An Evening at The San Carlos Hotel, Circa 1928

 Last night was my husband’s niece’s art show which was held in the Ghost Lounge of The San Carlos Hotel.  In addition to giving me an excuse to get all gussied up (read that word on someone’s blog recently and needed to use it) and wear a shade of lipstick I don’t usually wear. 

This hotel was one of Phoenix’s finest and was built in 1928.  Stars like Marilyn Monroe and Clark Gable stayed here, as well as Mae West.

There is something special about old buildings and I find myself drawn to them in hopes that the walls will reveal some unknown secrets.

Here are my niece and her husband standing in front of her artwork.  She is a very talented artist as you can see from the work behind her.  Several other artists were set up as well.  I got one shot of another artist’s work.  I didn’t take too many shots of the artwork because I wasn’t completely sure if the artists would be okay with that.  Regardless, I did get one…

There was so much talent there last night.  I stayed for the fashion show which featured designs by students at a local art school.  Models of all sizes were used to show off these beautiful head pieces made of feathers, tulle and even a page from a comic book.  What struck me so profoundly was that there was so much passion displayed in everything shown.  All of these students couldn’t be any older than 25, my niece included.  I felt the opposite of that cranky old lady that shakes her fist in the air yelling, “kids today!”

 Bravo to all of them!

The art ranged of course from clothing, to pictures one might hang in their livingroom, to more obscure things like the girl who used her oil paint dipped breasts to create a painting.  There was also a photo of a blood spattered bathroom which I couldn’t picture hanging up in the Girl Cave but, hey, art is what it is to all people. 

After finishing up a cold and fruity concoction from The Ghost Lounge, I decided to take the elevator up to check out a few of the floors.  This clock hung in the lobby above the elevators.  I just loved it’s charm.

On the third floor I came across the room that Marilyn Monroe used to stay in.  Apparently she liked to be near the pool so that she wouldn’t be spotted as she made her way out to sunbathe.  Here is her room:

The hotel itself is like a museum.  I wandered around the floors looking at the old sepia pictures of Phoenix back in the late 1800s and 1930s.  It was neat to see a horse-drawn trolley filled with people going down what was once a dirt road, the same road I traveled on to get to the hotel.

I made my way down to the second floor and started to hear Big Band music.  How apropos, I thought.  Nice touch.  It seem to fade in and out which I’m sure had to do with the old electrical system in the building.    Mae West apparently stayed in the suite on the second floor.  I wish I could have gone into these rooms and inspected.  How neat would that have been?  I can just picture Mae at the door in a flowing robe. “Hello boys.”

 As it was getting late, I caught one more fashion show and then decided to hit the road.  I had to make change at the front desk for the valet and I mentioned to the lady working there that I thought it was really a nice touch that they had the old-fashioned music piped in the hallways.  She looked at me oddly for a moment and told me that they didn’t have any music piped in.  I told her that I heard the Big Band music.  She responded that she wouldn’t go anywhere in the hotel but the first floor because the other floors terrified her.  The hotel has a reputation as being very haunted, hence The Ghost Lounge.  So. . . ?  What did I hear?  It is a functioning hotel still so it could easily have come from the tv in one of the guest rooms but it has me wondering.

Click on the link of the San Carlos Hotel for more history.

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28 thoughts on “An Evening at The San Carlos Hotel, Circa 1928

  1. What a great post! I love the idea of ghosts from the past wandering the hotel – it looks a beautiful building and it’s wonderful that they have made it like a museum. Your niece is wonderfully talented and I love the tattoo on her arm!

  2. Oooh Spooky! Sounds like a great event and a good time overall!

    • It was great. Spooky too. The whole place had somewhat of a creepy vibe being so old and all but I never felt freaked out luckily. I would love to go back for ‘spirits’ of the other kind. 😉

  3. geocacherinkerstin

    The hotel with all the things look very interesting and lovely and what a pretty niece you have….I see a tattoo on her arm-how cool. Have you a tattoo also?

    • It is a very interesting place. Yes, she has many tattoos. In addition to art she is also a tattoo artist. I do have a tattoo. I would like to get another one but my husband does not want me to. Oh well. My niece also has dread locks but you can’t see them at all. She had them up in a bun.

