Entries in ‘Lodging’ Journal

Book Review: The Hiltons

Friday April 4, 2014 at 6:06 AM | 0 Comments

"The Hiltons", book review

Book Review: The Hiltons

Anyone who has traveled and slept in a hotel is familiar with the Hilton hotel brand. Known as “the Innkeeper to the World” Conrad Hilton opened his first hotel in Cisco, Texas with $5,000 to his name, assistance from friends and a small bank loan. The book The Hiltons: The True Story of an American Dynasty, is an interesting look into the lives of the Hilton family and the powerful empire Conrad Hilton created, one hotel at a time.

Pioneer in hotel industry

A new breed of businessman, Conrad firmly believed in the travel industry and had the vision to expand his hotel chain to Europe. A religious man, he referred to his hotels as his women; the more conquests the better. Starting in Texas, he worked his way to San Francisco, purchasing the Sir Francis Drake hotel, moving on to New York and the purchase of The Plaza, his ultimate business achievement.

European hotel expansion

In 1952, Conrad acquired the Castellana Hilton in Madrid, his first European hotel, followed by Hilton Istanbul in 1955, increasing tourism in Turkey by 60 percent. Soon Continental Hilton was opened in Mexico City and the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles, California. Always the visionary, Conrad pioneered the concept of a central telephone reservation system, introduced air conditioning in every hotel room and was the first chain in the country to offer television sets in every hotel room.

Hilton press trips

With his Los Angeles-based hotel empire, Conrad Hilton was a powerful businessman with plenty of Hollywood connections. All of the A-list celebrities and movie stars wanted to be seen at the Hilton hotel opening parties. According to reporter Hedda Hopper, there was “never a dull moment at a Hilton press junket.” Chartered jets to exotic hotel locations with overflowing food and wine were the norm.

Airport hotels

As more people began to travel by air, Conrad saw the need for short hotel stays. With a strong dislike for the word “motel” Conrad adopted the word “inn” and purchased hotel chains near airports.

While author J. Randy Taraborrelli includes plenty of stories about the Hilton children throughout the book – including the entrepreneurial Paris Hilton, as well as sister Nicky’s unsuccessful foray into the hotel world with Nicky O Hotels, I chose to focus my book review on Conrad Hilton’s impact on the hotel and travel industry. The Hiltons is an engaging saga of the failures and successes of a powerful American family in the highly competitive hotel business.

Where to buy:

The Hiltons The True Story of an American Dynasty

Suggested retail: $21.99-$30. Check website for details.

Book review by Nancy D. Brown. Grand Central Publishing provided me with The Hiltons book for review purposes, as well as jacket cover photo.

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Hotel Review: The Peabody Memphis

Friday March 14, 2014 at 6:06 AM | 0 Comments

"The Peabody" Memphis

The Peabody hotel review

As a college student studying hotel & resort management, Tennessee native Anthony Petrina didn’t have any idea that he would one day be herding a small flock of ducks up and down The Peabody Memphis red carpet. After college, the University of Memphis graduate enjoyed working the hotel’s restaurant scene. But like any motivated employee, he spread his wings and took on a new level of responsibility as Duckmaster at The Peabody Memphis. I was able to chat with Petrina recently about his role as Duckmaster when I was writing my hotel review of The Peabody Memphis.


Peabody duck, cupcake

The Peabody Hotel’s duck cupcake

The Peabody Memphis Duckmaster

What exactly is the job description of The Peabody Duckmaster? “I’m in charge of the care and protection of The Peabody Ducks, an 80 year old Southern tradition hosted her at the hotel,” notes Petrina with a deep sense of pride.

With only four Peabody Duckmaster’s having come before him since the title originated in the 1940′s, Petrina is mindful of the history his job entails.


Peabody Memphis, chandelier

One of many chandelier’s at The Peabody Memphis hotel

Peabody Memphis luxury hotel

Built in 1925, The Peabody Memphis is a four-star hotel located in Tennessee. Not only is The Peabody on the National Register of Historic Places, this Historic Hotel is home to more balls and formal gatherings than most places in Tennessee. During my Saturday night stay, the “South’s Grand Hotel” lobby was buzzing with activity while ladies and gentlemen, dressed in formal attire, waltzed in and out of one of several ballrooms located on the mezzanine.

