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Battle House Hotel

Updated on September 28, 2013

Battle House Hotel

Interior of the Battle House hotel, which is now a Renaissance hotel property.  It features a beautiful stained glass window and whispering arches.
Interior of the Battle House hotel, which is now a Renaissance hotel property. It features a beautiful stained glass window and whispering arches. | Source
The brick exterior of the historic section of the hotel.
The brick exterior of the historic section of the hotel. | Source

Historic Southern Hotel

The Battle House Hotel takes its name from one of the owners, James Battle. it was built in 1852 on what was once Andrew Jackson's military headquarters for the War of 1812. Unfortunately, the hotel burned in 1905, but was so beloved that it was rebuilt in 1908. During Mobile, Alabama's stint as the third largest port prior to the Civil War, the hotel was ground zero for the first married night of young brides of the plantation country. Many families had their plantation homes in towns such as Selma, Camden, and Cahawba. They came to the city of Mobile by steamboats and trains to partake in the city's social season. These wealthy planters expected to be entertained as well as they were at home, so hotels such as the Cawthon and the Battle House certainly filled the bill.

Mardi Gras Revelry

During Mardi Gras, the Crystal Ballroom was the site of many Mardi Gras parties, which were smaller affairs. Today, most groups have become too large to use the smaller Crystal Ballroom or even the larger, more modern Moonlight Ballroom. It's a great base for Mardi Gras; the only drawback being that you aren't right near the Civic Center for ball attendance. If you are there only for watching parades, your location is perfect. However, it offers some of the most reasonable pricing for a night's stay during Mardi Gras; it is a four star hotel. Its location is on Royal Street and St. Francis, so it is on the parade route. It is also a great spot to watch the Moonpie drop on New Year's Eve.

Someone Looking for Ghosts in the Crystal Ballroom

Get Quiet in the Spa

Ladies' quiet room with fire feature. Hot tub is in the background.
Ladies' quiet room with fire feature. Hot tub is in the background. | Source
Ladies' hot tub in the quiet room
Ladies' hot tub in the quiet room | Source

Top Notch Spa

The hotel is well known for their relaxing spa, rated as one of the top spas in the USA. While I think it is a fabulous spa, it really only features the basics: large hot tub, steam room and there isn't a sauna. I've been in spas in Europe and larger cities that were far more interesting and varied, like amethyst steam rooms and rainforest showers. But there are free mimosas! I do love the quiet room which is centered around a fire feature in the middle of the room. There is a large fitness center, outdoor pool, and tennis courts. Drinks are served pool-side. The spa workers are amazing and go above and beyond.

Whispering Arches on Second Floor

Whispering Arches on Second Floor
Whispering Arches on Second Floor | Source
Ceiling of the lobby.  Stained glass is more colorful in person.
Ceiling of the lobby. Stained glass is more colorful in person.
Christmas at the Battle House Hotel.
Christmas at the Battle House Hotel.

The Battle House Today

Today, many Mobilians visit the old hotel, a favorite, whenever they can. Brunch at the Trellis Room, which also features another stained glass window above, is a special treat after church. During Christmas, a huge tree is a feature; other times, the whispering arches on the second floor are an important stop for children. The workers are well-used to visitors so do go check it out. At the top of the stairs, there are arches. Stand at each end, one to listen and the other to whisper. Due to the power of the way sound can travel, the faintest whispers are heard!

There are two restaurants/bars on the first floor: Joe Cain's, which is more casual, and the Royal Street Tavern. The Trellis Room is the formal, upscale restaurant. Joe Cain's sometimes features comedians and the Tavern has a regular piano player.

Famous personalities have visited in the past and today. Due to Bayfest, a local music festival in October, singers such as Kid Rock have stayed here. It has been popular for presidents; there is even a presidential suite, as well as a governor's suite. Some presidents who have stayed here are Woodrow Wilson and Ulysses Grant. In 1860, Stephen Douglas stayed here the night he lost the presidential election to Abraham Lincoln. Recently, the film industry has been utilizing the hotel. Actors Nicolas Cage and Danny Glover were guests during the filming of the movie "Tokarev".

The hotel was renovated in 2007 as an investment in the RSA holdings( retired teachers of Alabama, basically). It had been closed since the 1970s; the inner city was experiencing a downward spiral as citydwellers moved out to the suburbs. We have been fortunate that this historic gem has been repolished and restored for us all to enjoy.

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    • DemiMonde profile image
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      Demi 5 years ago from Mobile, Alabama

      Thanks, Kalmiya. Hope you are able to one day. The Gulf Coast is a unique place!

    • Kalmiya profile image

      Kalmiya 5 years ago from North America

      That's an amazing building and so well kept and/or restored. It would be lovely to visit the spa there. Thanks for the photos!

    • DemiMonde profile image
      Author

      Demi 5 years ago from Mobile, Alabama

      THanks,Emma. It's a great layover if one is on Interstate 10 from Florida to Texas, about halfway point.

    • Emma Larkins profile image

      Emma Larkins 5 years ago from Manchester, MD

      Wow, what an amazing looking place!