The Magical Hats of the Monaco

There’s no snow on the ground in Southwest Michigan. For the second year in a row, we are moaning about the snowless holiday which makes it seem more like September than Christmas in Michigan. And to make matters worse, temps soared into the upper 60s yesterday. Sweating in my sweater seemed less appropriate than it sounds as I would have loved to have been warming up to an eggnog latte, warming my hands in front of a fire and curling up under blankets with a good book. Instead I was sweating… and wishing I wasn’t.

But the holiday started looking up when I purchased a new car the day after Christmas (Merry Christmas to me!) and packed up a girlfriend and her dog to head to my favorite magical holiday vacation spot, the Hotel Monaco. Ashok couldn’t have been happier to race down Wabash into the arms and the treat dish of the top dog hotel in all of my world.

I’ve watched the Monaco evolve in 2019. Their lovely rooms with riverview window seats were remodeled in quirky, whimsical fashion, and the entire lobby and front desk area transformed a little more each time I visited. I was a little worried about where they were headed earlier in the year, but now the look has come together. It’s as if the personality of this former women’s millinery bubbled up to permeate the art deco of a vintage Chicago hotel.

Colorful and quirky, this functional and homey lobby features period hats of all kinds. Making these lovely hats was a project of the fashion students at the local Columbia College. What fun it must have been to look back to old-time Chicago when women wore hats not for function but for style. None of these hats would keep your ears warm, but they would definitely create some heat!

Us four gals – Pumpkin, Autumn, me and Ashok – are enjoying listening to the big band music in the lobby by the fireplace as we finally relax into the spirit of the season. We were excited for it to be cold today as last night’s warm temps created a dirty, muddy walk in the city streets. Frozen it should be this time of year. While we aren’t quite frozen, we are definitely headed in the right direction.

All of my old friends are here at the hotel and a few new ones. This place reminds me of The Love Boat, a magical place where the staff transforms hearts and minds by simply being present with good cheer. All of my wishes may not be granted while I’m here, but I will definitely leave feeling like they were. The coffee is good, the hot chocolate bar awaits this afternoon, and the wine and hot cider hour this evening will prepare us for dinner with a little socializing and fun.

And my personal favorite….

I’m looking forward to relaxing and meeting some new folks as well as enjoying my old friends in this lovely, historic place. Perhaps a nap in the window seat overlooking the city might be in order. There is magic here in this place for me. Enjoy the photos of these lovely hats, and if you decide to come take a look for yourself, tell them Ms. King sent you! They’ll know exactly who you mean.

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