Hotels with Hearth and History

Getting into the mood to celebrate Presidents’ Week? Warm up this winter and cozy up to real wood-burning fireplaces at historic hotels across the country and sip fireside cocktails at Ulysses S. Grant, Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan, and Benjamin Harrison’s, favorite getaways, not to mention John Steinbeck’s, and John D. Rockefeller’s and feel transported in time. Here’s a sampling:

Baron’s Cove in nearby Sag Harbor offers historical cocktails in honor of its impressive literary background. Sip “The Steinbeck” – renamed Jack Rose cocktail was one of John Steinbeck’s favorite libations.

BARON’S COVE, Sag Harbor, N.Y.
Offering one of the coziest spots and sweeping harbor views in the Hamptons year-round is the sophisticated Baron’s Cove in Sag Harbor, New York. This 67-room luxe resort offers three wood-burning fireplaces for guests to enjoy — one in its lobby lounge, a popular retreat for happy hour, live local music, and where guests gather for pre-dinner artisanal cocktails before heading upstairs to dine fireside at The Restaurant at Baron’s Cove. The third wood-burning fireplace is located on the hotel’s covered veranda, the ideal spot for small plates and drinks in the warmer months.

Fun historical fact: Located walking distance from Sag Harbor’s main attractions and town, Baron’s Cove, its restaurant, and fireplaces were once the go-to destinations for prominent guests including John and Elaine Steinbeck, Paul Newman, Art Garfunkel, George Plimpton, Billy Joel, Richard Kind, Truman Capote, Jason Pollock, and Willem and Elaine de Kooning.

What to sip fireside: Baron’s Cove offers historical cocktails in honor of its impressive literary background. Sip “The Steinbeck” – this renamed Jack Rose cocktail was one of the author’s favorite libations.

The Broadmoor has been a gateway for travelers to experience the American West since it opened its doors in 1918, when John D. Rockefeller was its first celebrity guest. Cozy up at century-old fireplaces after a day enjoying wilderness activities.

THE BROADMOOR, Colorado Springs, Colo.
Head out to where the west begins for fireside warmth. Set in the Rocky Mountain foothills of Colorado Springs,The Broadmoor has more than 50 sleeping room fireplaces and eight public fireplaces (not including exterior firepits!). While not all of the fireplaces are wood-burning (there are seven fireplaces using wood located throughout the resort, including three in the resort’s luxurious Estate House), these comfortable and elegant hearths offer the ideal setting after a long day of western adventure for an evening of Rocky Mountain relaxation.

The Broadmoor has been a gateway for travelers to experience the American West since it opened its doors in 1918 – that means that guests have been enjoying these original fireplaces for a century. With its 5,000 acres, wilderness experiences, iconic golf courses, and award-winning restaurants and spa, this legendary property offers its guests distinct, luxury accommodations and authentic western adventures and experiences such as real cattle drives, falconry, fly fishing.

Fun historical fact: John D. Rockefeller was the Broadmoor’s first celebrity guest at the private opening of the historic hotel back in June 1918.

What to sip fireside: The Broadmoor’s founder, Spencer Penrose, enjoyed an occasional cocktail and even had a bloodshot glass eye that he would put in to replace his clear glass eye after he had been drinking. One of Penrose’s favorite drinks was the Fish House Punch – a nod to his membership in Philadelphia’s Rabbit Club, which was founded in 1866. Modeled after the Rabbit Club, Penrose founded the Cooking Club in Colorado Springs in 1908 and introduced Fish House Punch, which is still served there today. The Broadmoor’s “Fish House” was named in honor of that tradition and serves Fish House Punch made with the original recipe with Appleton Rum, brandy, peach schnapps, and prepared sweet and sour.

Presidents Ulysses S. Grant, Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan, and Benjamin Harrison have all stayed at Congress Hall, in historic Cape May, NJ, over the past two centuries and likely sipped a drink while conversing around the same fireplace guests relax around today.

For more than 200 years, Congress Hall, the Big House by the Sea, has charmed visitors not only during the popular summer months at the South Jersey shore, but during the winter months as well. A haven of relaxed elegance, fun, and historic charm, Congress Hall is just a few stops from the ocean in the heart of Cape May’s famed historic district. Guests love to gather around the massive wood-burning fireplace in the recently redesigned Brown Room, a sophisticated lounge, while enjoying expertly crafted cocktails and small plates and listening to live music. The Blue Pig Tavern, the hotel’s signature restaurant that features farm-to-table menu items from their own 62-acre farm just a mile away, boasts a wood-burning fireplace surrounded by a beautiful brick mantelpiece. The fires are always burning from morning to night – making it a wonderful place for guests to enjoy an early cup of coffee or a late night cocktail while basking it its glow.

Fun historical fact: United States Presidents Ulysses S. Grant, Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan, and Benjamin Harrison have all stayed at Congress Hall over the past two centuries and likely sipped a drink while conversing around the same fireplace guests relax around today.

