Welcome to Hotel Essence Photography

Welcome to our Hotel Essence blog, founded by award-winning hotel photographer Michelle Chaplow, specialist in luxury and historic hotels. Michelle shares her world of luxury hotel photography, and we also highlight individual Hotels from the cutting-edge contemporary to world-renowned heritage hotels.

To find out more about Michelle’s career trajectory, and the prestigious publications where her work has appeared, read her Bio.

We have sections on keynote speeches, hotel photography tips for hoteliers, and we share news on conferences, awards, interviews with hotel experts, exhibitions trends and travel.

Michelle also manages to find time for a number of ongoing Personal Projects, including the award-winning The Pool of Life, and you can read her individual take on various photographers, themes and topics in Contemporary Art Photography.  For friends who prefer to read in Spanish, a selection blog posts are also available in Entradas en español.

We do hope that you enjoy our Hotel Essence photography blog – you can Subscribe to the Blog and we would love to hear from you in our comments section.


The latest from the blog:

An honourable mention and nomination in the 12th Annual Black & White Spider Awards

Dear Michelle,

CONGRATULATIONS on being a Winner at the 12th Annual Black & White Spider Awards.
“It’s an incredible achievement to be selected among the best from the 8,121 entries we received this year” said Basil O’Brien, the awards Creative Director. “Michelle Chaplow’s “Bienvenidos” an exceptional image entered in the Professional Still Life category, represents black and white photography at its finest, and we’re pleased to present her with an Honorary Mention.”

Bienvenidos Hotel Camiral by Michelle Chaplow Girona

“Bienvenidos”  Hotel Camiral, Girona.

8,121 entries were received from 74 countries and your work received a high percentage of votes overall. Certainly an achievement, well done!


Michelle also received a nomination in the Professional Silhouette category for Balloons over Bagan, in Myanmar.

Balloons over Bagan by Michelle Chaplow

Balloons over Bagan

The Jury represented the industry’s biggest names and tastemakers including The Armory Show, New York; Christie’s, London; McCann, Singapore; GQ, New York; Hot Docs Film Festival, Toronto; Y&R, Malaysia; Sharon Calahan, Pixar Animation Studios, Emeryville; Bloomsbury Auctions, London; and Donald Schneider Studios, Berlin who reviewed the entries online before making their nominations and honoring 672 title awards and 1034 nominees in 31 categories. The Awards could not have wished for a better group of professionals to work with.

BLACK AND WHITE SPIDER AWARDS is the leading international award honoring excellence in black and white photography. This celebrated event shines a spotlight on the best professional and amateur photographers worldwide and honors the finest images with the highest achievements in black and white photography. www.thespiderawards.com

Congratulations once again, we wish you a most successful photography year.

Basil O’Brien
Creative Director

Historic Hotels Awards of Excellence 2017 Winners Announced

Historic Hotels Awards of Excellence

Historic Hotels Awards of Excellence

Historic Hotels and Recipients Honored at the 2017 Awards Ceremony and Gala
Washington, DC – September 28, 2017, Historic Hotels of America® and Historic Hotels Worldwide® are pleased to announce the winners of the 2017 Historic Hotels Awards of Excellence. Recipients were honored at a special ceremony and gala at The Omni Homestead Resort (1766) in Hot Springs, Virginia on Thursday, September 28th 2017.

Awards were presented before an audience of more than 200 invited media, industry leaders, owners, senior management, several of the conference keynote speakers and representatives of the finest historic hotels from across America and from around the world.

Honors were given in multiple categories ranging from Hotelier of the Year and Hotel Historian of the Year to Best Historic Resort, Historic Hotelier of the Year, Lifetime Achievement, and others.

Each year, these Historic Hotels Awards of Excellence honor, encourage, and recognize the most exemplary historic hotels, hoteliers, and leadership practices. The Historic Hotels Awards of Excellence are presented to historic hotels and hoteliers demonstrating innovative leadership, stewardship, and contribution to furthering the recognition, preservation, and celebration of these preeminent historic hotels and their histories.

