These murals from the original Hotel Westlake lobby were restored during the massive 1983 renovation and convì conversion. Interior designer Donald J. Doskey was responsible for the renewed interior. Marble baseboards & sawtooth glass around the railing on the lobby"s second floor were some of the original components he retained.

Hotel Westlake timeline

This ongoing series looks bachồng at the finest elements of's stylish history, as shown in architecture, fashion and other cultural touchstones.

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ROCKY RIVER — The living couldn't get much easier in the 1920s than at Rocky River's "Pink Palace," which flashes inlớn view just as you cross the bridge from Lakewood.

At the Hotel Westlake, maid service was taken care of, & you could skết thúc your clothing down to lớn the valet to be laundered and pressed. Your oto -- a Peerless, perhaps? -- would be washed in the adjacent garage. If you needed your hair cut or styled, you just went to lớn the barber or beauty salon làm tóc downstairs.

There was a playground in the baông chồng for your children, right by the tennis courts. Practically next door were the stables, & if you had a sailboat or "yacht," you could doông chồng it at the slips below.

On a slower day, you could just play on the miniature golf course, then have sầu tea on the terrace overlooking the river. Men would enjoy their afternoon cigars with the newspaper, on the indoor mezzanine màn chơi.

Should any of your activities lead lớn the need for aspirin, the switchboard would connect you to lớn Marshall's Drugstore, a few steps across the street, though they'd certainly deliver.

And you never had to cook or vì dishes. There was always a place to lớn dine -- the Marine Dining Room, the Lacquer Room, the Commodore Lounge -- for elegant or simple meals.

The ballroom -- people still rethành viên its grvà staircase -- was the scene of many weddings and cotillions; the smaller party rooms và mezzanine were popular for card-playing, a favorite entertainment then.

Guests, said management in a newsletter of the time, "need merely occupy their quarters at the hotel, and have sầu their days to devote entirely khổng lồ their own personal affairs và to the business & pleasure of living. ... Today the modern hotel is the ikhuyễn mãi giảm giá home page."

Better even. There was no need for servants that "Mother" had to supervise: "For, after all, the servant problem is almost as much of a nuisance as doing the work herself."

In this era, when Rocky River was still so countrified that it was referred to as's "vegetable garden," the Hotel Westlake represented the ultimate in swanky sophistication, even though it happened khổng lồ be on the West Side.

The location, on a bluff overlooking the Rocky River, not far south of its mouth, had always been a place for hospitality. In 1816, Wright's Tavern stood here -- & a few decades later, it was replaced by the rambling Silverthorne Inn & Tavern. Its owner, Jacob Silverthorn, was known as a "congenial tavernkeeper."

But when the Miramar Léman Luxury Co. decided to build the Hotel Westlake in 1923, this was a whole new cấp độ of luxury. It was part of a flurry of buildings that were known as residential hotels in The 1920s brought such places as the Alcazar & the Wade Park Manor, among muốn nearly a dozen others, most radiating from the University Circle area.

The western location, along with its Mediterranean brick-and-stucco architecture (a combination of Old Floridomain authority và Deco-era Hollywood), made it an immediate landmark. Then, too, there was its pink hue, referred lớn by some as a shade of "strawberries và cream," và the striking lake & river views it provided.

There was so much activity that the 400-room residential hotel even had its own weekly glossy magazine, 10 or 12 pages an issue, called From the Windows of Westlake.

Besides articles of interest lớn guests & residents, it printed area train, bus, boat & plane schedules (to lớn such cities as Pittsburgh, Detroit và Chicago), as well as the showtimes for movies & theatrical productions in downtown Clevel&.

And of course, it divulged the goings-on of guests and residents: In October 1929, "Col. R.O. Davies has returned from Thủ đô New York City and is spending the fall months with us. 'Fit as a fiddle,' says he." And: "Mr. D.K. White announces the opening of his evening classes in golf instruction."

By then, it was clear that the Westlake had become a convenient favorite for people connected to lớn the new aviation industry. The khách sạn became a must stop for aviators, as well as others involved in the airline business; it also served as headquarters for the leading women's flying clubs, including the Ninety-Nines và the Betsy Ross Aviators.

Amelia Earhart, a frequent guest, was interviewed at the hotel in 1935. She commented on a lucky charm given her for an upcoming long flight: "I think a good mechanic is much better than a lucky charm."

Other aviators who visited included James H. Doolittle Jr., Wiley Post and Charles Lindbergh, though whether Lindbergh stayed overnight is uncertain.