  4. I like old buildings ‎too, great post

  5. How cool – I want to write a story about this place now : )!

    • Ohh! That would be so cool! They legend there is that a young woman jumped to her death only a few weeks after the hotel opened and her ghost is supposed to roam the halls. She was a jilted lover of a bellboy from a nearby hotel. Maybe that would give you some food for thought. I’d love to see what you’d come up with. 🙂

  6. Your niece is gorgeous and her husband, right cute too. And you are right, she is talented. I love the praying mantis! What fun, I need to get “gussied up” too before too long.

    • Thanks! I was really happy for her. She also has dreadlocks but she has them coiled up into a bun. I really enjoyed her art. Its fun once in awhile to get ‘gussied up’. 😉

  7. LOL I like the idea of the music not being played by a guest 😛 It would fit so perfectly to such an old hotel.
    The clock is fantastic!
    And I think it’s a great idea that you wandered the floors. I would have never come up with the idea.

    • It defnitely would be fitting, wouldn’t it?

      That clock was great. I just love that about old buildings. My sister used to live in an apartment in Boston that was one time a hotel. They still had the old mail shute that ran through the hallways for tourists to place their postcards in. So neat.

      I probably never would have wandered on the floors but there was supposed to be a fashion show out by the pool. When I arrived up there nothing was going on. I had to cut through some of the hallways to get to the elevators so it gave me an opportunity to explore.

  8. That sounds like a fantastic time! I would have LOVED to participate in that art show! It sounds like all the students put so much work into it and had a blast!
    I don’t know about the creepy music, but I truly believe in ghosts. My house has had a few visitors of it’s own. :S

    • It was a great time. I felt so proud of all the students. It was a wonderful thing to witness.

      I believe in ghosts as well and have had a few strange experiences. Not sure if it really was one the other night at the hotel as there were guests staying in the hotel at the time of my exploration.

      I would be interested in hearing about your visitors! Spooky stuff!

  9. Wonderful art. It sounds like a lovely evening!

    Mmmmm, I like the idea of ghostly music. I’d have headed right back upstairs to try and hear it again. 😛

    • Isn’t that great? It was such a fun night. I really need to get out more often. I’m such a home body.

      Yeah, I’m pretty sure it was coming from one of the guest rooms. I did some research over the weekend and found out that a conductor of Big Band music used to stay at the hotel when he was leading the band at the nearby Orpheum Theatre. Who knows? Maybe I did hear something other worldy.

  10. The Hotel San Carlos is a stunning historic building. The site where the hotel sits was the location of the first school in Phoenix! And paranormal investigators say that the basement is the most haunted part of the hotel. Oh that’s spooky, wouldn’t sleep there even one night 😉

    What a nice couple in God’s grace. They look so lovely. Her art is creative and unique… beautiful.

    Great pictures!

    • I ended up looking up some more info on the hotel and saw what you are referring to. I guess they have ghost tours in the Fall. I would definitely love to do that. I’m not sure if I’d stay either but I’d love to go back for drinks and dinner.

      They are a great couple. She seems really happy with him. I do enjoy her art as well. She is very talented.

  11. How interesting!! I love big old buildings, especially public buildings. There are so many in downtown St. Louis. I really should try to explore them sometime.

  12. What a cool and yeah, charming hotel. Great photos – love the clock. I’m in love with that art! Congrats to your husband’s niece (hmm, would that be your second cousin, or your niece, once removed? Sorry, I can’t remember)! The colors and shapes of the flower blossoms set a really sweet mood. And what a great setting. May she have many more showings in her future!

    • That art was really cool. She did really well at the show and a lot of folks stopped by her area and took her card. I hope this is the start of great things for her. Not sure what the familial connection would be. She is my husband’s sister’s daughter so that would make her my niece by marriage. I’m unaware of the twice removed though. 😉

  13. ElizabethFrank123

    Oh my god! Jenn! What are you doing to me?! I came to read blogs because I’m watching a scary film at the same time and I’ve come here thinking you’d make me laugh and you’ve scared me even more!! 😛
    The hotel sounds fantastic though, definitely somewhere I’d check out 🙂

    • LOL! Well I hope it didn’t scare you too much. I do honestly think though that the music was coming from one of the guest rooms and not from a ghost. I guess they do ghost tours in the Fall. I will definitely by signing up! 🙂

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