Monday, October 15, 2012

The Noble Banquets

The refined elegance of the Clover Room...
The Royal Banqueting Room with its beautiful Arbor ceiling...
The Clover and Red Banqueting Rooms

Luxury and refined elegance shined through-out the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel... Two rooms that were envisioned and became reality truly made these statements apparent!

As the Bellevue-Stratford was primarily a Hotel, it was used also for convention space. There were a multitude of private dining-rooms along the Broad Street facade, decorated in a multitude of styles and decorative motifs original to the Bellevue-Stratford, and furnished by the Wanamaker Department Store. The two largest of these were the Clover and Red Rooms. 

The Clover Room was an incredibly refined space of opulence and decadence unmatched even during the height of the Gilded Age. Boldt didn't go for the incredibly finite and over-the-top luxury and the Bellevue-Stratford indeed showed that. His vision was simple and refined with touches of popping elegance that would make one look on with inspiration and awe. Its lofty walls were faced with enameled bas-relief and cream tones with several or so entrances of glass and paneling as well as sliding doors which were at the time novelty and a practicality all their own! The walls were hung with rich pale green fabrics with floral motifs and drapery the same with sheer fabrics beneath. The ceiling paneled simply with bas-relief and crown-moldings in cream and white. Beaux-Arts lighting giving the room a dim hue with the dozens of light sconces with their gilt-finish decorations.. The floors and paneling were of Circassian walnut and parquet with intricate designs, something the Bellevue-Stratford really called its own! The Stotesbury's hosting a literal farming life extravaganza, replete with chickens and hay strewn about the floor! Debutantes mingling with hopeful bachelors...

The Unbridled glory truly spoke volumes in the Royal Banqueting Room or simply known as the Red Room. More private and smaller then its larger counterpart, the Red Room was used primarily for the nobility and private banquets held by high-paying clientele. Its rich wall hangings of antique gold and red background gave the room a charming character unlike any other hotel interiors of the period! The polished wooden paneling on doors and wainscoting were also in beautifully treated Circassian walnut, and shone with brilliance and really gave a regal sense to any onlooker or patron while standing/sitting in this room... The parquetry like in the other interiors was unmatched and expensive to maintain, but incredibly beautiful. The great ceiling paneled in enameled white in an arbor intertwined with carved vines in delicate plasterwork. The majesty of it all!

The true nature and beauty of these two rooms would be stamped out when the Rubin Co. took control and ownership. The beautiful Clover Room would suffer the extent of this renovating and remodeling by diminishing in size and becoming less then half its original blueprint... parts of it walled off and made into corridors and original decorations stripped subduing it entirely! The Red Room survived, though its uniquely crafted ceiling did not... Its red and gold livery stripped, wooden paneling painted over in white... everything muted. The lost elegance and decadent beauty completely staggering.. Another glaring oversight by the Rubin Co. and for the Grand Dame... The victim of it all.

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