Wednesday was a day of celebration for The George Washington Hotel.
Not only was it the birthday of the hotel’s namesake, it also marked the 100th anniversary of the hotel’s opening.
So it seemed only fitting to be the day to announce that the hotel has been inducted into the Historic Hotels of America, the official program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
The George Washington Hotel is one of slightly more than 300 hotels and resorts throughout the country recognized by Historic Hotels of America for preserving and maintaining its historic integrity, architecture and ambiance.
“It’s very exciting,” said Robert Plutto, hotel general manager. “This is something we’ve been waiting for for 100 years. We now fall into a category of hotels that are very unique.”
Other Western Pennsylvania hotels to share the designation include the Omni William Penn Hotel in Pittsburgh, the Lodge at Nemacolin in Farmington and the Omni Bedford Springs Resort and Spa in Bedford.
To be selected for membership, a hotel must be at least 50 years old; be designated by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior as a National Landmark or listed in or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places; and recognized as having historic significance.
“Historic Hotels of America is delighted to induct The George Washington Hotel, a Beaux-Arts style hotel built in 1923,” said Larry Horwitz, executive vice president of historic hotels of America and Historic Hotels Worldwide. “We commend The George Washington Hotel, owner Kyrk Pyros, and the hotel leadership team for their careful historic preservation work, stewardship and vision that will allow future generations of travelers to experience this unique historic destination.”
The hotel has a storied history and boasts a veritable who’s who list of guests, including John F. Kennedy, Harry S. Truman, Henry Ford Sr. and Lou Gehrig.
It also features the largest remaining works of world-renowned artist Malcolm Parcell.
Plutto said receiving the distinction is an asset for the hotel at 60 S. Main St.
“It makes it very marketable for us as a hotel,” he said. “It’s also very marketable for Washington as a community. It sets a historic standard for the hotel. We’re here forever now.”
Plutto noted the extensive application process to secure induction, which includes detailed research into the hotel’s background.
Now, prospective guests will be able to book a room at The George Washington on the Historic Hotels of America website.
Plutto also used Wednesday’s occasion to announce that The George Washington will be open seven days a week, effective immediately.
The hotel has become a popular wedding venue, with 42 weddings booked this year, which represents a 50% over last year. Another 25 are scheduled for 2024.
Plans are under way to expand from 30 to 50 guest rooms in the next year or two, as well as an elevator and front entrance renovation.
“While doing all of this, we’ll be keeping the historic standards as well,” Plutto said.
Shana Brown, Main Street Manager for the Washington Business District Authority, is thrilled with The George Washington’s induction into the Historic Hotels of America.
“It’s fantastic,” she said Wednesday. “We have this place right in the center of town. It’s unbelievable to think of its history and the guests that have stayed here. It’s such a gem in this city, and we’re so lucky to have it.”
Plutto said a grand celebration of the designation is planned for summer.
“We’ll have the entire community out,” Plutto said. “One advantage, or disadvantage, of having 42 weddings in a year is that almost every week is booked.”