Mar. 13th, 2016

mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
My husband and I have an apparent attraction for quirky doomed personality cult hotels. Back in 2008 we spent one night in a quasi-romantic getaway that doubled as urban exploration at the Thomas Edison Inn in Port Huron Maryland, a picturesque rambling mock-Tudor on the St. Clair River where a portrait of ol' Thomas Alva looked sternly upon you in every bedroom. I spent a second night there for union business in 2011 and noticed how tatty the place had gotten in just a few (hard) seasons. The carpets in the meeting rooms were worn, the landscaping was bleak, but the food was still good and the Ivy Room was the kind of dark comforting place you can't come by easily these days. By mid-2012 it was closed and all the lovely leather furniture and Edison memorabilia were carted away to auction. It's a Doubletree now, considerably shorter on charm but I hear the raccoon invasions have stopped.

Well, we had to go down to Memphis again last weekend for my dad's memorial service, and while looking up hotels I learned that Elvis Presley's Heartbreak Hotel right at Graceland would be closing this autumn, so of course we had to stay there. 

(It's being replaced with some luxe new joint called The Guest House at Graceland, which is just stupid. Why would you have an Elvis-themed anything and not call it Heartbreak Hotel? The current hotel is even on Lonely Street FFS.)

Heartbreak Hotel turned out to be a pretty OK place. The lobby and the Jungle Room bar were cute and some of the light fixtures were so amazing I was sorry to hear (from the bartender) that they, too, would be sent off as lots at an auction along with, one presumes, the portraits of EP that adorned the wall above our bed. The hotel itself looks Brutalist from the outside, but it was built in the late 1980s and the guest rooms do show it. Nothing was exactly wrong with our room, but it was dated, and I presume it was more financially feasible to just start over.

Still, we had a good kitsch-filled time. There are rainbowed fragments of mirror above the bar and Thomas Kinkade portraits of Graceland in the first-floor hallway. The fitness center was named Kid Galahad for a movie I'm pretty sure no one remembers. It all felt strangely right. 

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