Hotel Duval has recently been reimagined to bring Tallahassee history to local and transient guests. Many know that Hotel Duval is a boutique hotel, but most are unaware of its unique history involving elite political and social circles, Tallahassee movers and shakers, and stories of a secret bootleg club. The property’s recent renovations promise to bring that history to life.
The building was originally constructed in 1950 in a record-setting 188 days (to open before the biennial legislative session). It opened in March 1951 as a seven-story hotel with a hair salon, radio station, piano bar, and restaurant. According to legend, it also had a secret club called the Golden Key Lounge. The “who’s who” members included leaders in the community, each required to have a golden (or brass) skeleton key to enter. There are other stories of bootleg liquor served in the private room among political and business dealings.
When the property was renovated in 2009, an eighth floor was added as was the arched roofs of the hotel and porte cochere. The arch became part of the logo and the hotel’s silhouette. The grand reopening was a celebration of reviving a piece of Tallahassee history in a bold and modern hospitality experience.
In 2010, the eclectic style and historic significance earned Hotel Duval a place in the Autograph Collection® Hotels; a collection signifying individuality and anti-‘one-size-fits-all’ travel experiences.
What was once the Golden Key Lounge is today’s Mahogany Room and The Library, two private lounge areas that boast similarly handsome mahogany details as in the past. The two rooms primarily serve as the Marriott Rewards Member Lounge (no golden skeleton keys necessary.)
Throughout the hotel’s reimagined décor are golden and brass details. During the renovations, signs around the hotel announced that Hotel Duval was “Making our Past Key to our Future.” The true tribute to the property’s past can be seen throughout the hotel in the images of golden skeleton keys and black and white photographs representative of the 1950 era.
“We are thrilled to have our décor reflect what makes Hotel Duval so special – the people and stories that make up its history,” explained Hotel Duval General Manager John McCarroll. “This hotel has been a significant part of local and state government as well as Tallahassee’s “who’s who” society. We are excited to honor that throughout the hotel.”
The term “boutique” has increased popularity in the hospitality industry. Hotel Duval hosts only 117 guest rooms (one characteristic of a boutique hotel). What makes Hotel Duval more distinguished and distinct in the world of boutique accommodations are the nine different types of guest rooms and suites; more than 7,400 square feet of meeting, event, and private dining venues; and three food and beverage outlets – including the regions first roof-top bar – all under that one, iconic arched roof.
“Hotel Duval is a great example of how a space can be reimagined and transformed throughout so many decades,” stated Assistant Hotel General Manager Arthur Huynh, “Our recent renovation is a truly imaginative theme of classic chic and timeless elegance.”
Autograph Collection® Hotels offer a different experience at each property. Hotel Duval proudly puts Tallahassee in the pool of these unique, individualistic, and independent hotels; offering a guest experience exactly like nothing else.