Category: Vintage Travel To Do List

Vintage Travel To-Do-List: Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise

For Canada’s 150th Birthday this year,  I am devoting my ‘Vintage Travel To-Do-List‘ posts to cool places in Canada that you and I should visit.

Up first: Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, located in Alberta’s Banff National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise

1920s Chateau Lake Louise Vinta
Source: Ebay

Historic Overview:

  • The lake in front of the hotel was originally called “Lake of Little Fishes” by the Stoney Indians who lived in the area. Then it because “The Emerald Lake” after a Canadian Pacific Railway employee who was introduced to it by the Stoney Indians. It would change names one last time, to Lake Louise in honor of Queen Victoria’s fourth daughter, Princess Louise Caroline Alberta.
  • 1890-Chalet Lake Louise. One story log cabin constructed on the shores of Lake Louise, it hosted visitors from different dining stations along the railway line as well as day visitors from its elegant sister, the Banff Springs Hotel.
  • While only 50 guests registered at the chalet in 1890, by 1912, 50,000 guests had already slept there.
  • 2 Fires and 4 architects later,  the small cabin dating back to 1911 would become the Chateau Lake Louise standing today.
  • 1900’s Professional Swiss Mountain Guides were brought in to safely guide guests to the summits. Between 1899 and 1954, generations of these Swiss mountaineers taught thousands of visitors and locals to climb and, later, to ski.
  • Early movies shot in Lake Louise include 1928 ”Eternal Love” starring John Barrymore, 1942 ”Springtime in the Rockies” with Betty Grable and Carmen Miranda and 1944 ”Son of Lassie.”
  • Hundreds of stars have come here for filming or vacationing, including Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, Alfred Hitchcock, and Marilyn Monroe.
  • The Chateau has also welcomed dozens of royals including Prince Rainier of Monaco, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip, Queen Margrethe of Denmark, King Hussein and Queen Noor of Jordan.
  • Due to gas rationing and patriotism, Chateau Lake Louise was closed to the public during WWII (Source).

1909 Lake Louise Chalet (not yet the Chateau)

Lake Louise Chalet Vintage Image 1909
Source: Historic Hotel then and Now

June 1928, now a Chateau (as you can tell from the increase in size).

Chateau Lake Louise 1928 vintage image
Source: Library & Archives Canada

Swimming at Chateau Lake Louise in the 1930’s.

1930s swimming in the pool at Chateau Lake Louise

Another view of the pool in the 30’s.

Outdoor swimming pool at the Chateau Lake Louise with swimmers 1930s vintage image
Source: Peel’s Prairie Provinces

Queen Elizabeth II paying a visit.

Queen Elizabeth the second at Chateau Lake Louise vintage image

1942 ”Springtime in the Rockies” with Betty Grable and Carmen Miranda.


INTERIOR: Dining room 1930’s.

vintage image of the dining room of the chateau lake louise
Source: Peel’s Prairie Provinces

Ladies lunching in the Lakeview Lounge, circa 1930’s. Wow what a view!

1930s vintage image of Chateau Lake Louise
Source: Historic Hotel then and Now

Tea Time-1935.

1935 tea time chateau lake louise
Source: Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise

The Chateau Today-The Magnificent Grand Lobby.

Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise grand lobby other view

My favorite room-The Victoria Ballroom.

Chateau Lake Louise Ballroom
Source: Design Locations

Lakeview Lounge. An updated version of the room seen in the vintage images above.

lakeview lounge chateau lake louise
Source: Pinterest
chateau lake louise lakeview lounge
Source: Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise

Walliser Stube

chateau lake louise interior Walliser Stube


And that my friends is the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. I hope you enjoyed our little online visit of this magnificent hotel and will consider adding it to your own ‘Vintage Travel To-Do-List. I know it’s on the top of mine!




Vintage Travel To Do List: Galveston,Texas

Vintage Travel to do list Galveston Texas

Recently I was watching HGTV and they had an episode on about a couple buying a home in Galveston, Texas. I instantly loved the city and knew I needed to add it to my ‘Vintage Travel to do list’.

For today’s post lets take a look at some of the reasons and interesting historic points on why you and I should visit Galveston.

