fbpx
Celebrating the Unique Culinary Traditions of the Finest Historic Hotels in the United States
Food Travel

Celebrating the Unique Culinary Traditions of the Finest Historic Hotels in the United States

Celebrating the Unique Culinary Traditions of the Finest Historic Hotels in the United States March 29, 2022
Palace Hotel San Francisco, California - Courtesy of Historic Hotels of America - Guild Magazine

Editor: Jose Morales

Palace Hotel San Francisco, California - Courtesy of Historic Hotels of America - Guild Magazine
Celebrating the Unique Culinary Traditions of the Finest Historic Hotels in the United States.
"What better way to experience a part of history than to taste the recipes created, invented, or perfected over the past two hundred years at Historic Hotels of America. These tastes of history are now part of our nation's culinary heritage and culinary traditions." - Lawrence Horwitz

New York – Historic Hotels of America, by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, is a program that recognizes, celebrates, and promotes over 300 of the finest historic hotels in the United States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Many of these legendary hotels have made significant contributions to this country’s culinary heritage and traditions. The Omni Parker House, which opened in 1855, is famous for creating the original Boston Cream Pie, anointed as Massachusetts’s official state dessert in 1996. Tomato juice was the serendipitous invention of a chef at French Lick Spring Hotel, concocted when the kitchen ran out of oranges for juice during breakfast, and The Green Goddess Dressing was first made at the Palace Hotel in 1923. 

Historic Hotels of America define culinary heritage as including a food or drink that was created, invented, or first served at a historic hotel and is still served today, and defines culinary tradition as including a food or drink that was perfected by the hotel’s chefs or has been offered to guests for at least 25 years regardless of its origins.

Here, we bring you the 2022 Top 25 Historic Hotels of America Most Unique Culinary Traditions List, offering a range of authentic food and drinks recipes first created at a historic hotel or that are an intricate part of their history. “What better way to experience a part of history than to taste the recipes created, invented, or perfected over the past two hundred years at Historic Hotels of America,” said Lawrence Horwitz, Executive Vice President, Historic Hotels of America and Historic Hotels Worldwide. “These tastes of history, many created for a special event for presidents, world leaders, celebrities, special guests, and local events and celebrations, are now part of our nation’s culinary heritage and culinary traditions. At Historic Hotels of America, learning about history can be fun, delicious, savory, sweet, and tasty.”

2022 Top 25 Historic Hotels of America Most Unique Culinary Traditions
John Rutledge House Inn Charleston South Carolina - Courtesy of Historic Hotels of America - Guild Magazine
Built in 1763, John Rutledge House Inn was once the home of John Rutledge, a signer of the U.S. Constitution.

1 – John Rutledge House Inn (1763)

Charleston, South Carolina

The very first bowl of She-Crab Soup was whipped up at the historic Rutledge House in Charleston, South Carolina. In the 1920s, Charleston’s mayor Robert Goodwyn Rhett lived at what is now the historic John Rutledge House Inn, inducted into Historic Hotels of America in 1989 and winner of a Historic Hotels Awards of Excellence honor in 2021. The mayor was anticipating a visit from U.S. President William Taft during his tour of Charleston. Aiming to do something unique and special for the President, Mayor Rhett requested his butler to “dress up” their standard crab soup. His new presidential interpretation included orange crab eggs, giving the soup a bright color and delicious taste. Thus, She-Crab Soup was created, beginning a legacy and practically a rite of passage for all Charleston foodies. She-Crabs (roe-carrying female crabs) are a true delicacy because they are more flavourful than their male partners, He-Crabs. The orange-hued eggs of she-crabs give the soup additional flavor and color. She-Crabs are challenging to find in many parts of the United States, so white crab meat can be substituted. Hard-boiled egg yolk can also be crumbled in the soup to imitate crab egg.

John Rutledge House Inn Charleston South Carolina - Courtesy of Historic Hotels of America - Guild Magazine
The John Rutledge House Inn classic She-Crab Soup.
John Rutledge House Inn Charleston South Carolina - Courtesy of Historic Hotels of America - Guild Magazine
The hotel’s Broad Street location is perfect for exploring surrounding Charleston.
John Rutledge House Inn’s She-Crab Soup Recipe

5 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
2 cups crab meat
3 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup chicken stock
5 tablespoons flour
2/3 teaspoon mace
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup Worcestershire
3 tablespoons dry sherry
Salt if necessary, to taste
Optional: 2 hard boiled egg yolks, grated + paprika 

Directions: Heat butter in large sauce pan. Add celery, mace and white pepper. Cook over low heat until celery is almost transparent. While celery is cooking, heat milk and chicken stock in small pan just enough to make milk hot without boiling. When celery mix is done, add flour to make a roux. Do not brown but heat enough to bubble for several minutes. Slowly add milk and chicken stock to roux, add salt for taste. Add crab meat, heavy cream, Worcestershire, and sherry. Simmer for 30 minutes or until thickened to appropriate consistency. For a garnish boil 2 eggs. Take the yolk out and grate. Sprinkle over the tops with paprika.

The Omni Homestead Resort Allegheny Mountains Virginia - Courtesy of Historic Hotels of America - Guild Magazine
Southern hospitality and a charming elegance have made The Omni Homestead Resort a premier destination for 23 U.S. presidents.

