Did you know that Cary Grant started the hotel industry’s bedtime tradition of leaving chocolates on the pillow – and that it happened in hotel in St. Louis, Mo.?
While researching a project that will bring downtown St. Louis its first boutique hotel called Magnolia, I learned about the story and knew you’d love to hear a little bit about it. (If you happen to be a history buff and have more details, please consider this an invitation to to inform all of us in the comments section below!)
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The short-version of the story goes like this, according to Mike Pratt, an executive with Magnolia-parent Stout Street Hospitality, the company that owns and is renovating the Mayfair hotel into a boutique hotel:
Grant used to frequently stay at the 18-story property in its glorious heyday, when it was run like a grand luxury hotel. The general manager (GM) used to sneak him in the back door. During one stay, Grant allegedly stayed with his mistress. And in a wildly romantic gesture, he’s said to have left her a treat in her room: a trail of chocolates all along the floor from the door leading up – and on – the bed and pillow. Pretty slick, no?
The GM caught on to this move and, ultimately, the piece of chocolate on the pillow became a global sign of hospitality.
I found a public radio piece that you can read and listen to for more about the legend.
Today, Magnolia’s designers and marketers are having a field day with this story.
Magnolia hired art vendor Kalisher to provide large, framed, black-and-white photographs of Grant and leading ladies in each guest room. (My personal favorite is the one showing a smiling Grant and Sophia Lauren in a friendly looking hug.)
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Expect to find a Cary Grant cocktail at the bar.
There will be a special suite named after Cary Grant (see photo above).
And, naturally, you will find a piece of chocolate on your pillow at night.
“We decided to bring it back so that people understand the history of where it came from Most hotels don’t do that anymore. We’re going to start it at this hotel and see what kind of feedback we get,” he said, noting that they may bring the practice back to the other Magnolia hotels in cities such as Dallas and Omaha.
Something to get back old school hotel.. it’s a little bit nice touch.