Monday, December 31, 2007

Return of a Grande Dame

Oklahomans welcomed the reopening of the Skirvin Hotel almost a year ago. For many years Oklahoma's finest hostelry, the hotel had been closed for nearly 20 years. I recently got my first glimpse at the Grande Dame. She may be even grander than she was before. The towering lobby is impressive and the rich, red draperies absolutely regal. My room was spacious and comfortable and the bedspread entertaining. Yep, I said bedspread. The fabric was custom made and has a history of the hotel written on it. I've read in bed for years -- this is the first time I've read the bed itself. The Red Piano Lounge is an afternoon hot spot and the Park Avenue Grill, a destination restaurant. The food was fabulous and the desserts excellent. As we often do on press trips, we ordered several desserts for the table and spoons all around. The big favorite for the photographers was the Red Piano, a chocolate creation filled with white chocolate mousse and fresh berries. It was just as good as it looks! This is the second Hilton re-do I've stayed in in the last couple of months. The other is the Hotel President, a Kansas City icon. Both the Skirvin and President fell victim to dwindling downtowns. The city centers of both towns are reinventing and revitalizing themselves and Hilton has done a magnificent job on both of these older properties.

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