|Fontainebleau Hotel - original lobby design (circa 1955)|
|King & Prince Hotel - original lobby area (2008)|
Of course, a space does not necessarily have to be “grand” in dimensions to feel grand. I occasionally take a weekend at the grand old King and Prince Hotel at St. Simons, Georgia. I still prefer to enter the building through the original lobby. Frequently abandoned and unused except as a reception space, the original lobby has wonderful fluted columns and handsome iron banisters topped with polished brass railings, a coffered ceiling and polished stone floor, and inviting upholstered club chairs and sofas that present the setting I associate with a well-heeled hotel lobby. The room itself is not large, but there is a grandness there that is sadly lacking in the area currently used as a lobby. I loathe that place and only ever see it when I am checking in or checking out. I rarely eat in the hotel anymore because I simply don’t want to see a place that looks mostly like a dated food court in an aging shopping mall. Although the ceiling soars in the place, there is nothing grand about it. It makes for a very disappointing entrance, which is why I use the older lobby. Even in disuse, there is more character there and it sets a good tone for the weekend.Fortunately, nothing stays the same so one may anticipate a return to strongly articulated entrances at some point – I can hardly wait!