From more than 200 nominees, the following Historic Hotels of America and Historic Hotels Worldwide hotels and hoteliers were honored with these prestigious annual awards for 2017:

Historic Hotels of America New Member of the Year
 The Georges (1789) Lexington, Virginia

Best Social Media of a Historic Hotel
 The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa (1876) Riverside, California

Sustainability Champion

 Inn at the Presidio (1903) San Francisco, California

Best Small Historic Inn/Hotel (Under 75 Guestrooms)

 The Dunhill Hotel (1929) Charlotte, North Carolina

Best Historic Hotel (76-200 Guestrooms)
 Mayflower Park Hotel (1927) Seattle, Washinnton

Best Historic Hotel (201-400 Guestrooms)
 West Baden Springs Hotel (1902) West Baden Springs, Indiana

Best Historic Hotel (Over 400 Guestrooms)
 Amway Grand Plaza (1913) Grand Rapids, Michigan

Best City Center Historic Hotel

 Marriott Syracuse Downtown (1924) Syracuse, New York

Best Historic Resort
 The Broadmoor (1918) Colorado Springs, Colorado

Best Historic Restaurant in Conjunction with a Historic Hotel
 Penrose Room at The Broadmoor (1918) Colorado Springs, Colorado

Hotel Historian of the Year
 Jim Hewes at The Willard InterContinental, Washington DC (1847) Washington, DC

Ambassador of the Year (Quarter Century of Service)
 Woodrow “Woody” Pettus at The Omni Homestead Resort (1766) Hot Springs, Virginia

Best Historic Hotels Worldwide hotel in Europe
 Hotel Waldhaus Sils (1908) Sils Maria, Switzerland

Best Historic Hotels Worldwide hotel in Europe</strong>  Hotel Waldhaus Sils (1908) Sils Maria, Switzerland

Best Historic Hotels Worldwide hotel in Europe
 Hotel Waldhaus Sils (1908) Sils Maria, Switzerland

Best Historic Hotels Worldwide hotel in Asia/Pacific
 Alsisar Haveli (1892) Jaipur, India

Best Historic Hotels Worldwide hotel in the Americas
 Fairmont Le Château Frontenac (1893) Québec City, Canada

Historian of the Year
 Chef Walter Staib, author, twelve time Emmy Award winning TV host of A Taste of History©, and chef and proprietor of City Tavern Restaurant in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Stewards of History and Historic Preservation Award
 R.D. (Dan) Musser III at Grand Hotel (1887) Mackinac Island, Michigan Legendary

Family Historic Hoteliers of the Year
 The Smiley Family at Mohonk Mountain House (1869) New Paltz, New York Historic

Hotelier of the Year
 Philip Wood at The Jefferson, Washington, DC (1923) Washington, DC

Lifetime Achievement Award
 Duane and Kelly Roberts at The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa (1876) Riverside, California

Lifetime Achievement Award  Duane and Kelly Roberts at The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa (1876) Riverside, California

Lifetime Achievement Award
 Duane and Kelly Roberts at The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa (1876) Riverside, California

“The winners of the 2017 Historic Hotels Awards of Excellence represent more than 231 years of history and include the finest iconic and legendary historic hotels from across the United States of America and from around the world,” said Lawrence Horwitz, Executive Director of Historic Hotels of America and Historic Hotels Worldwide. “We applaud these magnificent historic hotels and their hoteliers for their dedication, passion, stewardship and success in preserving these treasures and their stories for future generations of travelers.”

Award recipients are selected from nominees received from historic hotels, historic preservation supporters, prior award recipients, and leadership from Historic Hotels of America and Historic Hotels Worldwide. As official programs of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Historic Hotels of America and Historic Hotels Worldwide provide the recognition to travelers, civic leaders, and the global cultural, heritage, and historic travel market that member hotels are among the finest historic hotels across
America and around the world. The Historic Hotels Annual Awards of Excellence program recognizes the pinnacle of this distinct group of nominees in a range of categories.

Historic Hotels of America is the official program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation for recognizing and celebrating the finest Historic Hotels. Historic Hotels of America has more than 300 historic hotels. These historic hotels have all faithfully maintained their authenticity, sense of place, and architectural integrity in the United States of America, including 46 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. Historic Hotels of America is comprised of mostly independently owned and operated historic hotels. More than 30 of the world’s finest hospitality brands, chains, and collections are represented in Historic Hotels of America. To be nominated and selected for membership into this prestigious program, a hotel must be at least 50 years old; has been designated by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior as a National Historic Landmark or listed in or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places; and recognized as having historic significance. For more information, please visit HistoricHotels.org.

Historic Hotels Awards of Excellence

Historic Hotels Awards of Excellence