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The Colony Hotel, Ocean Drive

The Colony Hotel is one of the fabulous Art Deco hotels along Ocean Drive in Miami South Beach. It was designed by Henry Hohauser in 1935. Hohauser designed many buildings in the South Beach precinct, providing a significant contribution to the Deco heritage of the area.

The building is decorated simply. A large sign dominates the front of the building spelling out “Colony Hotel” in bold letters supported on an inverted ‘T’. There are several series of thin horizontal bands either side of the sign and short vertical bars along the central part of the roofline with a zig-zag pattern on either side.

The windows form recessed horizontal bands with protruding eyebrows providing additional shade from the Florida sun. The eyebrows curve around the sides giving the building a nice profile from street level.

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Photo: Carsten Titlback https://www.flickr.com/photos/locationsite/5364138684

The windows themselves cut through the corner of the hotel but there are also supporting columns giving the overall appearance of a continuous wall.

Walk out through the front door of the Colony Hotel and you are surrounded by hundreds of popular South Beach restaurants and boutique shops, nightclubs and cafes, spas and salons. The beach is just across Ocean Drive. Relax and enjoy the Colony Hotel’s privileged location in comfortable, European-style guest accommodations, which include luxurious oceanfront suites.

At night the character of the whole area changes when the neon is lit. Next time you have a chance to pop into any of the 16-million novelty shops on South beach, take a look at the racks of postcards. Eight out of 10 are going to be pictures of Ocean Drive, lit up in all its nightly extravagance.

Behind the shimmering blue neon, gracious service is a tradition at the Colony Hotel, where an attentive staff makes every guest feel welcome. Immerse yourself in its Art Deco history with a refreshing cocktail in the lobby bar or sit back and enjoy the scene while people watching on the restaurant’s terrace.

The Ferryman – Out Today!

Today the second book in The Guardians Series is out!

“Olivia has been left reeling from one shock after another. Betrayed by her family and still trying to piece together the broken fragments of her life. She and Theo must also try to figure out how to stop Nathaniel, the demon from seventeenth century Salem, who has been let loose on the quiet unsuspecting town of Mercy.

As if that’s not enough the town is suddenly overwhelmed by the spirits of the dead. Not just one or two but hundreds. When the vengeful spirit of a wronged man and the soul of a murdered girl spread chaos through the town, Olivia and Theo must find a way to force all the spirits back to the other side and close the door to the otherworld.

The problem is the door was opened on purpose and if Olivia and Theo can’t figure out how and why it might just remain open permanently.”

AVAILABLE NOW!

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FerrymanPreviewDOWNLOAD A FREE SAMPLE

Download the first three chapters of The Ferryman with my compliments. Just click the button below and a pdf file will be automatically downloaded to your device.

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Haunted American Hotels

Hotel Roosevelt, Los Angeles, California

Considered by many to be one of the most haunted hotels in America—the Hotel Roosevelt has the fortunate, or unfortunate, stigma of being home to some of the most famous ghosts in America. Film star Marilyn Monroe spent two years of her life in this landmark hotel – and rumor has it, she continues to wander the premises to this day. Her favorite room was believed to be 229, where several guests have spotted her in the mirror, while others note appearances in the hotel’s grand ballroom.

The ghosts of Carole Lombard, the wife of Clark Gable, and Errol Flynn are also believed to roam the premises, while the ghost of Montgomery Clift has been said to be heard playing the trumpet in room 928.

Among the less famous apparitions is a ghost of a pony-tailed little girl named Caroline, often seen skipping and singing near the fountain in the lobby.

shutterstock_3015096Baker Hotel, Texas

Some have said that the most famous spirit to roam the lonely halls of the Baker Hotel is of a woman who committed suicide there. Reports suggest she was the mistress of the hotel manager; others say she was the owner, Baker’s, mistress. Legend has it, she jumped to her death from the top of the hotel.

One maid reported finding glasses with red lipstick marks on them in the seventh-floor suite where the woman had once stayed. Nobody else had been in the room. Guests have reported smelling the woman’s lavender-scented perfume on the seventh floor.

Another ghost was seen in the basement and believed to be the ghost of Douglas Moore. In 1948, he began working at the Baker Hotel as an elevator operator and became involved in a prostitution ring. His mother urged him to quit his job and report the illegal goings-on. Weeks later, upon being invited to return to work, he mysteriously died in an ‘accident’ involving the elevator in which his body was sliced in half at the waist.

Only the ghost’s head and upper body have ever been seen.

Windsor Hotel – Georgia

Built in the late 1800s, guests at the 100-room Victorian masterpiece often claim to come across the ghost of a young girl, who was the daughter of a former housekeeper who worked there in the early 1900s.

The laughing ghost was first heard singing nursery rhymes following her death alongside her mother when they were both pushed down an elevator shaft.

