Interior Description El Vernona-John Ringling Hotel, Sarasota Florida
A contemporary press description of the lobby area which was approached from the main entrance door aptly describes the space: "Entering the spacious lobby with its lofty ceiling, the Spanish tile wainscoting and the wrought iron railing catch the eye at first glance. Looking up one sees prows of Spanish galleon galleons jut out from the pillars near the beamed ceiling. These are highly ornamented and gilded. Beautiful Duretto doors, copies of old Spanish doors, divide the lobby from the adjacent rooms on either side."
Of remarkable design and materials is the original dining room located through an arched enframement adjacent to the lobby. The monumental space measures 52 feet by 52 feet with a ceiling height of 26 feet. The walls of the dining area were and are covered in a geometric tile wainscoting. At the ceiling, three windows located at each exposure provided colored filtered light to the area below. At the interior each window opening is protected by turned wood half spindled grille and stenciled interior wood shutters held by elaborate shutter dogs flanking each window opening. As previously stated, the upper story windows provide a view of the dining area from the roof garden area above. Ancillary one-story interior arcaded pathways provided circulation at the periphery of the high-ceiling dining area. The 26-foot expanse was supported on massive chamfered paired piers with cushion capitals and stenciled and bracketed heads. The masonry structure which projects above the roof garden area appears to rest on massive beams. Elaborate rafter ends with stylized heraldic shields stenciled on the rafter ends extend beyond the beamed superstructure. Visible in an early photograph of the dining area is a polygonally-shaped fountain covered with Spanish and Tunisian tiling. The dining room was originally furnished with antique chairs with seats of multi-colored raffia. The contemporary press described the dining room or hall in complementary terms as, "pretentious."
Adjoining the dining room and lobby areas were a lounge and writing room. The lounge and writing rooms were furnished with European antiques and the walls were hung with oil paintings. Furnishings were described as follows: "It is a complete modern hotel in every respect though furnished throughout with true Spanish types of furniture and decorated in amazing faithfulness to Andalusian motif. The interior public rooms are designed in the Spanish and Moorish modes with the exception of the "ladies lounge" which Mr. Baum designed in the "Adams" style which included an Adamesque mantlepiece. The color scheme of the ladies lounge was a vibrant apple green with white trim.
Included in the list of kitchen and food preparation areas located at the west elevation were: "Kitchen, bakery, vegetable room, store rooms, meat house and fish box."
The hotel upper story corridors were originally furnished in a mastic surface "with Dan black base and border," as well as carpeted runners which were provided for the corridor floors. Guest rooms were decorated with "checkerboard floors, and quaint chairs and lamps adhere faithfully to the Spanish movement in interior decoration. . . ."