Source: Postcard Roundup

Galveston is less than 60 miles from Houston and is the fourth largest city in the United States. It is an island, has a sub tropical climate and was founded by a Pirate, named Jean Lafitte.

In 1900 the city was hit with a devastating hurricane. After the storm, the city decided to shore up its defenses against future storms by building a permanent concrete seawall along a large portion of the beach front (source). This wall is still standing today.

Galveston Texas vintage postcard
Source: Flickr

1920’s to the 1950’s the city re-emerged as a major tourist destination centered on casinos and other vice businesses. Featuring venues such as the famed Balinese Room the city became nationally known as the sin city of the Gulf.

The Balinese Room. Originally opened in 1923 as the Chop Suey, then the Sui Jen a few year later. It finally became the Balinese Room in 1942 with its famed south seas motif.

Balinese Room

In its heyday, The Balinese played host to high rollers from all over the country, including local legends Glenn McCarthy, Diamond Jim West, and Howard Hughes. The showroom featured headliners such as Frank Sinatra, Sophie Tucker, Burns and Allen, Bob Hope, and Jack Benny. Long before Las Vegas attracted the big names to the desert, Maceo’s Balinese Room brought ‘em to Galveston (source).

Frank Sinatra at the Balinese room
Frank Sinatra with Maceo

Balinese was raided many many times over the years for gambling but was never able to be shut down, until May 30th, 1957. It remained closed until 2003 when a new owner brought it back to its former glory. It lasted till 2008 when another storm unfortunately destroyed it, but the owner seems to want to rebuild in a new location according to his website. I do hope this comes true for Galveston and for vintage lovers like me.

Balinese Room New

Galveston is also home to the glamorous and historic, ‘Hotel Galvez‘.

Source: Hotel Galvez


  • This hotel is the only historic beachfront hotel left on the Gulf Coast of Texas
  • Bears the name of Bernardo de Galvez, who surveyed the area in 1786
  • Built with $1million after the famous and devastating 1900 storm
  • Opened on June 10th, 1911, at 6pm
  • Rooms were $2 per night in 1911
  • The hotel boasted modern, time-saving tools such as a potato peeling machine, an ice-maker, a dishwasher and an ice cream maker
  • Headquarters for the International Pageants of Pulchritude, the beauty pageants that were predecessors to the Miss Universe Pageant (1920-1932)
  • Temporary White House for FDR
  • Served as WWII Coast Guard Facility
  • Frank Sinatra & Dean Martin Stayed Here (most likely to sleep off a night of partying at the Balinese Room)
  • Room 501 is Haunted-Legend has it a seaman’s fiancé was staying in room 501 when she heard his ship had sunk, and took her own life. Now she haunts the halls
  • (Source)
Galveston Beach, Sea Wall Boulevard and Hotel Galvez
Source: card cow

Inside Hotel Galvez


June 1928-Third International Pageant of Pulchritude held at the hotel.

Source: Shorpy Historic

One event I would love to attend is the Galveston Island Beach Revue which is a revival event of the first Bathing Girl Revue started in 1916 by the Galveston Beach Association (An organization formed early in the 20th century to promote tourism).

Want to see what the Bathing Revue was all about? Then check out the silent film below on the 1925 Revue (the swimsuit fashions are fantastic!).

Here is another video of Dorothy Weaver talking about her memories of the early days of the revue and the fun that was to be had on the beach.

Galveston is not just all beach there are also gorgeous Vintage Homes and even a East End Historical District.

Source: guidrynews

The Bishop’s Palace-1892. WOW!


The Grand Staircase of the Bishop Palace.

Source: Pinterest

Lastly, I must make note of the ‘Galveston World Famous Victorian Holiday Festival‘. This event looks like a lot of fun!

Source: Galveston Historical Foundation


Hope you enjoyed this brief tour of Galveston, now who wants to join me to discover what else this beautiful city has to offer? AND if you have been there, please share what one should see when visiting.



Vintage Travel To Do List: Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island

Grand Hotel Mackinac Island

I have started a collection of “Vintage Travel Destinations/Locations” that I would like to visit at some point in my life, over on Pinterest. This collection is slowly growing but one of those places is the ‘Grand Hotel’ on Mackinac Island, Michigan (US), seen above. It’s right out of something from the Great Gatsby and has a history that goes back to 1887.

