What Are Your Memories Of The Hotel on Hartford’s Constitution Plaza?

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After my story ran today about the hotel on Hartford’s Constitution Plaza being listed as a historic property, readers began sharing some of their memories of the building.
Jean Doyle wrote: “Spent our wedding night there in 1975 as it was “the” place to go. We were picked up by a “limo service” the next morning to go to the airport. Turned out it was a 1950’s green “tobacco bus”! My guess is that it was a very good start as we are still together!”
Kathy Dunn Lefebvre noted:  “We also spent our wedding night at the Hotel American Wedding Suite. Had in dinner at “The Rib Room” and embarked on a voyage that has lasted 43 years and produced 3 children. Glad the building will be preserved.”

And Brad Fenn observed: ” I remember as a child the Hotel America and Constitution Plaza were considered quite revolutionary and ahead of their times. My family scoffed this “ultra modern” architecture but as did many we ventured downtown to see everything. Walking through the elegant and posh digs of the hotel one could only marvel at it, never thinking that it would become outdated.”

A massive "tag sale" was held at the hotel on Hartford's Constitution Plaza in 2001, including everything, even the front desk. Courant File Photo.

In 2001, I covered a massive “tag sale” at the hotel intended to clear out everything for a previous redevelopment plan that envisioned conversion into a modern hotel. There were a 1,000 lamps, 600 chairs and 900 pieces of artwork. There even were some silverplate serving dishes from the hotel’s earliest days as Hotel America.
Read my original blog post about the historic listing here and today’s story on courant.com.
What are your memories?
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4 thoughts on “What Are Your Memories Of The Hotel on Hartford’s Constitution Plaza?

  1. Armando Carvalho

    I have the greatest memories from the hotel Sonesta. As my first job in this Great USA as a waiter in the Rib Room,(by far at the time the best restaurant and Hotel
    in town in the 70s) for 10 years.
    I met so many great Customers, made long lasting friendships with them and staff. The Sonesta Hotels prided themselfs of finding very good managers from Europe as well wait staff, in my time one of the general manegers was Wolf Hengst from Germany, he went on to the Four Seasons in Washinton DC, ending up to be top person in this hotel chain. He was the best general manager I ever had and worked for some good ones in Europe.
    The same can be said for other staff as well, waiters, chefs, food and beverage managers, etc. They invested in their employes, in my case they sent me to Cornell, they valued, invested and promoted within their hotels.

    Well, I can realy say that I had the best of times in the hotel,
    where I gained a lot of knowledge with the costumers while working there and above all I felt welcome by the
    generous american people, I owe to them a big part of my well being that I have today.

  2. Thomas Alton

    I have vivid memories of our family trip to Hartford to see the Festival of Lights and to have dinner at the Hotel America back in 1964 when the hotel first opened. I still remember the hotel’s (then) modern design and its modern services such as fast elevators to the upper floors and its direct access to Constitution Plaza. Intriguing to a then six-year-old. The hotel later changed its name to the Sonesta. But it still had its Rib Room restaurant, which was still one of Hartford’s top restaurants. I was in high school in the early 1970s when I had my last meal at the Sonesta. Those were the days!

  3. Susan Santangelo

    My husband Joe and I had our wedding reception at the Hotel America on April 1, 1967. A long time ago! It was a grand place. I remember it was a beautiful warm day, and the wedding pictures were taken outside on the plaza.

  4. Carsten Müller

    I have been working at the Hotel America from 1964 until 1971 when I went back to Germany.-The years in America have been the best years of my life.-I was schocked when I found out the Sonesta does not exist anymore and worse than that the building stands empty since many years.Can anybody tell me what happened ? It has been on of the most outstanding hotels in the region,how cpold it be outdated in such a short time ?

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