2 – The Omni Homestead Resort (1766)

Hot Springs, Virginia

Fresh, local trout has been a favored menu item at The Omni Homestead Resort for more than a century. Allegheny Mountain Trout has been a guest favorite at this hotel for generations. The Omni Homestead Resort was inducted into Historic Hotels of America in 1989, and it was a winner at the Historic Hotels Annual Awards of Excellence in 2016 and 2017. Its trout entrée has been revamped over the years, and the Homestead presently features Sautéed Allegheny Mountain Trout Almondine. It is served with marble potatoes, macerated grapes, haricots verts, and brown butter sauce. The trout is sourced from the Virginia Trout Company, located less than an hour away from the resort, through a partnership that is now one of the longest-running between the resort and local food vendors. The recipe was featured in Former Executive Chef Albert Schnarwyler’s 1989 book, Dining at The Homestead.

The Omni Homestead Resort Allegheny Mountains Virginia - Courtesy of Historic Hotels of America - Guild Magazine
The Allegheny Mountain Trout.
The Omni Homestead Resort Allegheny Mountains Virginia - Courtesy of Historic Hotels of America - Guild Magazine
You can enjoy fine dining and dancing in the elegance of The Dining Room at The Omni Homestead Resort.
The Red Lion Inn Stockbridge, Massachusetts - Courtesy of Historic Hotels of America - Guild Magazine
The Red Lion Inn is home to unique and historic accommodations, from quaint village homes to a renovated firehouse.

3 – The Red Lion Inn (1773)

Stockbridge, Massachusetts

Apple pie à la mode is a longstanding tradition and a favored dessert for the generations of guests and family who have dined at The Red Lion Inn, which was inducted into Historic Hotels of America in 1989. The family recipe was passed down to her family from Mary Pratt, grandmother of The Inn’s current owner, Nancy Fitzpatrick. “When we first opened, Nana May (as we called her) went out to the kitchen and showed the chef how she made her pie. She was a wonderful cook. There was always dessert at her house. It was the pie my mother made when I was growing up.”  

The recipe has been unchanged since Nancy’s mother and father, Jane and John Fitzpatrick, opened the Inn in 1969. The Red Lion Inn’s apple pie with vanilla ice cream is relished by guests year-round. Besides being served at lunch and dinner, it is also part of the Inn’s special holiday menus.

The Red Lion Inn Stockbridge Massachusetts - Courtesy of Historic Hotels of America - Guild Magazine
The Red Lion Inn Apple Pie.
The Red Lion Inn Stockbridge Massachusetts - Courtesy of Historic Hotels of America - Guild Magazine
The Red Lion Inn dates back to 1773.
The Red Lion Inn Pie Crust

1/2 cup butter, cold
1/2 cup shortening
2 1/4 cups of flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk, cold

Directions: Blend the butter and shortening together with a wooden spoon in a small bowl. Sift the flour and salt together into a large bowl. Cut in the butter and shortening, using a pastry blender or two knives, until the mixture resembles cornmeal. Add the cold milk, and blend until absorbed. Divide the dough in half and roll each half into a ball. Wrap them in plastic wrap and refrigerate them until chilled, about 30 minutes. (Or, if using a food processor, place the butter, shortening, flour, and salt in the bowl; fit with a steel blade. Process until the mixture reaches the consistency of cornmeal. With the processor on, add the milk slowly through the funnel until the dough forms a ball.) When ready to bake the pie, roll each half of the chilled pie dough out on a floured board until slightly larger than the pie plate. Fit one half into the pie plate, place a filling inside, add the top crust, and flute the edges together.

Inn at Perry Cabin St. Michaels, Maryland - Courtesy of Historic Hotels of America - Guild Magazine
The Inn at Perry Cabin is a boutique 78-room resort, combining historical architectural features with classic American design.

4 – Inn at Perry Cabin (1816)

St. Michaels, Maryland

Crab cakes can be found in various states, but Maryland’s version is world-famous for a reason. An important part of the Chesapeake Bay’s heritage, the Blue Crab is a regional delicacy and is sought after by Maryland residents and visitors alike. The waterways surrounding the Inn have fueled a thriving crab and seafood industry since long before the building was built in 1816. Crab cakes have been a staple menu item throughout the state since the 1930s, and the Inn at Perry Cabin, which was inducted into Historic Hotels of America in 2018, has served its own version since the hotel opened. With a belief in remaining “Loyal to Local,” crabs are harvested daily by Eastern Shore watermen and delivered fresh to the Inn’s kitchen to be used in a variety of dishes. Crab cakes made from Blue Crab can be enjoyed for breakfast (Maryland Crab Cake Benedict), lunch (Crab Cake BLT), and dinner (Maryland Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes). The crab cakes at Inn at Perry Cabin offer an authentic taste of the Chesapeake Bay and a bite into Maryland’s culinary history.

Inn at Perry Cabin St. Michaels, Maryland - Courtesy of Historic Hotels of America - Guild Magazine
Maryland Crab Cake Benedict.
Inn at Perry Cabin St. Michaels, Maryland - Courtesy of Historic Hotels of America - Guild Magazine
The hotel that was built by Samuel Hambleton in the early 1800s.
The Willard InterContinental Washington DC - Courtesy of Historic Hotels of America - Guild Magazine
Located two blocks from The White House, The Willard has hosted almost every U.S. president since Franklin Pierce in 1853.

5 – The Willard InterContinental, Washington DC (1818)

Washington, D.C.

