The New World: North America
New York City, Minneapolis,
Seattle, Chicago, Baltimore,
San Francisco, Los Angeles,
It was the land of migration, the land of adventure. The photographer and early environmentalist Ansel Adams produced extraordinary black-and-white photographs of the American West. It was a country that every artist, writer, scholar, adventurer, filmmaker, and traveler wanted to discover. In 1866, Mark Twain traveled all over California and on to Hawaii, where he wrote his letters from Honolulu. The Moana Hotel did not yet exist — it would open some forty years later — but the place was already the mecca for surfing that Twain, as a travel writer, endeavored to describe in detail. In 1868, readers discovered America’s natural landscapes and wildlife through the writings of the Scottish writer and naturalist John Muir, who related his adventures in Yosemite park and Sierra Nevada.
Others types of adventurers headed to the big cities, assailing the avenues, buildings, hotels, and all the new places where there was money. From 1912, Hollywood drew the stars who would build the legend of Beverly Hills: Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, Gloria Swanson, Rudolph Valentino, and all the oth- ers. America’s fantastic cinematographic history had begun.
People were flocking from everywhere, by boat, by car, by bus, by plane — on foot if necessary. Cities seemed to pop up over – night. Railroads appeared as if by miracle. Cinema brought the rest of the world a brand-new land, whose figures peopled new cities and Monument Valley, and crossed endless plains, sierras, and deserts.
From the 1920s on the west coast, the future big names of cinema, who had fled the tragic events in Europe, met up at the Beverly Hills Hotel and Bungalows in Los Angeles, on the stools in the legendary Polo Lounge — thus named because Will Rogers and his friends would hang out there after their games of polo. On the east coast, intellectuals such as Dorothy Parker, Harold Ross, Robert Benchley, and Marc Connelly, spent their evenings sipping whiskey sours at the Algonquin Hotel in New York. The smart society set preferred the Plaza.
In 1925, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle headed to Canada and discovered British Columbia from the Jasper Park Lodge. He left a humorous thank-you note in the hotel’s guest book, in the form of a story: “A New York man reaches heaven, and as he passes the gate, St. Peter said, ‘I am sure you will like it.’ A Pittsburgh man followed and St. Peter said, ‘it will be a great change for you.’ Finally there came a man from Jasper Park Lodge, ‘I am afraid,’ said St. Peter, ‘that you will be disappointed.’” The lodge had just opened, in 1922. Before, there had only been a “tent city” on the banks of Beauvert Lake, in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, a wild spot that people never imagined would accommodate tourists and a luxury hotel. Proof that, for the adventurers of the New World, nothing was impossible.
“The very look of the land makes one long to keep it
intact — the spiritual reserve of a few bright spirits.”
Henry Miller, Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymus Bosch
About World Tour
Louis Vuitton and Editions Xavier Barral published an original travel book: World Tour, a genuine journey around the world in twenty-one stopovers with 1,000 hotel labels from the collection constituted by Gaston-Louis Vuitton. Formerly stuck to the luggage of travelers, these small posters tell us their fabulous adventure and inspire an initiatory journey, a Grand Tour back to the mythical past of the Art of travel.
This fascinating volume by well-known travel writer Francisca Mattéoli draws on his collection to pay tribute to the most famous hotels of the world, evoking 21 world destinations through texts, illustrations, archive documents and quotations from famous travelers.
Learn more about Louis Vuitton’s World Tour.
Images via Louis Vuitton