Sunday, August 28, 2005

Art Deco and The Ryde Hotel..........

Beauty and the beast. You can never go home?

Did ya ever get one of those needs for a "walk about"? That's what Austrailian outbacksmen call it when they take off and don't come back for decade or so. I had "HAD" to get away yesterday. But I didn't want to go to the usual places that I go to, to "get away".

But I remembered a fond memory I had from 1981. It was a place in the heart of the Northern California "Delta Region" called the Ryde Hotel . The Ryde Hotel is located in Ryde California (between Stockton and Sacramento) It use to be owned by Lon Chaney. (The wolfman~ I think) and was built in 1927. The only Hotel I can compare it to would be the "Chateau Marmont" in Hollywood. The best description I can give you is, It's like an extravagant "Art Decco" Gallery with Beds.

I had the most relaxing time, just sitting on the front Patio with nothing but my bottle of Calistoga water on a bentwood cane seat, under a Casablanca Fan listening to Glen Miller music, while watching Boats on the Sacramento river thru a small forest of Palm trees. It had all the cool Hollywood sculptures including Pink Flamingos. As I sat their, I day dreamed back to when Humphry Bogart use to sail the "Santana" from Marin to the Ryde Hotel and tie it up at the private dock for Ryde Hotel guests. Him and Lauren Bacall use to frequent the Ryde routinely. It use to be a favorite getaway for not only movie stars, but Mobsters and Politicians. (why is that not surprising?).

During prohibition they use to run alcohol to the caberet that is downstairs beneath the hotel. There's a trap door that leads to a tunnel that goes "under" the levee road and to a door by the Dock. So Alcohol could come in by ship and never ever see the light of day.

But time ruins a great thing. When I opened and said it reminded me of an Art Decco Gallery with Beds. That describes what a hotel it is. Not much. The new owners don't offer food service except on Sunday Champaign Brunch. You can't get a Martini if you check in after 5 oclock. Although the bar and restaurant is as beautiful as the Waldorf Astoria. You're on your own. The community consists of little farm towns, so unless you bring your own, you're on your own.

So if you extract the artwork from the hotel, it's an empty shell not worth the time. And that's such a pity with all the history and melodrama that has gone on there. I guess if you just want a place to dock your boat in the Delta, there's no better place. But don't do what I did and drive 2 hours from the Bay Area just to look at great art decco and have a less than average stay. But it's worth the visit.

Ace out..............


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