Dating to 1830 when Kentucky Senator Henry Clay attempted to order a Mint Julep at the original bar, the Southern-style Mint Julep is the signature drink served at the Round Robin Bar of The Willard InterContinental in Washington DC. As the hotel bartender was not familiar with this cocktail, Senator Clay asked if he could show him how to make a Mint Julep. Traditionally, Mint Juleps were made with rum, brandy, or rye. Henry Clay’s version featured sour mash corn whiskey distilled in Bourbon County, Kentucky. Before he left The Willard, Senator Clay wrote the original ingredients on a napkin for the bartenders to keep, and the Henry Clay Mint Julep has been the Round Robin Bar’s signature cocktail since, with The Willard selling more than 20,000 of the historic cocktail yearly. The Willard InterContinental, Washington DC, was inducted into Historic Hotels of America in 2010. As bartender Jim Hewes  named Historic Hotels Awards of Excellence Hotel Historian of the Year in 2017  says, “the Mint Julep is a light libation of extraordinary character.”

Henry Clay Mint Julep.
The Willard InterContinental Washington DC - Courtesy of Historic Hotels of America - Guild Magazine
The Willard is also one of Washington’s most prestigious holiday destinations.
Historically, French Lick Springs Hotel attracted guests from around the world to experience the “miracle waters” of nearby sulfur springs.

6 – French Lick Springs Hotel (1845)

French Lick, Indiana

In the summer of 1917, at the French Lick Springs Hotel, Chef Louis Perrin was getting ready to prepare breakfast for a crowd of guests at The Springs Restaurant when the Chef realized that they had run out of oranges to make orange juice. Using the resources available, Chef Perrin grabbed a handful of tomatoes and began creating a new beverage – tomato juice. Using ripe tomatoes, a hint of sugar, and his secret sauce, the Chef created a new breakfast drink which became a tremendous success. News of the drink spread quickly throughout the country, and people arrived at the hotel just to try the intriguing concoction. As The Springs kitchen could not keep up with the demand, a tomato juice company was founded in French Lick and given the secret recipe to make the juice in large quantities for the hotel. As demand continued to increase nationally, by 1928, canned tomato juice was available on the commercial market everywhere.

The invention of the tomato juice became another reason for visitors to flock to French Lick Springs Hotel.
The hotel’s Beaux-Arts architecture and ornate masonry were updated in a $600 million restoration project.
The Omni Parker House Boston, Massachusetts - Courtesy of Historic Hotels of America - Guild Magazine
The Omni Parker House is the longest continuously operating hotel in the United States.

7 – Omni Parker House, Boston (1855)

Boston, Massachusetts

As the longest continuously operating hotel in the United States, The Omni Parker House boasts some of the most historic and prestigious culinary traditions. First opening its doors in 1855 in Boston, Massachusetts, The Omni Parker House was inducted into Historic Hotels of America in 2006. Its Boston Cream Pie, the custard-filled cake with chocolate frosting, was originally called the “Parker House Chocolate Cream Pie.” The pie (technically a cake) was created and served at Parker’s Restaurant from the opening of the hotel in October 1856. The original Parker House recipe became so famous that in 1958 it became a Betty Crocker® boxed mix. In 1996, thanks in part to a Norton High School civics class that sponsored the bill, Boston Cream Pie was declared the official Massachusetts State Dessert. Today, you can order various interpretations of “Boston Cream Pie” in restaurants and cafés around the world. Those who want to taste the original can either dine in at the Omni Parker House or order it online. Along with the famous dessert, the hotel kitchen also produced the original buttery, soft Parker House Rolls. Anointed “America’s first soft dinner roll,” the recipe was closely guarded and top-secret until 1933 when U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt requested the rolls be served at a White House dinner. According to legend, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt asked that the recipe be forwarded to them at the White House. The Omni Parker House obliged.

In 1996, Boston Cream Pie was declared the official Massachusetts State Dessert.
The Omni Parker House Boston, Massachusetts - Courtesy of Historic Hotels of America - Guild Magazine
The Omni Parker House has hosted every American president since Ulysses S. Grant.
The Inn at Leola Village Leola, Pennsylvania - Courtesy of Historic Hotels of America - Guild Magazine
The original The Inn at Leola Village property opened in 1867.

8 – The Inn at Leola Village, Est. 1867 (1867)

Leola, Pennsylvania

The Inn at Leola Village integrates regional Amish heritage with a rustic Italian influence to make farm-fresh breads, specialty kinds of pasta, and enticing entrees. The luxury countryside complex was once an Amish farm and was converted into an inn during the early 2000s. It was inducted as a member of Historic Hotels of America in 2001. Food is part of the Inn’s heritage. Many herbs and vegetables are cultivated at the Inn, including the rosemary used in its savory focaccia bread. The Inn at Leola Village’s recipe for focaccia bread dates to the mid-1800s and was passed onto the business from the Amish family who farmed the land. Origin unknown, the base recipe was passed on from Ada Fisher, a local Amish woman who once lived on the land where the Inn is located. Her legacy is honored at the Inn to this day. The chefs at Leola Village put some rustic Italian flare into the bread to create their own signature recipe when the Inn opened. 

The Inn at Leola Village's recipe for focaccia bread dates to the mid-1800s.
The Inn at Leola Village Leola, Pennsylvania - Courtesy of Historic Hotels of America - Guild Magazine
This AAA Four Diamond Award recipient blends historic charm and modern amenities.
Palmer House Chicago, Illinois - Courtesy of Historic Hotels of America - Guild Magazine
Palmer House is both listed in the National Register of Historic Places and as a Chicago landmark by the Chicago Landmarks Commission.

