Why not inspire your leadership team with an event at a hotel with ties to historical leadership? Sir Winston Churchill is hailed as one of the greatest leaders in modern history, and many hotels in London have strong links to his presence.
The son of an English Lord but an American mother, Churchill came to North America often, beginning with his first visit as a young army officer in 1895. Later trips in the 20th century brought him to New York, Miami, Los Angeles, Chicago, and many other spots in the U.S. and Canada. Here are four venues in which to catch a Churchillian vibe.
Read House, Chattanooga, Tennessee
Churchill stayed at Read House not once, but twice. You can easily imagine him dining there in the historic surroundings, or dressing down the pesky local newspaper reporter who in 1932 at the tail end of Prohibition snagged an interview that appeared under the headline “Famous Englishman Advocates Sale of Liquors.”
Located three blocks from the Chattanooga Trade and Convention Center, the staff at Read House have been hosting events there since 1872 and a dozen different rooms can be arranged to suit your organization’s needs. Churchill would feel right at home at either of their two restaurants, Bridgeman’s Chophouse or the Bar & Billiards Room and attendees will appreciate 17,000 sq. ft. of renovated event space.
Four Seasons Surf Club, Miami
Just after he delivered his famed Iron Curtain speech in 1946 Churchill headed down to Florida. Although he stayed in a private home, he used the Surf Club beachside cabanas as a space to paint in the afternoons. Winston’s on the Beach is the hotel’s nod to their famous artist in residence, and is one of the many choices available for events at Four Seasons Surf Club.
With 6,704 sq. ft. of total event space, options range from an intimate meeting for 12 in their executive boardroom or a reception for 50 at Winston’s on the Beach, to an outdoor event for 175 at the Lido Terrace or indoor venues for larger groups.
Chateau Frontenac Quebec
You’d be hard pressed to find a hotel with more historic ties to world leadership that the Chateau Frontenac, a 2020 Smart Stars and Platinum Choice-winning property. Originally built as one of the Canadian Pacific Rail hotels and now a part of Accor’s Fairmont Hotels collection, Winston Churchill was there several times for high-level diplomatic wartime strategy meetings in 1943 and 1944, including the fateful discussions with the Canadian Prime Minister and President Roosevelt about the Normandy Invasion.
The 20 different event space options run the gamut, from a Grand Ballroom that can accommodate up to 1,000 for a reception to the Vaudreuil Room in which your leadership team of 12 can plan their own campaigns. Historic Jacques-Cartier Room is named for a famous French explorer and will leave a lasting impression with vintage stained-glass windows, a dramatic fireplace, and handcrafted woodwork throughout.
Millennium Biltmore, Los Angeles
In 1929 Churchill made a Grand Tour across Canada and then his party worked their way down the length of the West Coast, with stops in San Francisco, Pebble Beach, Hearst Castle, and on to Los Angeles where his party of four stayed several days at The Biltmore. Throughout his life, Churchill had a keen appreciation for luxury, and he referred to The Biltmore as “the last word in hotels.”
One evening he hosted Charlie Chaplin for dinner in his suite, and at one point in the conversation jokingly suggested that the actor should return home to England and run for Parliament. Millennium Biltmore offers up 70,000 sq. ft. of flexible meeting rooms and event spaces which all carry a touch of glamor that extends far beyond the Churchill connection and into the history of Hollywood.
Gin Sander is the co-author along with Roxanne Langer of Churchill: A Drinking Life, Champagne, Cognac and Cocktails. The two authors speak to groups, sharing amusing and inspirational anecdotes about Sir Winston Churchill’s preferred libations and some of the many historic figures with whom he lifted glass.