Building Description Mount Washington Hotel, White Mountains, Bretton Woods New Hampshire

Mount Washington Hotel lies in a valley of the Aramonoosuc River 1600 feet above sea level. The mountains surrounding the 2,550-acre preserve are the Presidential, Dartmouth, and Willey-Rosebrook Ranges, dominated by Mount Washington, at 6288 feet the highest peak in the Northeast.

The hotel is a large wooden frame Y-shaped structure with two five-story octagonal towers. The building contains about 236 guest rooms, 206 with private bath. Spanish-Renaissance in style, the hotel was built in 1900-02 by Joseph Stickney, a coal and railroad millionaire, and was designed by the architect Charles Ailing Gifford. W.G. Phillips was the contractor.

The foundation is of local granite with a steel skeleton above. There are four floors above the lobby and one below. A porch runs completely around the hotel, some 900 feet.

The hotel is a self-contained unit with its own plumbing, electrical, heating, telephone, laundry, and sewage treatment systems. Near the main building is a small print shop where menus are run off daily. The press within may be one of the last water-powered printing presses in America.

Set in hundreds of acres of landscaped grounds, a mile long winding drive terminates in a large porte-cochere on the west side of the hotel. Dominating the grand lobby space is a large field stone fireplace. There are several dining rooms on the lobby floor, the largest being the banquet hall over 85 feet square with an elaborate wooden ceiling. A vast kitchen services the guests, with all baking done in the hotel. A small orchestra plays in the main dining room, during dinner, throughout the season.

Other rooms on the lobby floor are writing and card rooms, parlors, and a ball room from which a magnificent view of Crawford Notch and the mountains can be seen. There are also a number of smaller meeting rooms which were used at the 1944 Bretton Woods Conference.

The upper floors contain guest rooms and suites, all off a wide central hall. The placement of rooms gives nearly every guest outside windows with mountain views. The lower levels contain a bar, restaurant, barber shop, indoor pool, and a children's play room.

This grand old Edwardian Hotel, so much like the spas of Austria and Switzerland, offering a bit of lost elegance, maintains a long summer operating season (May to October), and still welcomes visitors under its 35-foot lobby ceiling supported by ornate plaster columns.