But in the days before night flying, the Westlake was the place for pilots to sleep over -- it was the closest khách sạn to lớn Clevel& Municipal Airport (not yet named Hopkins). Many of them recognized the building from their planes, since the 20-foot-high sign on the Westlake's roof created a marker visible at an elevation of 4,000 feet.

Adding to lớn the glamour quotient, a number of stewardesses (as they were then known) lived here, and some airlines also kept suites for employee layovers.

Tom Barrett, a longtime Rocky River resident and thành viên of the historical society, says his aunt, Jeanette Curtis, lived at the Hotel Westlake with two stewardess roommates in the '40s.

"It was a safe place, convenient lớn the airport, & there really weren't other reputable hotels on the West Side at the time," he says.

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In October 1929, for instance, the Westlake's newsletter reported that "Skyways Inc. has two of its most able men living in one of the bachelor apartments," và further that a Mr. H.L. Kindred, operations manager & vice president of Continental Airlines, và his family "were making the Westlake their Clevelvà trang chủ."

Plenty of families made the Westlake their home, too. Old photos in the Rocky River Historical Society archives show children playing on the swings in the baông chồng và sledding down the hill behind the building, a few feet from the river.

The '20s had brought with them a new trend: Those who did not want the complications of owning a home -- perhaps they wintered elsewhere, for example -- would find the new concept of residential hotels a friendly one.

Of course, this was the time of Prohibition. It's hard khổng lồ imagine that the Westlake's proximity lớn the river and lake wouldn't have sầu helped some cunning bootlegger supply khách sạn residents with hootch.

In 1931, the News did report the arrest of a "society bootlegger" who had responded to a Hotline for the delivery of six pints of whiskey from a federal undercover agent staying at the hotel.

While residents enjoying the hotel-residence lifestyle might not have noticed, the Great Depression had its effect on tourism. The khách sạn owners defaulted and operated the place under receivership until it was sold to lớn a committee of bondholders in 1935.

Ruth Regula, who has lived in Rocky River her whole life, still remembers her mom taking her khổng lồ the Candyland ice cream parlor across from the Westlake in the early '40s.

"Rocky River was a rural community then, mostly known for its greenhouses, so it was a special treat seeing all the well-dressed people going in và out of the hotel," she recalls.

For those who could afford it, dances, parties & other celebrations drew people to the Westlake, through the Depression, World War II and beyond. Tom Barrett's parents got married in the ballroom in 1949. He also recalls the colorful story he heard about a windowless room on the lower cấp độ of the river side of the building, where -- one of his uncles told hlặng -- stag films were shown.

By 1953, more và more guests were arriving in cars than on the trains, so a double-deông chồng parking garage was added.

Nine years later, a spectacular btia laze hit the building. An alarm went off at 6 a.m. on Jan. 25, 1962, for a kitchen grease fire, và at 7:30 a.m., another alarm sounded on the roof.

The khách sạn had long been deemed fireproof, and that may have been what limited the fire damage lớn the roof, which was destroyed. Water damage occurred throughout the building, though, and 175 residents -- 160 of them permanent -- were evacuated for many weeks.

During the next two decades, the hotel slipped into seediness; even the exterior was a dingy pale gray. As Barrett recalls, "It essentially became a big rooming house, & it got kind of rough."

"It had once been the place lớn go for parties, just very elegant, but it had become rundown," he says. "It had been a landmark, though, and there were no problems with the structure.

"We didn't have sầu to vì a lot of work to lớn bring it baông xã to lớn habitable shape, just a lot of cosmetic work and changing out the plumbing and electrical & mechanical systems."

Developer Scott Maurer was behind the project. Besides reconfiguring the interior -- making fewer but larger units and adding units at the penthouse cấp độ -- the exterior was restored to its original coral color.

By the '80s, condominiums were clearly a more profitable venture than khách sạn rooms in Rocky River. The condo units, which varied in size và went up khổng lồ three bedrooms, ranged in price at that time from $77,000 khổng lồ $244,000.

The luxurious service & wide-ranging leisure amenities of the '20s & '30s are only a dreamy memory, though there was a burst of VIP. vibrancy as a number of sports figures moved in in the '80s. The Silverthorne is now an empty tiệc nhỏ room; residents are more likely lớn go to lớn Salmon Dave's across the street for libations.

But in Rocky River & from the western side of Lakewood, the presence of the big pink "hotel" -- once a drawing card for movie stars, aviators & local glitterati -- still makes a head-turning statement.

It's an edifice that continues to lớn fire the imagination -- & inspires a longing for a simpler yet somehow more sophisticated time.

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