9 – Palmer House®, a Hilton Hotel (1871)

Chicago, Illinois

Bertha Honoré Palmer, the wife of the Chicago merchant and real estate developer who built the Palmer House hotel, directed the Palmer House chef to create a unique confection to be served at the Columbian Exposition World’s Fair in 1893. The hotel chef invented the chocolate brownie: a dense chocolate square – somewhere between fudge and cake – topped with sugary walnuts and glazed. The Palmer House chocolate brownie recipe has existed for more than a century and is the same one used for the brownies served in the Palmer House Hilton today. It remains one of the hotel’s most popular desserts. The first reference to the “brownie” in America appeared in the Sears Roebuck Catalog published in Chicago in 1898. The hotel was inducted into Historic Hotels of America in 2007 and has since won the Historic Hotels of America Awards of Excellence in 2021, 2018, 2016, 2015, and 2014. A leader in hospitality to this day, the hotel still crafts its brownies according to its original recipe. 

Palmer House Chicago, Illinois - Courtesy of Historic Hotels of America - Guild Magazine
The brownie was created in the Palmer House in the late 1800s.
Palmer House Chicago, Illinois - Courtesy of Historic Hotels of America - Guild Magazine
The original structure burned in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.
Palace Hotel San Francisco, California - Courtesy of Historic Hotels of America - Guild Magazine
When the Palace opened in 1875, it was San Francisco’s first luxury hotel and the largest in the world.

10 – Palace Hotel (1875)

San Francisco, California

The Green Goddess Dressing was created at the Palace Hotel in 1923 by Executive Chef Phillip Roemer. Chef Roemer created the dressing for a banquet held at the Palace, which was San Francisco’s first luxury hotel and the largest in the world when it opened in 1875. The Palace Hotel was inducted into Historic Hotels of America in 2010 and was honored at the Historic Hotels Awards of Excellence in 2016. The 1923 banquet was held to honor actor George Arliss, who was the lead in William Archer’s hit play, “The Green Goddess.” After the banquet, the Green Goddess Salad became a permanent menu item at the historic Palace Hotel. In the early years, when there was limited access to fresh produce, the dressing was served with shredded iceberg lettuce, canned vegetables and a choice of chicken, shrimp, or crab. Over the years, the salad has evolved. Today, the salad is referred to as The Garden Court signature crab salad and features fresh, locally grown California vegetables, farm-sourced mixed baby greens, and Dungeness crab meat. The salad is offered with the famous Green Goddess Dressing.

The Green Goddess Dressing is said to have been invented by Chef Philip Roemer in 1923.
Palace Hotel San Francisco, California - Courtesy of Historic Hotels of America - Guild Magazine
After destruction in The Great 1906 San Francisco Earthquake, the Palace was rebuilt reopening in 1909.
Grand Hotel Mackinac Island, Michigan - Courtesy of Historic Hotels of America - Guild Magazine
America’s Original Grand Hotel remains an icon amongst summer resorts since 1887.

11 – Grand Hotel (1887)

Mackinac Island, Michigan

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Grand Hotel’s signature dessert, the Pecan Ball, which has been served at the Mackinac Island resort since 1947. This prestigious Great Lakes resort was founded in 1887 and was inducted into Historic Hotels of America in 2001, recognized for its distinction as a winner of Historic Hotels Awards of Excellence in 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2021. The recipe was adapted from the L.S. Aryes department store that opened in Indianapolis in 1872, where the dessert was offered in their tea room. The owners of the Grand Hotel loved it so much that, in 1947, they hired someone to recreate it to be served at the hotel. It quickly became the resort’s most favored dessert, loved by guests to this day, as evidenced by the 60,000 Grand Pecan Balls prepared by the hotel yearly. 

Grand Hotel Mackinac Island, Michigan - Courtesy of Historic Hotels of America - Guild Magazine
2022 marks the 75th anniversary of the Grand Hotel's signature dessert, the Pecan Ball.
Grand Hotel Mackinac Island, Michigan - Courtesy of Historic Hotels of America - Guild Magazine
Cars are not allowed on Mackinac Island and horse-drawn carriages are the preferred modes of transportation.
St. Louis Union Station Hotel, St. Louis, Missouri - Courtesy of Historic Hotels of America - Guild Magazine
Recently completing a $30 million renovation, St. Louis Union Station Hotel is a reminder of why travel is truly wonderful.

12 – Louis Union Station Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton (1894)

St. Louis, Missouri

St. Louis Union Station, Curio Collection by Hilton, was once the largest single-level train station in the world and is today a popular family destination. Home to the St. Louis Aquarium, the 200-foot-tall St. Louis Wheel, and dining facilities (including the historic Station Grille), the hotel was appointed a National Historic Landmark by the Secretary of the Department of the Interior in 1970, and it was inducted into Historic Hotels of America in 2014. When the building opened in 1894, it was a symbol of the midwestern city’s wealth and its role as a commercial hub. Soon, the legendary hospitality pioneer Fred Harvey opened a Harvey House dining room at Union Station. Fred Harvey’s chain of restaurants started in Topeka, Kansas, in 1876, and they revolutionized railroad dining. At Harvey restaurants, travelers ordered while still on board the train, and then the orders were wired to the restaurant manager so that travelers could arrive, be seated and served a delicious meal, and then be on their way in as little time and with as little hassle as possible. Fred Harvey’s restaurant in St. Louis is now the St. Louis Union Station Hotel’s Station Grille, a gastropub serving some of the finest food in the city. Twenty-first-century visitors can dine in the same elegant room that travelers did in the station’s railway heydays. Dining with Fred Harvey was an elegant experience with linens imported from Ireland, China from France, and silver from England. Harvey’s waitresses, the famous “Harvey Girls,” were carefully recruited. Famed humorist Will Rogers remarked that Fred Harvey kept the west supplied with “food and wives.”

