who had already earned a fine reputation as an architect on the House and Senate Building in Washington, D.C. before moving to St. Louis. The Women's Suffrage Movement met in the basement coffee shop, a place for women fighting for the right to vote to secretly strategize and plan. Another hotel affected by the Great Depression was the Renaissance Providence Hotel, which is housed in an 80 year old, incomplete Masonic Temple. During the Great Depression, the Masons ran out of money and were unable to finish the project. The Renaissance hotel, opened in 2007, marks the largest restoration project in Rhode Island history.

The Renaissance Downtown Pittsburgh Hotel, housed in the historic Fulton Building and built in 1906, served as a veterans hospital during World War II, and the nightclub Heaven during the 1980s. During the war, the 20-ton glass dome in the atrium was covered for fear the light from the lobby would attract an air attack. The Depot Minneapolis, a Renaissance Hotel, built in 1864, was originally known as the Minnesota Central Railroad and served as the Old Milwaukee Road Depot until the last train left in 1971. In 2007, the old railway line was converted into a Renaissance Hotel.
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Renaissance® Pittsburgh Hotel
107 6th Street
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
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Other historic Renaissance properties include:
The Renaissance Arts Hotel in New Orleans, LA is housed in a historic downtown warehouse circa 1910. The Renaissance Pere Marquette Hotel in New Orleans was originally built in 1925 and considered a "skyscraper" during that era. The hotel is now converted to a sophisticated jazz inspired hotel. Located in Miami, Florida and situated on Millionaire Row, the famous Eden Roc, a Renaissance Beach Resort & Spa has been known as a landmark and playground for politicians and celebrities since its completion in 1956. Opened in 1918, The Renaissance Casa De Palmas Hotel is considered the best place to document the post-war transformation of McAllen, Texas after the Mexican Revolution.

For more information about historic Renaissance Hotels & Resorts, please contact jackie.berra@marriott.com. For more information about Renaissance Hotels & Resorts, visit http://www.revealrenaissance.com/.

Renaissance Hotels & Resorts is an upscale brand providing full-service accommodations with local flair to discriminating business and leisure travelers at more than 140 properties in 28 countries. The brand's presence is strong in the U.S. and worldwide, with approximately half of its properties in North America and half throughout Europe, South America, the Caribbean, the Middle East and Asia.

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Contact:

Marriott International, Inc. 
Colleen Evans, 
+1-240-888-6920, 
colleen.evans@marriott.com
http://www.revealrenaissance.com
 

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Also See: JER Partners, an arm of J.E. Roberts Cos., Planning 32 million Renovation of The Stanford Court, A Renaissance Hotel, San Francisco / January 2007
Shaner Hotel Group Hotel Re-flags the Historic Savery in Des Moines as the Renaissance Savery Hotel / Oct 2002

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