Since the completion of the grand Omni Mount Washington Hotel in 1902, the structure stands as a window to majestic nature. To honor what guests can view of the imposing mountains from windows and experience while traipsing through surrounding woods and fields, the outdoors comes indoors in subtle ways.
“The hotel has always told the story of the White Mountains of New Hampshire, no matter where you look, inside or out,” said Craig Clemmer, director of marketing and history tour guide.
Now, a 269-room hotel, Omni Mount Washington has hosted presidents, poets, princesses, and generations of family members. At the turn of the 20th century, it was the largest primarily wooden structure with a unique steel frame in New England, and America’s gilded-age elite flocked to it, according to Mr. Clemmer.
“Sometimes, 50 trains a day would arrive at one of three [hotel] train stations from New York City, Boston, Montreal, and other areas, [and the destination was considered] the last of the grand hotels,” he said.
While the hotel has been added onto, renovated, and restored these past 120-plus years, much of the original structure is intact. In fact, many of the hotel’s expansive windows, containing more than a half-acre of glass; its 200,000 square feet of wood flooring; and most of its 2,000 doors are painstakingly preserved.
The hotel was built by New Hampshire native Joseph Stickney, who made his fortune in the coal and railroad industries. The architectural style is classic Spanish Renaissance revival. Craftsmen in droves were brought from Europe to lend their skills to the looming structure’s interior and exterior ambiance. Stickney hired American architect Charles Alling Gifford to realize his vision of a hotel like no other, open for the short Northeastern season lasting from late spring to fall. Not until 1999 did the hotel stay open for a winter season, due to available skiing and other cold-weather activities at the nearby Bretton Woods ski area.