St. Louis Union Station Hotel, St. Louis, Missouri - Courtesy of Historic Hotels of America - Guild Magazine
The Grand Hall offers a breathtaking setting to enjoy cocktails.
St. Louis Union Station Hotel, St. Louis, Missouri - Courtesy of Historic Hotels of America - Guild Magazine
The hotel preserves historic elements for the modern traveler.
HOTEL DU PONT Wilmington, Delaware - Courtesy of Historic Hotels of America - Guild Magazine
The original property opened in 1913, becoming of the most lavish hotels of America’s Gilded Age.

13 – HOTEL DU PONT (1913)

Wilmington, Delaware

The HOTEL DU PONT’s signature almond macaroons have been served at all lunches, dinners, and banquet events, as well as served as a welcome gift and turndown amenity for over 80 years. So popular are these delicious cookies that the bakeshop makes more than 400,000 per month in batches of 3,000. Gluten-free and containing only four ingredients, the macaroon recipe is simple yet utterly unique to HOTEL DU PONT. This historic hotel in Wilmington, Delaware, was a charter inductee of Historic Hotels of America in 1989 and a winner of the Annual Awards of Excellence in 2020. The macaroon originates in Europe, where it was popularized by French and Italian pastry chefs.

HOTEL DU PONT Wilmington, Delaware - Courtesy of Historic Hotels of America - Guild Magazine
The HOTEL DU PONT's signature almond macaroons.
HOTEL DU PONT Wilmington, Delaware - Courtesy of Historic Hotels of America - Guild Magazine
The interior details were rendered by French and Italian artisans.
European artisans constructed the resort under the guidance of Spencer Penrose.

14 – The Broadmoor (1918)

Colorado Springs, Colorado

A Colorado Springs resort steeped in history spanning almost a hundred years, The Broadmoor is rich in tradition and culture. The Broadmoor was inducted into Historic Hotels of America in 1989 and was a winner of the Historic Hotels of America Awards of Excellence in 2018 and 2017. When it opened a century earlier, on June 29, 1918, the hotel’s first chef, Chef Stratta, prepared the Shrimp Salad Louis for the formal opening festivities. This was not his first meal for the hotel, however: he had begun his service in 1916 by preparing meals for the construction workers building the hotel. Except for an eight-year period from 1932 to 1940, Chef Stratta held the position of Executive Chef until his death in 1976. 

The Broadmoor Colorado Springs, Colorado - Courtesy of Historic Hotels of America - Guild Magazine
From its beginnings, The Broadmoor has offered a dining experience that celebrates modern innovation.
The Broadmoor Colorado Springs, Colorado - Courtesy of Historic Hotels of America - Guild Magazine
Penrose also hired Scottish golf architect Donald Ross to create the hotel's 18-hole golf course.
Historic Hotel Bethlehem Bethlehem, Pennsylvania - Courtesy of Historic Hotels of America - Guild Magazine
In 1741, Moravian Brethren built Bethlehem’s first house on the site of what is now the Historic Hotel Bethlehem.

15 – Historic Hotel Bethlehem (1922)

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

Historic Hotel Bethlehem in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, rekindled a local heritage recipe for its guests to relish on: the Moravian Sugar Cake. This sweet treat is a traditional bread-type dessert started by colonial Moravian settlers in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, circa 1741. The Historic Hotel Bethlehem opened in 1922 and was inducted into Historic Hotels of America in 2002—the hotel was even a winner of the Historic Hotels Awards of Excellence in 2019. The hotel has been serving Moravian Sugar Cake to guests for 20 years as a celebration of the region’s heritage. In the past, the cake would often be served during a “Love Feast,” or a time during worship when people shared simple but satisfying food to sustain themselves. Today, Moravians still have Love Feasts, albeit in different ways. The Historic Hotel Bethlehem started making it for guests to celebrate the community’s deep roots in colonial Moravian-settled Bethlehem.

Historic Hotel Bethlehem Bethlehem, Pennsylvania - Courtesy of Historic Hotels of America - Guild Magazine
The Moravian Sugar Cake.
Historic Hotel Bethlehem Bethlehem, Pennsylvania - Courtesy of Historic Hotels of America - Guild Magazine
Curiously, legend has it that the hotel is haunted.
La Fonda is one of the best-known hotel in America’s oldest capital city.

16 – La Fonda (1922)

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Chile Rellenos have been served at La Fonda in Santa Fe, New Mexico, since 1926, when it was a Fred Harvey House. In 1925, the Inn was leased to legendary hotelier Fred Harvey, and it was operated as one of his renowned Harvey House Hotels for more than 40 years. Having first introduced hotels and dining halls along the railroads in the 1870s, the Harvey Company had a strong reputation for impeccable service standards and introduced those standards to La Fonda during its formative years. In the 1930s, the hotel sought to hire the finest European chefs. Harvey House Hotels were known for their hospitality, comfortable surroundings, and delicious food for weary railroad travelers. Today, though no longer a Fred Harvey Company hotel, the tradition of culinary excellence lives on at La Fonda with a dish is known and loved, “Fred Harvey’s Chile Rellenos.” Fresh ground blue corn, Hatch green chili, anise, posole, and Chimayo Heirloom peppers are just some of the regional specialties popular in the La Fonda kitchen. La Fonda was inducted into Historic Hotels of America in 1991 and was honored as a winner of the Historic Hotels Awards of Excellence in 2016, 2018, and 2020. To celebrate the hotel’s 2022 centennial year, La Fonda’s chef has revived the Fred Harvey era “Blue-Plate Special:” a dinner entrée featuring artisan foods that come directly from the Land of Enchantment.

