Great Hotel Dining Rooms and Kitchens a Hundred Years Ago

hotel-dining-room-gh-4-1917Caption: So many persons are not content with a “perfect day,” but want a perfect evening, too, that a scene like this at the Hotel Biltmore, New York, is set every night.

There were some very elegant hotel restaurants a hundred years ago. Here are a few pictures from a April, 1917 article in Good Housekeeping.

hotel-kitchen-gh-4-1917Caption: The kitchen is the very heart of a hotel, where the tremendous task of feeding a multitude is always in process. This is a busy corner in the kitchen of the Ritz-Carlton, New York.

hotel-dining-room-gh-4-1917-cCaption: Managing the dining-room of a great hotel is, after all, much like managing the dining room of a private home. (Plaza Hotel, New York)

41 thoughts on “Great Hotel Dining Rooms and Kitchens a Hundred Years Ago

    1. hmm. . . that’s an interesting question. I can’t decide whether I think the food generally arrived at the table more quickly or less quickly back then.

  1. They remind me of the tea room at Yonker’s Department Store in Des Moines. Back in the day (way back), the grand department stores always had tea rooms that were destination spots for lunch. Yonker’s had crystal chandeliers, white-gloved attendants, and crystal water glasses. Farm wives and small-town mothers and daughters who couldn’t make it to the Biltmore still could have an experience of elegance.

    1. The old-time department stores had wonderful restaurants. Similarly to what you described, I can remember that a highlight of shopping trips was getting an ice cream sundae with my mother in the store restaurant.

  2. Reminds me of the movie HELLO DOLLY with the grand dining room at the hotel (Astoria Garden?? probably made up) in New York where they have the scene with Louis Armstrong as Barbara Streisand and all the dancing waiters.

  3. In Canada we have the CN hotels, like the Algonquin in Saint Andrews New Brunswick. It is still a pleasure to stay there. Makes everything seem more elegant.

    1. You’re fortunate to still have some lovely old-time hotels. We still have a few, but many have either closed or gone downhill across the years.

  4. As you noted, Sheryl, it is all about the presentation! You know everyone loves it when there are table cloths and candles 🙂 Also, I agree: our home cooking is almost always better than the “fancy” cooking, although I do get impressed with flambe’ 😉

    1. You are absolutely right -it’s all about presentation! Restaurants that have wonderful food, great staff, and a lovely ambience know how to create memorable meals.

  5. While not a dining room, I was just reading about the return of hotel bars in an issue of Garden and Gun. Not the small, sports bar that we see in hotels now, but the grand places that were destinations at one time. When going to dinner or to the bar were special treats, not nightly occurrences. Places to experience. I can only imagine what it must have been like to experience dining in the Hotel Biltmore.

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