Updating and refreshing blog posts is a necessary exercise in relevancy just as updating and refreshing our decor is. A recent discovery of original images of the Broadwater Beach Hotel and Resort by architectural photographer Ezra Stoller and the video Biloxi Memories and the Broadwater Beach Hotel highlighting the heyday of the Broadwater Beach Resort is an exciting development (the video is posted towards the end of the post) and the main reason for updating Souvenirs: The Architecture and Interior Design Of The Broadwater Beach Hotel. In compliance with licensing and copyright permission, the usage of the Ezra Stoller images was only approved for use in Pinterest board format. The link to the private Pinterest board is also towards the end of the post. If the story of the glamour days of a Mississippi Gulf Coast beach hotel, the architecture and interior design features that impressed and inspired, and the who, what, when, where and why that made it the pleasure dome on the Coast captures your imagination, then I’ve got a blog post for you.
The decorating wheels of my mind are always turning, especially while on vacation. Checking in and checking out the architectural, interior design and decorating features of the hotel we are staying at mixes business with pleasure. Inspiring design and decorating features of the lobby, dining room, swimming pool area and grounds of the hotel and of course, the well appointed hotel room, become impressive souvenirs.
Over the summers of the early and mid 1970s, my family attended American General Contractors conventions in Biloxi, Mississippi. I fell head over heels in love with the aesthetic of the buildings and interiors of our summer home away from home at 2110 Beach Boulevard on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, the Broadwater Beach Hotel and Resort aka the Broadwater. Through words, Biloxi memories, Ezra Stoller images and decor accessories and accents in the style of, I invite you along on this tour of the architecture and interior design of the Broadwater Beach Hotel.
The Broadwater Beach Hotel began as a modest hotel property in comparison to what the Broadwater would become under the ownership of its second owner, Mrs. Joe W. (Dorothy Dorsett) Brown. Pete Martin Sr., the original builder and owner, was known as a well-known gambler and rum runner along the coast. He opened the Art Deco style hotel in 1939, but the desire to invest in a Las Vegas hotel brought about the need to raise the funds to pursue this endeavor. Enter Texas oilman Joe Brown. Mr. Brown purchased the property from Pete Martin, Sr. in 1958, but unfortunately Mr. Brown passed away the next year.
Mrs. Joe W. (Dorothy Dorsett) Brown wholeheartedly embraced the task at hand of transforming the Broadwater into a travel destination contender. Mrs. Brown, with a keen vision and staunch attention to architectural detail, brought to fruition a premier flagship beach hotel and resort property.
Dorothy Dorsett Brown launched a new Sea·Sun-Food·Fun architectural and mid-century modern interior design renovation complete with architectural enhancements, renovations and additions to the property.
Stunning on all beach fronts, the newly completed and modernly improved Broadwater Beach Hotel and Resort raised the hospitality stakes as the foremost host on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. I have diligently tried to locate fixtures, fabrics and finery original to the Broadwater to little or no avail. I’ve selected a few accents and accessories to illustrate the juxtaposition between yesteryear and today’s interior decorating tastes and trend.
Standing out among the other properties along Beach Boulevard Highway 90, a half circular exposed aggregate palm tree lined driveway and signature concrete canopy glamorously greeted guests. As coastal day turned to coastal night, exterior recessed, spotlight and pathway lighting illuminated the Broadwater in shades of yellow tinted white. As an extra-added “front of the house” visual treat, colored bulbs were added to the landscape spotlights in the front landscape beds. It’s all in the details!
The lobby showcased Terrazzo flooring, framed artwork, Italian chandeliers, mid century modern table lamps and walls dressed in mid century style contemporary walnut paneling.
The extensive grounds of the Broadwater included Lanai rooms, brick cottages, a resort triple play of swimming pools complete with waterfalls, diving board (remember when hotel pools had a diving board?) and postcard worthy panoramic views of the Gulf of Mexico, family friendly offerings such as a playground and train, elegant dining options featuring live musical entertainment, tennis courts, riding stables and premier Sun and Sea golf courses.