La Fonda Santa Fe, New Mexico - Courtesy of Historic Hotels of America - Guild Magazine
Fred Harvey's Chile Rellenos are still served since 1926.
La Fonda Santa Fe, New Mexico - Courtesy of Historic Hotels of America - Guild Magazine
It is the only hotel situated on the historic Santa Fe Plaza.
The Brown Hotel Louisville, Kentucky - Courtesy of Historic Hotels of America - Guild Magazine
The Brown Hotel features classic English Renaissance architecture and an elegant Georgian Revival-style exterior.

17 – The Brown Hotel (1923)

Louisville, Kentucky

The Brown Hotel, opening with a grand flourish in 1923, drew over 1,200 guests each evening for its dinner dance by the height of the Roaring ’20s. One evening, in 1926, The Brown Hotel’s chef Fred Schmidt grew tired of serving traditional ham and eggs, and from that night on, he was inspired to create the decadent Hot Brown open-faced sandwich. Delighting his guests with an open-faced turkey sandwich with slices of tomatoes and bacon, all baptized in a bubbling Mornay, The Hot Brown was born! The recipe remains unchanged since this culinary masterpiece was first presented to guests of The Brown Hotel in 1926. Since that night, The Brown Hotel has served more than 1.5 million Hot Browns. Visitors from around the world seek out the now world-famous Hot Brown as an opportunity to try the authentic original. Known as a leader in hospitality, The Brown Hotel was inducted into Historic Hotels of America in 1989, and it was honored as a winner of the Historic Hotels Awards of Excellence in 2018. The Brown Hotel also serves an original cocktail, the Ali Smash, named after legendary boxer Muhammad Ali, who was a frequent guest at the Brown Hotel as a young man. Legend has it that Louisville boxing coach Joseph Martin told young Ali, “You’re spicy as rye, but you might consider learning to fight before getting smashed.”

The Brown Hotel Louisville, Kentucky - Courtesy of Historic Hotels of America - Guild Magazine
The legendary Hot Brown was first served in 1926.
The Brown Hotel Louisville, Kentucky - Courtesy of Historic Hotels of America - Guild Magazine
The Ali Smash is named after frequent famous guest Mohammed Ali.
The Ali Smash

1.5 oz Old Forester Rye
.5 oz PAMA Liquor
2 Lemon Wedges
6 Spearmint Leaves

Directions: In a glass or shaker tin, muddle mint leaves and one lemon wedge in PAMA liquor. Place mixture in shaking tin, with a small scoop of ice and Old Forester Rye. Shake until chilled and pour until a rocks glass. Add the other wedge of lemon and enjoy!In a glass or shaker tin, muddle mint leaves and one lemon wedge in PAMA liquor. Place mixture in shaking tin, with a small scoop of ice and Old Forester Rye. Shake until chilled and pour until a rocks glass. Add the other wedge of lemon and enjoy!

Francis Marion Hotel Charleston, South Carolina - Courtesy of Historic Hotels of America - Guild Magazine
Francis Marion Hotel has served as one of Charleston’s most exclusive destinations since the Roaring Twenties.

18 – Francis Marion Hotel (1924)

Charleston, South Carolina

Shrimp and grits are a southern staple and a tradition in the Lowcountry. This dish has been on the menu at the Francis Marion Hotel for over 20 years. Built in 1924 as the “Grande Dame of the Carolinas” and named for Revolutionary War hero Francis Marion, the Francis Marion Hotel remains one of Charleston’s premier hotels. It was inducted into Historic Hotels of America in 1999 and was honored as a winner of the Historic Hotels of Excellence in 2019. Its shrimp and grits were originally a breakfast item and made for fishermen. Once called “breakfast shrimp,” this dish was filling enough for their long hours of labor. Typically enjoyed through shrimp season, which runs from May through December, these fishing families made their breakfast shrimp with simplicity. Just using shrimp cooked in bacon fat and plain grits, the dish was more of a necessity rather than the exquisite recipe one might find today. This award-winning dish can be found at the Swamp Fox Restaurant thanks to Executive Chef Simon Andrew, who tweaked this regional and historic dish into the beloved one served today. Using local shrimp as well as regionally local grits from Adluh Mills, located in Columbia, South Carolina, the hotel chef is sure to source locally produced products for this historic dish.

Shrimp and grits are a southern staple and a tradition in the Lowcountry.
The restored Francis Marion Hotel remains one of Charleston’s premier hotels.
InterContinental Mark Hopkins Hotel San Francisco, California - Courtesy of Historic Hotels of America - Guild Magazine
Built by George D. Smith, the hotel features Renaissance Revival-style architecture.

19 – InterContinental Mark Hopkins Hotel (1926)

San Francisco, California

Located on the 19th floor of the InterContinental Mark Hopkins, the world-renowned Top of the Mark sky lounge affords guests a wraparound view of San Francisco. The hotel opened in 1926, and Top of the Mark has hosted guests for celebrations and commemorations since 1939. One longstanding tradition at the lounge is the “Squadron Bottle.” During World War II, Pacific-bound U.S. servicemen met with friends and loved ones at the lounge for one last toast to the Golden Gate Bridge before deploying, hoping for good luck and a safe return. The servicemen would buy and leave a bottle with the bartender so soldiers from their squadron could stop by to enjoy a free drink; the only caveat being whoever had the last shot from it would buy the next “Squadron Bottle.” This tradition continues today with bottles not only from active servicemen and veterans but also from civilians to show appreciation. The InterContinental Mark Hopkins Hotel was inducted into Historic Hotels of America in 2011, and, in December 2021, the hotel was awarded “Historic Hotels of America Best Historic Restaurant in Conjunction with a Historic Hotel” at the Historic Hotels Annual Awards of Excellence.