For today’s post I’m just going to share some of the history with you, stunning images and a cool tidbit about a certain famous female swimmer from the 1940s.

Vintage Mid-Century Grand Hotel Mackinac Island Brochure
Source: Pinterest

Brief Overview of the History of the Hotel: The Grand Hotel has a marvelous page filled with a much more detailed history on the Hotel (then what I will supply you) which you can read HERE.

July 10th, 1887: Grand Hotel opens, billed as a summer retreat for vacationers who arrive by lake steamer from Chicago, Erie, Montreal, Detroit, and by rail from across the continent. It took only 93 days to complete and rates are $3 to $5 a night.

1890’s: Grand Hotel’s Front Porch – longest in the world (880 feet in length)—becomes the principal meeting place for all of Mackinac Island, as well as a promenade for the elderly and a “Flirtation Walk” for island romantics. Grand Hotel Manager James “The Comet” Hayes invites an agent of Edison Phonograph to conduct regular demonstrations of the new invention.

Turn of the Century: The automobile finds its way onto the island. Grand Hotel supports an island-wide ban. A law is passed, but not strictly enforced until the 1930s (there are still no automobiles allowed to this day on the Island).

1919: Hotel rates are $6 per person.

1935: A radio salon where patrons can listen to Jack Benny and other popular programs is added.

1957: Michigan Historical Association selects Grand Hotel as a State Historical Building.

1980: Somewhere In Time, filmed at Grand Hotel and starring Christopher Reeve, Jane Seymour, and Christopher Plummer, is released (there are events at the hotel celebrating this very popular romantic movie. The next one is in October).

1989: The U.S. Department of Interior designates Grand Hotel a National Historic Landmark.

There are also 5 suites in the hotel named in honour of former First Ladies Lady Bird Johnson, Betty Ford, Rosalynn Carter, Nancy Reagan, and Barbara Bush.

Five U.S. Presidents — Clinton, Bush, Ford, Kennedy, and Truman — have visited Grand Hotel.

Images of the Grand Hotel:

Grand Hotel and Golf Course, Mackinac Island, circa 1915.
Source: New York Social Diary


Grand Hotel Menu 1890 Mackinac Island
Source: Wikipedia

Postcard showcasing the famous porch from Ripley’s Believe it or Not.

Grand Hotel Mackinac Island Vintage Postcard
Source: Pinterest
Grand Hotel Mackinac Island
Source: Historic Hotels

Interior of the Grand Hotel (it’s Fancy!):

The Dining Room

The dining room at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island.
Source: Joeybls Photography

Sadies Ice Cream Parlor

Sadies Ice Cream Parlor Grand hotel Mackinac Island
Source: Grand Hotel

Woods Restaurant

Grand Hotel Mackinac Island
Source: Historic Hotels

The Lobby

Grand Hotel Mackinac Island
Source: Historic Hotels

Entrance to the grand ballroom…oh my…..

Grand Hotel Mackinac Island
Source: Joe Braun Photography

Some of the Hotel Rooms & Suites:

Grand Hotel Mackinac Islands Rooms
Source: Historic Hotels

Since the only vehicles allowed on the Island are emergency vehicles and in winter snowmobiles, the only way to reach the dock from the hotel is via horse-drawn Carriage.

Grand Hotel Mackinac Island carriage
Source: Wikipedia

Now which famous swimmer from the 1940s & 50s has a tie to the hotel? That is…

Esther Williams in This Time For Keeps’, 1947:

On site there is a pool called the Esther Williams Swimming Pool (5000 gallons) . It was named this because she filmed the movie ‘This Time for Keeps’ with Jimmy Durante at this hotel.

Full image of the scale of this massive pool.

Esther Williams Swimming Pool Grand Hotel
Source: Style blue print


The hotel is only open between May & October, so if you would like to book just head to their website and begin the fun. And please take loads of photos!

Dear friends, would you visit the Grand Hotel? Or maybe you have? If so please tell me all about it.

Liz 🙂

P.S. Stay tuned for more “Vintage To-Do List” as this is a new series I’m starting.