OLD-FASHIONED HOSPITALITY

By Jennifer V. Cole

 

Across the South, historic hotels are regaining their former grandeur. Modeled after Jefferson’s Monticello, this brick-and-stone tower opened in 1927 as a neoclassical playground for the rich and famous, catering to everyone from Bing Crosby to Elizabeth Taylor to Washington power players. Railways deposited guests just feet from the hotel, where amenities included tubs with an extra spigot to draw saltwater baths and a broker on-site with a live ticker tape from the New York Stock Exchange. Its heyday ended during World War II, when the navy took over the hotel for radar training. But this summer, the regal Cavalier is scheduled to ride again after a $75 million restoration, with special attention paid to preserving the original design elements (exterior pedestals and finials, portico columns, terrazzo floors, painted ceilings).