Photo: Courtesy of Hotel Cleveland

Landmark Digs Meet Contemporary Comfort at the Newly Restored Hotel Cleveland

Epic Stays
by Michael J. Solender Jun 5, 2024

As I enter Hotel Cleveland in the Ohio city of the same name, I pause to take in the grandeur of the restyled lobby, the showpiece of this Marriott Autograph property’s recent $90 million restoration project.

I’m greeted by gleaming marbled floors, a soaring arched multi-story ceiling, an expansive front desk with handsome ornate wood paneling, and sight lines that draw my gaze to the floor-to-ceiling windows across the vast space overlooking Cleveland’s bustling Public Square. I see shiny bronze, golden, and mustard hues. Carefully curated accent pieces, such as fringed window treatments and antique lamps, yield a 21st-century Gilded Age aesthetic, letting guests know that their stay is going to be modern yet nostalgic.

Hospitality has been central to the 14-story white glazed brick hotel since it first opened its doors in 1918. Located at the intersection of Superior Avenue and Public Square, the heart of Cleveland’s entertainment and business district, Hotel Cleveland has hosted an impressive bench of notable guests over the past century: Charles Lindbergh, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., The Beatles, and US Presidents Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, and George H. W. Bush among them.

My career pedigree is rather subdued in comparison, but I’m given the rockstar treatment at check-in nonetheless. I’m assigned to a larger suite on the 14th floor (from $449 per night) that overlooks Public Square along one wall and opens to a city view stretching to the southern shore of Lake Erie along another.

Accommodations and amenities at Hotel Cleveland


Photo: Hotel Cleveland

The hotel has 401 guest rooms in total, including 50 suites. Each received a complete makeover during the restoration, yet the city’s heritage is carefully woven into the updates. I’m particularly impressed by the many nods to Cleveland’s industrial roots and the significance that manufacturing played in the city’s economic development in the early 1900s.

My room features a large, colorful mural depicting Cleveland at the turn of the century. Detailed early-21st-century patent diagrams, depicting sewing machines and plumbing fixtures from noted industrial firms, are framed and mounted on the walls. The wallpaper pattern mimics the textiles and fabrics that were prevalent during the era, and the lampshades take the shape of oversized bobbins, the ever-present carriers of thread at the time.

While the property pays homage to its past glory at every turn, there’s a clear emphasis on contemporary comfort and amenities. My oversized suite has a significant work desk with plenty of USB power portals, two 55-inch TVs, a dining table that comfortably seats four, and a cozy sofa bed for spreading out. The extra-large bathroom has a double vanity and a rainshower complete with an additional hand-held wand.

More modern amenities await guests in the 24-hour fitness center, including free weights, Bosu Balls, and brand new Life Fitness ellipticals, treadmills, exercise bikes, and racks.

Dining and drinking at Hotel Cleveland


Photo: Courtesy of Hotel Cleveland

Homages to Hotel Cleveland’s home city continue on the plates at Maker, the property’s spacious open bar and primary dining venue. A backlit bar with a drop-down emerald green chandelier is the room’s centerpiece, with specialty cocktails matching the decor’s bold flair. The bartender blends up the signature Kon Tiki tropical cooler, a nod to the former bar here.

There’s a story behind each of Maker’s half-dozen other signature drinks, including the Midnight Train, a hat tip to Gladys Knight who stayed here prior to her 1996 induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Equally impressive is a standout list of local microbrews, including the Coffee Stout from Masthead, Double Wing Brewing’s POC Pilsner, and Brew Kettle’s White Raj IPA.

Maker’s lunch and dinner menu features many share plates, including walleye cakes, a buttery fresh water midwestern fish; pretzel charcuterie with Cleveland kielbasa, locally made soppressata, gouda, white cheddar, and beer mustard; Ohio City pierogies; and reuben sliders. Large appetites are slayed by bigger plates such as a wagyu bavette steak, Verlasso salmon with potato latkes, and grilled brick chicken. I save room for the buckeye torte (made with peanut butter and chocolate) and am not disappointed.

Hotel Cleveland’s other dining establishment is called Mowrey’s, named after the 19th-century tavern that once occupied this space. Open for breakfast and brunch, Mowrey’s serves American classics with a Cleveland twist. I especially enjoy the lemon ricotta cornmeal waffles with berry coulis and go big on my last day with the Cleveland Benedict — two poached eggs atop corned beef nestled on Jewish rye and topped with special Hollandaise. For good measure I add a couple of crispy potato latkes. Pure heaven.

How to get to Hotel Cleveland


Photo: Courtesy of Hotel Cleveland

A huge plus about booking a stay at Hotel Cleveland is its central location. The property is connected to Tower City Center, a retail and commercial center with light-rail connection directly to Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. My return trip to the airport took less than 30 minutes, and I was dropped off inside the terminal at the baggage level. Covered walkways take guests from the hotel directly to Rocket Mortgage Field House and Progressive Field for sporting events and concerts. The hotel is an easy 10- to 15-minute walk to either.

What to see and do in Cleveland


Photo: Erik Drost

My whirlwind visit to Cleveland had me taking in the legendary Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, the fabled Cleveland Museum of Art, the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, Westside Market, Karamu House, and the Gateway Entertainment District. From Hotel Cleveland, each is either a short Uber ride away or within walking distance.

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