InterContinental Mark Hopkins Hotel San Francisco, California - Courtesy of Historic Hotels of America - Guild Magazine
The InterContinental Mark Hopkins has hosted American presidents, international heads of state, and royalty.
InterContinental Mark Hopkins Hotel San Francisco, California - Courtesy of Historic Hotels of America - Guild Magazine
The InterContinental Mark Hopkins’ showcases various works of art.
Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa Sonoma, California - Courtesy of Historic Hotels of America - Guild Magazine
Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa places guests in the heart of Sonoma’s wine country.

20 – The Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa (1927)

Sonoma, California

“Spa Cuisine” became a national movement in the 1980s in large part because Edward Safdie, then the owner (1980-1985) of The Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa, published a cookbook with spa cuisine recipes in 1985. Spa Food: Menus & Recipes from the Sonoma Mission Inn cookbook made spa cooking – tasteful fare high in macronutrients and low in sugar, fats, and processed ingredients – a national sensation and has been coined a “book for cooks.” The resort’s health-conscious offerings date back to its original hot springs baths in the late 19th century. The Spanish Colonial-style Inn dates to 1927, and it was inducted into Historic Hotels of America in 2014. In the 21st century, the resort continues Safdie’s legacy. The resorts’ current culinary team exhibits an uncompromising dedication to serving guests impeccable meals created with seasonal ingredients sourced from regional wineries, breweries, fisheries, ranches, and farmers.

Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa Sonoma, California - Courtesy of Historic Hotels of America - Guild Magazine
Though destroyed in 1923, the Inn reopened in 1927 with its signature Spanish Colonial architecture.
Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa Sonoma, California - Courtesy of Historic Hotels of America - Guild Magazine
The resort is located on land treasured as sacred healing grounds due to the abundance of mineral hot springs.
The Settlers Inn at Bingham Park Hawley, Pennsylvania - Courtesy of Historic Hotels of America - Guild Magazine
The Settlers Inn is an authentic 1920’s Arts & Crafts Lodge.

21 – The Settlers Inn at Bingham Park (1927)

Hawley, Pennsylvania

Since its opening in 1980, The Settlers Inn has been devoted to presenting local food that would help preserve small family farming in Pennsylvania’s Delaware Highlands. The Inn was inducted into Historic Hotels of America in 2010 and honored with the Historic Hotels of America Awards of Excellence in 2016 and 2021. When the Inn opened, owner/chef Grant Genzlinger reached out to local growers and producers to build partnerships that would accentuate the bounty of the region in an easy and direct manner. Blooming Grove Brook Trout is sourced directly from a regional hatchery that uses mountain river troughs. The hatchery dates to the 1880s and is one of the most historic in the United States. Blooming Grove Smoked Trout was featured on The Settlers Inn menu since its opening in 1980. Blooming Grove Brook Trout is served at The Settlers Inn year-round. Today, there are over 25 direct-to-restaurant farm providers that serve Settlers Inn. In addition, the Inn’s expansive gardens produce many edible flowers used in recipes and as ornamental garnishes. Recently, The Settlers Inn introduced a Chef’s Demonstration Garden. Located just steps from the kitchen, the garden will yield a small number of fresh vegetables and herbs, so guests can make the direct connection between fresh ingredients and quality meals.

The Settlers Inn at Bingham Park Hawley, Pennsylvania - Courtesy of Historic Hotels of America - Guild Magazine
Blooming Grove Brook Trout.
The Settlers Inn at Bingham Park Hawley, Pennsylvania - Courtesy of Historic Hotels of America - Guild Magazine
Here you can enjoy the comforts of a Bed and Breakfast with a full-service farm-to-table restaurant and tavern.
The Settlers Inn at Bingham Park Hawley, Pennsylvania - Courtesy of Historic Hotels of America - Guild Magazine
Chocolate magnate Milton S. Hershey built the hotel overlooking the cocoa-scented town of Hershey Pennsylvania.

22 – The Hotel Hershey® (1933)

Hershey, Pennsylvania

As the original purveyor of Hershey’s chocolate brand, this historic hotel in Hershey, Pennsylvania, invites its guests to partake in indulgent cuisine experiences. The Hotel Hershey opened in 1933 and was inducted into Historic Hotels of America in 1991. It won the Historic Hotels of America Awards of Excellence in 2018 and 2019. Over the years, guests have brought elevated expectations for dessert when dining at The Hotel Hershey, and the signature chocolate cream pie has been a guest favorite for decades. Made with a chocolate cookie crust and chocolate shavings, dark chocolate custard, and whipped cream, this top-selling dessert first appeared on the menu as early as 1976 and is still a must-order among new and returning guests. 

The Settlers Inn at Bingham Park Hawley, Pennsylvania - Courtesy of Historic Hotels of America - Guild Magazine
The Hotel Hershey's Chocolate Cream Pie.
The Settlers Inn at Bingham Park Hawley, Pennsylvania - Courtesy of Historic Hotels of America - Guild Magazine
This hotel is located on 300 panoramic acres of gardens and tranquil reflecting pools.
The Hotel Hershey’s Chocolate Cream Pie from The Hotel Hershey Culinary Team

9-inch baked pastry shell of your choice (chocolate recommended)

2-1/2 cups milk, divided

1 cup sugar

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

5 tablespoons cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 egg yolks

2-1/2 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate

1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla

2 tablespoons butter

Shaved chocolate or Hershey’s Kisses for garnish

Directions: Heat 1-1/2 cups milk and sugar in 1-quart saucepan. Combine 1 cup milk with flour, cornstarch, salt, and egg yolks. Temper by adding some of the hot sugar/milk mixture to the egg yolk mixture. Return mixture to the pot and bring to a boil. Stir one minute, then remove from heat. Add chocolate and stir until melted. Finish with vanilla and butter. Pour into pie shell and refrigerate. To serve, garnish with whipped cream and shaved chocolate or Hershey’s Kisses.

