The century-old Hotel Bethlehem has been named the best historic hotel in the country for the second straight year in the USA Today’s 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards.
The nine-story hotel at 437 Main St. bested a dozen other well-known hotels, including the Peabody Memphis — a perennial champion known for a daily procession of mallards to and from the lobby fountain — to the Grand Hotel on Michigan’s Mackinac Island.
“We couldn’t ask for a better way to celebrate our 100th anniversary,” managing partner Bruce Haines said in a statement. “We thank each and every person who voted throughout the four week contest period. We particularly thank our associates for their hard work to provide memorable experiences … Retaining our ‘National Championship’ is a testament to our entire community.”
In a news release, USA Today said it was the fourth year its travel experts nominated the hotel and it maintained its No. 1 spot on the leader board through the voting period. In 2019, the hotel was named third best in the country, and in 2020 it was named second best.
“It’s a testament to the hard work our incredible hospitality teams put into every detail,” said Kelly Ronalds, director of room sales and guest experience. “I’m incredibly proud of how hard they’ve worked throughout the pandemic. This award belongs to all of them.”
The community will be invited to celebrate the win at a special event next month. Details will be announced within the next few weeks.
The hotel, a member of the prestigious Historic Hotels of America, part of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, opened in May 1922 as a 200-room community hotel.
It was built on roughly the same spot as the First House that the Moravians built when they settled the land in 1741. The site also was the location of the Golden Eagle hotel for about 100 years.
Over the past century, presidents Bill Clinton, Gerald Ford, John F. Kennedy and Dwight D. Eisenhower, along with other prominent figures such as Amelia Earhart, Thomas Edison, Muhammad Ali and Ray Charles, have visited.
Today, the 125-room hotel is a lodging and entertainment facility, with 19 suites, two ballrooms, two restaurants and a gift shop showcasing women’s clothing and accessories.
In 2019, Historic Hotels of America named it the best historic hotel in its class of 76-200 rooms.