I’m back in Cleveland for another stay at the fabulous Hyatt Arcade. Its lavish interior decorations, glittering flourishes, and gold paint seem well-suited to Cleveland’s new attitude. With LeBron James coming home and the Republican National Convention on the calendar for 2016, the residents of The Best Location in the Nation all seem to be walking with smiles on their faces and a spring in their steps.
Studies show that the human brain is geared to recognizing patterns. We see faces in the random dots on wallpaper, or Jesus’s head in the rust stains on an oil tank, because that’s just the way we’re wired.
Our brains reject disorder and crave order — so when you get a chance to feed that craving, as occurs when you look at the delicately latticed, carefully ordered, vaulted interior ceiling of the Hyatt Arcade in Cleveland, your brain is most appreciative.
Here are the Hyatt Arcade in downtown Cleveland, the Christmas season is still in the air. The bunting is hung on the bright metal railings, the lights are strung along the facades, and down at the far end of the arcade is the Christmas tree, still fully lit and adorned with a star. Christmas is more than two weeks past, but I don’t mind holding on to it a little bit longer.
Whenever I have to spend the night in Cleveland, there is one hotel that is my hotel of choice: the Hyatt Arcade.
It is not just because this hotel is staffed by friendly, capable workers. It is not just because the hotel is reasonably priced, and you can get a nice, very spacious room for an eminently affordable price. It is not just because the hotel is centrally located a block or so from Public Square, near everything in downtown Cleveland, and just a stroll out the Euclid Avenue exit directly into the uber-cool East Fourth Street entertainment and restaurant district. And it is not just because the ground floor features excellent hat shops that may well offer the best porkpie selection in the Cleveland metropolitan area.
No, in large part it is because this place has . . . gargoyles. Seriously, how many hotels have you visited recently where you can look up and see dozens and dozens and dozens of griffins and dogs and eagles and every other imaginable kind of totem, lurking silently just under a beautiful skylight ceiling?
And not just gargoyles, either. Everywhere you look this late 19-century gem has an abundance of extraordinary architectural flourishes and touches that you would not see anywhere else. Just ahead you notice a caduceus on a shield, framed by fierce lion heads, on one of the lintels. Why is it there? Who knows? And really, who cares? What is important is that some 19th-century craftsman thought it would be a striking touch . . . and it is, just like virtually everything else in this wondrous building.
If, like me, you like to take the stairs — especially when you are going downhill — you also will appreciate the beauty of the graceful lines, and swirls, and facings of the stairwells. This isn’t a place where the staircases are grim, dark areas hidden behind closed doors; instead, they are an important part of the interior design. What a pleasure to turn the corner to the next flight of stairs and see the lovely decorative touches that make even an entirely functional stairwell into a real feast for the senses!
It probably seems silly to be so enthusiastic about a hotel. But that is precisely the point. We all do enough in our lives that is cookie-cutter, uninspired, and humdrum. If you have an opportunity to spend a night in a place that is unique and memorable, why not seize that opportunity and enjoy it?