The Wort Hotel highlights Tudor Revival architecture and rustic interiors.

23 – The Wort Hotel (1941)

Jackson, Wyoming

The Wort Hotel’s Famous Corn Chowder was first introduced at the Silver Dollar Bar in 1985. The recipe was added to the Wort Hotel’s menu when the hotel chef, Arthur Leech, wanted to create a hearty staple item for the menu that would keep guests warm during the long, cold winter months. The original hotel opened in 1941, and The Wort Hotel was inducted into Historic Hotels of America in 2002. Guests can enjoy the chowder at the Silver Dollar Bar & Grill in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, or at home with the recipe included below.

The Wort Hotel Jackson, Wyoming - Courtesy of Historic Hotels of America - Guild Magazine
The Wort Hotel’s Famous Corn Chowder.
The Wort Hotel Jackson, Wyoming - Courtesy of Historic Hotels of America - Guild Magazine
The Hotel’s luxurious Western-themed guestrooms are uniquely decorated.
The Wort Hotel’s Famous Corn Chowder

¼ pound bacon

1 yellow onion, chopped

2 stalks of celery, chopped

2 carrots, chopped

2 cups fresh corn

1 cup of white wine

1 tablespoon minced garlic

½ teaspoon dill

½ teaspoon thyme

Flour to thicken

2 tablespoons chicken base added to 2 qts. water

12 red potatoes, quartered

¼ to ½ cup heavy cream

White pepper and salt to taste

Directions: Cook bacon slowly until crisp, and then drain fat and crumble in the pan. Add vegetables, wine, garlic, dill, and thyme to the pan, and cook until tender. Add flour and cook while stirring well – do not brown. Add chicken broth and water and bring to a boil. Add potatoes and cook until tender. Add heavy cream until desired consistency. Season with salt and white pepper to taste. Dish hot chowder into individual oven-safe crocks, add croutons, top with cheddar slices and sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan cheese. Place in oven or under a broiler to melt and brown the cheese. Serve & enjoy!

Rancho Bernardo Inn San Diego, California - Courtesy of Historic Hotels of America - Guild Magazine
Rancho Bernardo Inn is among the most luxurious destinations in all of southern California.

24 – Rancho Bernardo Inn (1963)

San Diego, California

In January 1986, Rancho Bernardo Inn in San Diego, California, hosted the National Conference of Gastronomy. Famous chefs and actors attended the conference, including Julia Child, Alice Waters, Diana Kennedy, Danny Kaye, and Jacque Pepin. Vincent Price, the famous horror actor and – surprising many – a published cook, demonstrated his Old-Fashioned Bread Pudding recipe for the attendees. Afterward, Price gave the Executive Chef at Rancho Bernardo Inn the bread pudding recipe to use at the Inn because it was so well received. The Inn served bread pudding at brunch in its former restaurant El Bizcocho for over 26 years, and the Inn continues to serve it at the Veranda Dining Room. The recipe has been unchanged since Price introduced it to the Inn, and the bread pudding continues to be a guest favorite. Among the best Wine Country resorts, Rancho Bernardo Inn was inducted into Historic Hotels of America in 2021.

Rancho Bernardo Inn San Diego, California - Courtesy of Historic Hotels of America - Guild Magazine
The Bread Pudding.
Rancho Bernardo Inn San Diego, California - Courtesy of Historic Hotels of America - Guild Magazine
The hotel is located on 265-acre of pure relaxation.
The hotel highlights Midcentury modern architecture that, in the 1960s, was far ahead of its time.

25 – Mauna Kea Hotel (1965)

Kohala Coast, Hawaii

Culinary traditions run as deep as the Pacific Ocean at the historic Mauna Kea Beach Hotel. Mauna Kea Beach Hotel has sourced produce and product from Hawaii’s Big Island for well over 50 years, long before sourcing locally gained prominence and renown as “Hawaii Regional Cuisine.” Among beloved favorites on the menu are two standouts: Mauna Kea Banana Bread and The Fredrico cocktail. Each morning, guests are greeted at Manta Restaurant with a slice of Mauna Kea’s flavorful banana bread. Home cooks have often tried to replicate the recipe, but the secret to its success is tightly guarded in the hotel’s pastry kitchen, where it is fresh-baked daily. Alongside the banana bread, The Fredrico cocktail is synonymous with Mauna Kea Beach Hotel’s Hau Tree Gazebo Bar. The hotel’s signature drink was invented in the 80s for a thirsty golfer – Fred – who wanted something tropical but not too sweet. Thus, The Fredrico combines tropical juices with Jack Daniels for an inexplicably delicious concoction that conjures up the Spirit of Aloha with each sip.

Mauna Kea Beach Hotel Kohala Coast, Hawaii - Courtesy of Historic Hotels of America - Guild Magazine
Mauna Kea Banana Bread.
Mauna Kea Beach Hotel Kohala Coast, Hawaii - Courtesy of Historic Hotels of America - Guild Magazine
The Fredrico cocktail.

Images courtesy of Historic Hotels of America.

GUILD MAGAZINE - THE TRAVEL ISSUE

We are glad you are enjoying our articles! To read content from our travel issue, order your copy below. Thank you for being a loyal reader of
Guild Magazine!
Share this article: