Please join me on my little journey...
The "Drake" opened in 1928. A stunning Art Deco hotel lavished with ornate carving and chandeliers. The Drake housed vaudeville and screen stars. It was, and still is, a breathtakingly beautiful hotel.
Throughout its history, The Drake has been known as the "party" hotel, with the fabulous Starlight Room overlooking the City and the early prohibition days.
My private tour started with a ride up this elevator--the only elevator that takes you to the prohibition room. Before entering, my escort, Wei asked me if I wanted a cocktail. I saved it for later.
Wei, who loves giving the tour, escorted me into the speakeasy. It has its own floor located between the first and second floors of the hotel, and is accessible only with a special turn-of-the-key on the elevator.
Upon entering, Wei turns on a phonograph and plays a 1920s record. I was just in awe.
The prohibition room is staged with mannequins and antique memorabilia to bring you back in time. I definitely felt like I was back in the 20s.
The owners of the hotel wanted to make extra income by selling and distributing alcohol to its guests, thus, this room was part of the original building plan. It was a very discreet operation that only a few people actually knew about. A lot of the Drake employees didn't even know that alcohol was being distributed.
Talk about clever. The bottles were covered in brown paper bags, hidden in luggage, and delivered in trucks via the hotel garage. The bellman worked with the prohibition room operator for a seamless operation. If there was a raid, they pushed an emergency button and 'locked up.' There were several attempts to raid the hotel, but it never happened.
All of the rooms had dumb-waiters, so you could discreetly slide open the door and serve the guests. Celebrities knew that when they stayed at the Drake, within about 10 minutes of their arrival, there would be a bottle of alcohol in their room.
If you happen to visit The Drake in the near future, pay a visit to my husband Leif (& little Vito) at the concierge desk, tell him who you are, and have a drink on him!