It has been said that ‘If you hear the ABCs, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star or Baa Baa Black Sheep songs late at night through your hotel door, you’ve met one of the ghosts. With hallways straight out of the Stephen King book—The Shining—The Windsor Hotel is one place you wouldn’t want to take residence in for too long.

Mercy – FREE – LAST DAY

Mercy3DTo celebrate the upcoming release of the second book in the Guardians series – The Ferryman, I have decided to give you all the chance to catch up with the series so far.

Mercy (book #1) is available to download to your eReader FREE but it ends TODAY!

To get your free copy click here:

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Lee Plaza Hotel, Michigan

Courtesy of Andrew Jameson
Courtesy of Andrew Jameson

Lee Plaza is located at 2240 West Grand Boulevard in Detroit, Michigan, and the former apartment building is a state historic site and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Its architecture is a true representation of Art Deco from the 1920s. During its heyday, it was known for its catch phrase: “You will never miss your home when you stay at the Lee Plaza.”

Proposed by Ralph T. Lee, a self-made millionaire who began working in a furniture store and engraving company before transitioning into the real estate business, Lee Plaza was the accumulation of Lee’s vision for a grander, greater Detroit. In October 1919, Lee left his job as an engraver with the J.B. VanAlstyne Engraving Company to start up a construction company, completing apartment complexes throughout the bustling city. His office was located on the fifth floor of the General Motors Building. By the 1920s, Lee was making more than $100,000 per year, a tidy sum for the time.

Designed by Charles Noble with a set budget of over one million dollars, Lee Plaza was planned as an upscale apartment tower with hotel services and was one of the tallest building to be built under his watch. Ground was broken on Lee Plaza on May 1, 1927 and was completed in 1929 at a cost of over $2.5 million, with Otto Misch Company acting as the general contractor. The 15-story structure, known as Lee Plaza Hotel, was decorated with sculpture and tile that represented the Art Deco style with a Mediterranean influence, and faced with an orange glazed brick on the exterior. The top featured imported red Spanish tile, capped with a green copper roof. It was part of Lee’s vision for a New York Fifth Avenue feel, with the hope that West Grand Boulevard would be upscale, denser and stacked with residential mid-rises.

The interior was fitted with 220 one-to-four-room apartments. Each unit featured a Servidor for dry cleaned goods, and the one-and-two-bedroom units were furnished, while the furnishings for the three- and four-bedroom units were optional. The first floor contained a grocery store and ballroom, while the basement contained a beauty parlor, children’s playroom and a game room. Other amenities included daily maid service and radio service. The common areas featured Italian marble floors, exquisite walnut wood paneling and hand painted frescos and detailed barrel vaulted ceilings, with polychromed plasterwork. Most notable was Peacock Alley, named for the use of blue, gold and green colors in the coffered ceiling of the barrel-vaulted walkway.

Inside Lee PlazaLee sold Lee Plaza to the Detroit Investment Company, but by December 1930, the company was behind on its payments by $1.1 million. The Metropolitan Trust Company was appointed as the receiver, but went into receivership and was then transferred to the Equitable Trust Company in 1931. Through some shady dealings by Lee, which involved his hardware business, and the Depression, Lee Plaza was bankrupt by 1935. The legal woes continued until Lee Plaza was sold to Charles Owen, a local real estate dealer who had owned a third of the outstanding bonds on the structure, in August 1943 for just $475,585.

But apartment homes had begun to fall out of favor by the 1940s, and the allure of Lee Plaza was on the decline, hosting transients and other short term renters. The Lee Plaza Company was formed in November to acquire the assets of Lee Plaza for $600,000. In the 1960s, Lee Plaza was sold to a developer who conducted minor renovations of the building. In January 1969, the company sold the building to the city who converted the building into low-income senior citizen housing. New kitchens were added and the elevators were modernized.

Lee Plaza was added to the National Register of Historic Places on November 5, 1981. From the time of its opening to the time it was added to the register, the building had never been completely remodeled, keeping intact its Art Deco elements, its frescos and ornamentation. But the decline of the building continued, culminating with its closure in 1997 due to a lack of funding to maintain Lee Plaza.

Courtesy of Mike Russell
Courtesy of Mike Russell

In 2000, more than fifty terracotta lion heads were stolen from Lee Plaza and were missing until six of the heads were spotted in a new residential development project in Chicago, Illinois. The developer, Greene & Proppe, had purchased them for less than $1,000 each from Architectural Artifacts of Chicago, who had purchased them from an antiques dealer in Saline, Michigan. Twenty-four of the lion heads along with three stone griffins were eventually recovered. Valued at over two million dollars, the ornamentation has been put into storage for reuse at the Lee—if it is ever redeveloped. The copper roof, however, was stripped in 2005 and photos of the once grand building show it to be in poor condition.