Digital Storytelling and Visitor Analytics for City and Cultural Institutions
In 1927, The Hotel San Carlos became the first hotel project the booming city needed. The Hotel San Carlos was financed by Dwight B. Heard and the design was done by G. Witecross Ritchie of Los Angeles, in the Italian renaissance style that was so popular at the time.
The formal Grand opening was in 1928 and was trumpeted in the Arizona Gazette. Mr. Dwight Heard and his partner, Charles Harris, were very proud of their state-of-the-art hotel. It was the most modern hotel in the entire Southwest United States, as it was the first hotel that was air-conditioned along with being the high-rise hotel in Phoenix, and the first high-rise hotel with elevators in the state. The entrances of the Hotel San Carlos are decorated with vertical-ribbed terracotta tiles. Above the entryway, at the 2nd and 3rd-floor levels, are neo-classical column ornamentations.
During the '20s and '30s, the hotel San Carlos became a hub for the Phoenix elite, political and social, as well as a convenient hideaway for Hollywood stars. Mae West, Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy, Jean Harlow, Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman, Gary Cooper, Humphrey Bogart, Gene Autry, and big band artists Kay Starr, Woody Herman, and Harry James stayed here many times over the years.
Apart from some necessary modern conveniences and adjustments, the Hotel San Carlos holds true to its roaring 20s roots. The Hotel is a living piece of history and a stay there is sure to transport patrons back in time. As downtown Phoenix's oldest hotel, the San Carlos is committed to maintaining its historic legacy while giving patrons all of the modern conveniences one would expect from such a prestigious hotel.
Cover photo courtesy of James Day via Unsplash.