Photograph by Sarah Jaquay
The new Hotel Cleveland’s Maker Bar and Restaurant is the hotel’s hub and downtown’s newest hotspot for dining and craft cocktails.

By SARAH JAQUAY
Everyone has a memory of when they first felt like an adult, regardless of how old (or young) they were. For me, it was sitting at the counter of the Minute Chef, the downtown “coffee shop” restaurant at the Sheraton-Cleveland Hotel on Public Square. I was 14 and took the bus downtown with a few friends to shop and mingle with people who were no taller than I was but who wore dresses, suits and even the occasional Homburg (old-timey hats for men.) We were dressed up, ordered burgers and coffee with lots of cream and sugar. (I was hoping it would stunt my growth!) I remember thinking, “I belong with the grown-ups on these other counter stools.” Reality crushed my illusion when the waitress rolled her eyes as I paid my bill with quarters earned from babysitting. But my new-found maturity was about more than my ungainly height and being in the big city sans parents. It was the venue. After lunch we wandered through the hotel lobby and I was agog at its size and sophistication. Since then the same building has been Stouffer’s Inn on the Square, the Renaissance and now, after a $90-million restoration, the new Hotel Cleveland is once again an oasis of hospitality with unparalleled views of Public Square. The hotel’s lobby has long been considered downtown’s elegant living room. Now, its contemporary accents such as the new lobby bar with a bold green chandelier complement the impressive vaulted ceilings and traditional chandeliers that have guests have marveled at for decades. Local history buffs might know the tradition of accommodating guests as this location goes all the way back to the 1800s when Mowrey’s Tavern fed and housed travelers shortly after the city’s founding in 1796. This building originally opened in 1918 as Hotel Cleveland and has flown under various monikers, including Cleveland City Hotel, Dunham House and Forest City House.
Hotel Cleveland is part of Marriott’s high-end Autograph Collection. At the recent grand opening, Hotel Cleveland’s Front Desk Night Auditor Dael Colvin explained being part of the Autograph Collection allows designers to incorporate unique décor and elements evocative of its specific location. During a room tour Colvin pointed out the historic Cleveland maps that adorn every room and the bedside reading lamps that are suggestive of vintage sewing machines. The city was once the fifth largest garment manufacturer. One in seven Clevelanders worked for a garment maker, with Richman Brothers and Joseph & Feiss being two of the largest. In addition, the White Sewing Machine Company was based in Cleveland from 1888 until it was purchased in 1986.
“There’s nothing else like it in Cleveland,” Colvin noted. Indeed the Hotel Cleveland can be described as downtown’s largest historic hotel. It has 491 guest rooms, including 50 suites and voluminous meeting spaces, including the largest Marriott ballroom in Ohio at 22,590 square feet. But perhaps the biggest allure for locals is its two restaurants, Maker and Mowrey’s (in the old San Souci space.) Maker is in the vibrant lobby and offers cozy spaces to indulge in craft cocktails, small plates and shareable dishes, along with creative entrees and sides. Because of the vibe and location, Maker is likely to become Cleveland’s newest hotspot for lunch, happy hours and elongated evening dining. Mowrey’s offers American-style breakfast favorites and will be available for private dining experiences.
Presidents, royalty and rock stars have all slept in what’s now Hotel Cleveland. Luminaries including Rev. Martin Luther King, Duke Ellington, Charles Lindbergh, Harry Truman and Eleanor Roosevelt have visited. The latest Near Field Communication (NFC) medallion technology allows guests to stand before historic images and be transported to some of Cleveland’s significant moments. For instance during the Beatles’ 1964 stay, the staff summoned police when mobs of fans surrounded the hotel.
Whatever your memories of this iconic hotel are, feel free to share them says General Manager Frank McGee. “Everyone has a story or memory connected to Hotel Cleveland and the other hospitality pioneers that stood at this address. We’ve been collecting their stories and memories.” McGee hopes Clevelanders and past guests will continue sharing their experiences via its social media or website contact link.
For more info or reservations, see Hotel Cleveland, Autograph Collection’s website at: marriott.com/en-us/hotels/cledk-hotel-cleveland-autograph-collection/overview/.