Peabody Memphis deluxe hotel rooms & suites


Peabody hotel, deluxe double

The Peabody hotel deluxe double room

This was my first time visiting Memphis, Tennessee, so I’m glad we splurged on The Peabody. The location of the hotel, in downtown Memphis, was great for walking to shops and restaurants. I wish we had time to enjoy the indoor swimming pool or take advantage of the legendary Sunday brunch at The Peabody, but we were only here for a one night stay after returning from our visit to Oxford, Mississippi. Our son will be attending the University of Mississippi, so we will no doubt be returning to Memphis.

As we were traveling with our teenager, we selected the deluxe double room, one of 464 smoke-free deluxe guest rooms in the hotel. There are also junior suites and pet-friendly hotel rooms at The Peabody. All rooms come with a desk, chair and work station, 42″ flat screen tv and high-speed wireless internet. I took advantage of the complimentary overnight shoeshine service offered to hotel guests and we have no regrets ordering the homemade cookies and milk that we had delivered to our hotel room.

Peabody ducks

Ducks swimming at The Peabody Memphis hotel

Duck-friendly Peabody Memphis

As University of Oregon graduates, my husband and I quacked up at all of the duck-themed items in The Peabody. Our U of Oregon mascot is Donald Duck, so I got a kick out of the duck shaped soap in our bathroom and the Peabody rubber duck in our hotel room, as well as the duck logos on the pool and bath towels. The Peabody silk scarf is gorgeous for the duck lover!

Insider Tip

For the history buffs, The Peabody Memphis offers a daily history tour (11:30-12:30) of the historic hotel led by the Duckmaster. The cost is currently $5.00 for hotel guests. The Duck March takes places daily at 11:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Check the website for details.  For additional insider tips follow Luxury Travel Writer @Nancydbrown on Twitter and follow @PeabodyMemphis.

What are your favorite things to see and do in Memphis, Tennessee?

If You Go:

The Peabody Memphis (901) 529-4000
149 Union Avenue
Memphis, Tennessee 38103

Article written by, video and photos courtesy of Nancy D. Brown. I was offered a media rate at The Peabody Memphis. Deluxe double room rate $269 – check website for current pricing.

Sage Inn, Provincetown, Massachusetts

Wednesday February 5, 2014 at 8:08 AM | 0 Comments

The patio in front of Sage Inn.

Sage Inn in picturesque Provincetown.

Location, location, location!

Smack in the middle of Commercial Street, Provincetown’s bustling main drag, yet tucked away slightly down a narrow brick alleyway, is the well-situated Sage Inn. Lively bars, boutiques, restaurants, and galleries line Commercial St. in the heart of “Ptown.” And Sage is a relaxing oasis close to it all.

Rooms are small but many are newly renovated. Rates during the off-season range from $85 for a classic queen room to $130 for the premium guest room with a king-sized bed. Prices jump to $225-$300 during the summer season, when Cape Cod comes alive.

A beautifully landscaped brick patio, (including a living wall) out front is the perfect place to relax with a book on a comfy couch. One of the proprietors has some mad gardening skills.

Travel & Leisure dubbed gay-friendly Provincetown as one of America’s Most Romantic Towns and for good reason. It simply brims with charm and the harbor and beaches are the ultimate in picturesque.

The Sage Lounge is open year round and offers hand-crafted cocktails infused with herbs & fresh fruit as well as small plates ideal for a light dinner or dessert. Think lobster sliders, a meza trio with grilled pita, parmesan fries with truffle oil, or the ubiquitous Cape Cod clam chowder.

Sage is a popular spot for weddings, conferences, and other events like the upcoming Valentine’s Weekend four-course dinner or the hands-on cooking class with Sage’s award-winning chef Lucio Garnica and pastry chef, Alana Garnica.

Sage Inn
336 Commercial St, Provincetown, MA 02657
(508) 487-6424