While nobody condones stealing items from hotels, it happens all the time, of course. One US hotel has come up with a novel way of including this fact of hotel life in its 125th anniversary celebrations, by offering a seven-night stay worth around $15,000 (€13,234) to the person who returns the best item previously stolen, given or purchased from the hotel.
The Roosevelt New Orleans is offering the winner a week in its Presidential Suite, along with gourmet meals cooked by the executive chef, spa treatments and more. “In honor of our 125th anniversary, the public is encouraged to bring in any and all items they have taken from the hotel in the past: hotel keys, pillow covers, robes, menus, décor — no item is too big or too small,” it says.
The Roosevelt first opened in 1893, and was then called the Grunewald Hotel after its original owner, Louis Grunewald. It became the Roosevelt in 1923, and people flocked to it for live performances or to grab a drink at its legendary bars, the Blue Room and the Sazerac Bar. Musical legends like Louis Armstrong, Cab Calloway, Ray Charles and Jack Benny all performed there.
The hotel became a Fairmont in 1965, and but it closed in 2005 when Hurricane Katrina damaged its basement. It was purchased by the Waldorf Astoria chain in 2007, and plans were made to return it to its original magnificence and former name – the Roosevelt. In 2009, after a $145 million restoration, it was reborn with a combination of all the grandeur of old New Orleans and modern amenities.
The contest has already seen some gems being returned, including a plate from the Blue Room, a tablecloth, Roosevelt Reviews from the 1950s, Grunewald plates, invoices from the 1940s, and menus and postcards. The plan is to display the items people return in glass cases in the lobby, and the winner will be announced after the competition closes on 1 July.
Those wishing to contribute items for the Historic Giveback Contest may drop them off at the concierge desk or mail them in. No questions will be asked, and items can be returned to those who request them after a ceremony to mark the winner of the contest. For more information, visit the hotel’s dedicated competition page here.
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