(Guest blog: Charlie Mattos, the play-by-play voice of Vanderbilt women's basketball since 1993, is Weinman's roommate on the road and was gracious enough to write a blog today)
So often on the road we find ourselves at very nice hotels located in the “middle of nowhere”… why they build hotels in non-descript office parks is beyond me… so it was a thrill and pleasure to find that the NCAA placed us at the historic “Netherland Plaza” Hilton in downtown Cincinnati.
Completed in January of 1931 this is truly a palace of a hotel. Originally built for 7 million dollars, the hotel has received a pair of facelifts in the past two decades that ran around $43 million! Just about anywhere you turn you’re bound to find something interesting… molding, artwork, sconces, vintage signage, it’s all here… there’s a reason this place has achieved “Landmark” status on the National Historic Register.
The photos show the “Palm Court” restaurant, perhaps Cincinnati’s finest; a lobby chandelier, the “piano stage & fountain” just up from the lobby bar, and the lobby & seating area….
Elvis, President Kennedy & first lady Jackie, Winston Churchill, Eleanor Roosevelt and Bing Crosby are among the many high-profile guests who have stayed here. This place was truly groundbreaking in its early days. It was one of the first of the “city within a city” projects, complete with hotel, office space and an upscale shopping mall, plus – get this -- a totally automated parking garage!