Terrazzo ~ Exposed Aggregate ~ Quartzite ~ Natural Stone
Regarded as a state of the art jewel of the Coast, the Broadwater Marina made its property debut to the boating public in 1965. Dorothy Dorsett Brown spent $3,000,000.00 to build the marina. That’s a lot of clams for 1965!
The Broadwater Marina could host up to 150 sail and powerboats. Hotel shore to ship services such as boat or yacht housekeeping and room service was offered to the marina occupants.
The staff of the Broadwater Hotel and Marina, with effortless precision, mastered the art of hotel and southern hospitality.
No pedometer was needed to record the number of steps taken or distance walked around the sprawling grounds of the Broadwater.
We clocked hours swimming under the waterfalls of the Lanai pool, holding court poolside from the swim up tables bedecked with fringed umbrellas in resort festive colors, and sipping Shirley Temples made to order with extra long stemmed cherries and crushed ice.
Room service delivered to the patio of Lanai room 127 was a daily treat enjoyed by the members of our future ladies who lunch club. The room key from Lanai room 127 is a forever souvenir from the Broadwater Beach Hotel.
The objective of a hotel or resort is to treat guests to a memorable vacation and hospitality experience. One of my most endearing memories of the Broadwater is the The Royal Terrace dining room. Opulent yet accessible, the interior design and decorating accent mark was fittingly placed over swank and service.
I am truly convinced my love of crystal prisms began in The Royal Terrace in the summer of 1973.
Elegant wall sconces dripping in crystal prisms illuminated ornamental panels. Crisp white linen tablecloths draped tables elegantly set for a summer night on the town dining experience. A distinctive curved wall to the left of the main dining area anchored the Trophy lounge.
A curved floor to ceiling wall of windows adorned in Austrian shades overlooking the pools and patio all done against the backdrop of deep pink and white color palette perfection- these will forever be a few of my favorite hotel interior design and decorating things.
Destruction and devastation is the calling card of a hurricane, and the states in the Gulf Coast region have had their fair share come to call. Dave the Builder’s sister, her husband who was stationed at Keesler Air Force Base, their toddler daughter, and her in-laws rode out Hurricane Camille at The Broadwater Beach. Her mother-in-law worked at the Broadwater, and feeling the structure sound she suggested the young military family take refuge at the hotel. Evacuation confusion ensued along the Mississippi Gulf Coast as hurricane coverage of the category 5 hurricane was thought to be aimed at Florida. Hurricane warnings for the area were issued by 5:00 p.m. CST on Sunday, August 17, 1969. The window of opportunity for them to safely evacuate slammed shut sooner than later, forcing them to seek protection in the motel rooms on the back part of the property.
Hurricane Camille’s landfall presence was unforgiving. The storm surge was brutal, flooding and fires consumed and destroyed properties, and the death toll startling.
The Broadwater Hotel suffered storm surge flooding, and the Broadwater marina saw moderate damage. The Broadwater weathered the storm and survived the damage of Hurricane Camille, coming out on the other side of nature’s wrath repaired and renewed. This time.
I last visited the Broadwater Beach Hotel in 1998. Financial neglect, design and decor disrepair, and changing times were now guests with no intention of checking out. The bones of the main building were as I remembered, but an attempt at updating the once glorious interiors looked to be an epic fail.
Post Katrina Damage to Main Pools & Dining Room
Hurricane Katrina barreled through, and what parts of the Broadwater Hotel she didn’t destroy the wrecking ball did. On this side of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the economic downturn of 2008 comes hope for a Broadwater revival.
Broadwater Development, LLC hopes to once again create resort magic on the Mississippi Gulf Coast where exceptional hospitality leaves a lasting impression- one that invites you back time and time again. News of the revival of the Broadwater is exciting as is the discovery of Biloxi Memories and the Broadwater Beach Hotel highlighting the heyday of the Broadwater Beach Resort.
Biloxi Memories and the Broadwater Beach Hotel
Please find the link to the Pinterest board below:
The companion post to this feature, Souvenirs: 21 Inspiring Design Features from Hotel to Home, is currently in the process of being updated and will be posted at the end of the week.