What to sip fireside: The hotel offers a list of Presidential Cocktails inspired by the Commanders-in-Chief who visited the property. Try the “drunken theatrics,” inspired by Franklin Pierce, who was known to have a passion for enjoying a nice whiskey during his stay at Congress Hall.

Situated on 1,300 acres in the woodlands of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, and boasting over 600 rooms plus its own on-property waterpark, the award-winning Grand Geneva Resort & Spa offers a variety of adventures and distinct, relaxing accommodations including its popular lobby lounge fireplace which immediately invites you to sit back and relax. Throughout the year guests can be found savoring cocktails next to the lobby lounge’s roaring wood-burning fireplace while enjoying live entertainment and views of the resort’s outdoor pool and Wisconsin countryside. Dinner guests at the resort’s Ristorante Brissago also get to enjoy fresh seasonal dishes prepared over the restaurant’s very own wood-burning stove, offering an authentic wood-fired cooking and dining experience.

Fun historical fact: In its earlier life, before becoming Grand Geneva in 1993, the resort was the Lake Geneva Playboy Club, the first Playboy Club Hotel to open in the United States with a cabaret stage that attracted some of the era’s most famous acts, including Bob Hope and Sonny and Cher. In 1968, Lake Geneva government officials and local dignitaries joined Hugh Hefner in celebrating the property’s grand opening.

What to sip fireside: There’s no better cocktail to enjoy while sitting fireside than the resort’s drink by the same name made with Bulleit Bourbon, Oloroso Sherry, Giffard Abricot du Roussillon, simply syrup, and bar keep Chinese bitters.

KINGSMILL RESORT, Williamsburg, Va.
Kingsmill Resort, a AAA Four Diamond condominium resort on the James River in Williamsburg, Virginia, offers newly renovated one-, two- or three-bedroom condos featuring wood-burning fireplaces. During winter months, Kingsmill guest service members bring firewood, build and light the fire for you on request. Late fall through Jan. 1, guests are given complimentary s’mores kits at the front desk before heading out each night and can roast them by the outdoor wood-burning fire pit from 5-10 p.m. Kingsmill features four restaurants and a wealth of activities from championship golf to tennis, from bike riding to pools. All multi-bedroom condo accommodations feature a full kitchen, massive living room/dining room and washer/dryer.

Fun historic fact: On the colorful scorecard, hole 17 at Kingsmill Resort’s River Golf Course should read: “You are about to play the most historic 177 yards of golf in America. Take it all in. Don’t rush. Look around and imagine how this very land played a role in American history starting in 1607.” Thanks to its strategic and inviting position overlooking the James River, the tee box features clearly visible remnants of the earthen works (a hastily made fort or defensive structure) from the American Revolution, which was then repurposed (location, location, location) in the War Between the States. Today a Civil War cannon and flag guard this sacred ground. But well before aggression – or the early settlers who arrived to this very shoreline in seek a new home – Native Americans lived here and enjoyed the oysters still plentiful and being served up at the 19th hole here at Kingsmill. Today, when golfers walk between the tee box and the green at the River Course’s 17th hole, they are stepping on the same land where the Jamestown settlers stepped off their boat in 1607. Those settlers would later sail upriver and start what is now the United States of America at Jamestown. The old pilings in the river are the location of their original port and start of the road from the James River to Williamsburg, the amazing colonial town that’s still thriving 400 years later. To the left of the hole are the foundations of what was basically a pub, early warehouse, hotel and some say a brothel all dating way back before 1776. That’s 177 yards of history from the Native Americans to the Jamestown Settlers, Williamsburg, the American Revolution and Civil War to where LPGA players now tee off in an annual professional golf tournament. Kingsmill Resort is also the place where Presidents Clinton, Bush (43) and Obama have come to meet, relax, work and rehearse for debates. Today golfers, families, couples and friends come to Kingsmill Resort’s hallowed ground to make their own history.

What to sip fireside: Sit by the heat and dream of warmer days to come with the hotel’s Sunset Martini made with Malibu, Crème de Banana, and Pineapple.

Located on the fringe of the French Quarter, The Ritz-Carlton New Orleans offers guests the comforts of wood-burning fireplaces in its Ritz-Carlton Suite, Library Lounge, and Club Lounge.

Fun historic fact: The Ritz-Carlton New Orleans is housed in the original 1908 Beaux Arts Maison Blanche building.

What to sip fireside: Curl up with a glass of wine from the hotel’s very cool wine dispensing machine. The wine dispenser is The Enomatic Elite wine serving system based out of Italy created by two Tuscan entrepreneurs. It’s an innovative DIY system for preserving and serving wine by the glass, allowing countless benefits such as preserving the taste, ensuring proper temperature, and the perfect pour of 6oz. There is even a function that allows the user to get a taste before they decide to go for the full 6oz pour.

The hotel serves chilled white varieties such as Steven Kent’s Ritz-Carlton Cuvee Chardonnay, Montevina Chardonnay, Emmolo Sauvignon Blanc, Leth Riesling, Terlato Pinot Grigio, and Mantanzas Creek Chardonnay.
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