Thursday, July 19, 2012

Florida History: "Startling" concept at Fort Lauderdale's Holiday Hotel

By Jane Feehan 

Touted for its new architectural features, the Holiday Hotel opened in mid-January, 1948. It was the first hotel constructed in Fort Lauderdale after World War II.

The hotel garnered attention because each room faced the ocean, a “startling” concept.  Its through-ventilation was also unique at the time.  Visitors to Fort Lauderdale today would take those features for granted.

Located on Mayan Drive, where part of the Marriott Harbor Beach Resort sits today, the Holiday Hotel was built in a U-shape with the ends splayed outward. New in those days was its outdoor access to rooms and cantilevered balconies over room entrances. Stairways on the four-story building were covered. It was an expensive construction but outdoor entrances completely eliminated the need for fire escapes and the dangers of guests being trapped in hallways.

An article about the 50-room Holiday Hotel claimed “all rooms are provided with baths, and end rooms are equipped with electric refrigerators …” It also had a cocktail lounge, dining room, dining terrace and large ground-floor lobby. Its horse shoe shaped bar was built of bleached mahogany. Guests could also expect central heating and complete phone service. Two penthouses and a large sun deck sat atop the building.

Designed by Clinton Gamble and Associates, and built by Leonard Brothers, the Holiday Hotel sat 100 feet from the water’s edge ... at the best beach in Fort Lauderdale.

For more on the Marriott Harbor Beach Resort and Spa, see:



Fort Lauderdale News, Jan. 4, 1948.

Tags: Fort Lauderdale hotel history, Fort Lauderdale in the 1940s, Fort Lauderdale architecture, post WWII Fort Lauderdale, film industry researcher

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