The Mount Washington is a concert grand that commands the White Mountain stage. It's a stunning example of Spanish Renaissance Revival architecture, with the snowcapped peak of its namesake providing fitting backdrop. Few resorts can compete with the Mount Washington in delivering grandeur and pomp on such an immense scale: The lobby alone is 230 feet long and up to 60 feet wide. Add to that a royal lineage and a place in world history: In 1944, the World Bank was created and the gold standard set at the Bretton Woods Monetary Conference.
When railroad tycoon Joseph Stickney opened the Mount Washington in 1902, he set a new standard for luxury. Social-ites and politicos came from around the world. They were pampered with electric lights, private baths in every guest room, a tiled indoor pool, Tiffany lamps, elaborate chandeliers, and intricate carvings and friezes crafted by an army of imported Italian artisans. Stickney died just a year after his creation was completed, but his widow remarried a French prince, adding just the right royal touch. Her new husband, Prince Carolyn Aymon de Faucigny-Lucinge, also died soon afterward (can you say "black widow"?), but she continued her hotel reign. Her canopied four-poster bed still occupies one of the guest suites, and her spirit still enlivens (or perhaps haunts) the hotel.
The current owners, a consortium of investors, have poured their hearts and fortunes into updating and renovating the property, burnishing its splendor. Guests can dine in the baronial dining room accompanied by a live orchestra, relax with a drink downstairs in The Cave (a genuine Prohibition-era speak-easy), sip wine in the formal conservatory while drinking in the view of Mt. Washington, swim in the pools or browse the shops.
This article appeared in the February 2004 issue.