Hotel Dupont: Delaware‘s Magnificent Gilded Age Treasure – Pursuitist

More than a century after it first opened its doors, elegant Hotel Du Pont remains one of America’s finest examples of gilded age glamour. Festooned with sweeping staircases, bronze balustrades, and 100-year-old European chandeliers, Wilmington, Delaware’s gracious historic landmark transports guests back to an era of Old World grandeur while providing contemporary amenities and service.

Opened in 1913, Hotel Du Pont continues to deliver timeless luxury. Originally the headquarters for the DuPont Company, the building is a well-preserved example of Italian Renaissance architecture. The 12-story Italian Renaissance building debuted after a two-and-a-half-year construction process that was a true labor of love by the French and Italian craftsmen who carved, gilded, and painted this finely detailed architectural gem.

The hotel earned instant fame, rivaling the finest hotels in New York and Europe while serving as the financial and social epicenter for the Wilmington elite. Expansion of the property in 1918 brought the additions of the Du Barry Room, the Gold Ballroom, and the theatre, now known as the Playhouse on Rodney Square.

With such fineries as European chandeliers and hand-laid terrazzo floors, Hotel Du Pont is the epitome of grandeur. The French neoclassic Gold Ballroom is one of Delaware’s most magnificent wedding and event destinations. The 25,000 square-foot space features two 12-foot-high walnut doors engraved with peacocks and urns, and textured walls showcasing sgraffito, a “scratching” technique that was popular during the Italian Renaissance. Hand-carved medallions and the gilded ceiling are detailed with bas-reliefs of famous women, including Pocahontas and Cleopatra.

The Federal-style du Barry Ballroom is adorned with white pillars, parquet floors, elegant sconces, and a magnificent crystal chandelier from Yugoslavia. Honoring the Brandywine River Valley’s equestrian roots, Le Cavalier is a French brasserie that evokes the grand European traditions. The chef-driven menu from Chef-Partner Tyler Akin is influenced by the flavors of Provence and highlights the seasonal bounty of Delaware’s foodways.

Throughout its century-old history, Hotel DuPont has undergone renovations and mindful updates that stayed true to the hotel’s past and earned its place as a member of both Preferred Hotels & Resorts and Historic Hotels Worldwide. In 2018, the lobby and Green Room Bar received a nouveau Victorian-inspired makeover to create a welcoming grand public space.


Vicki Arkoff

Based in Los Angeles, Vicki Arkoff is a contributor for JustLuxe and an editor for Holiday Goddess, the online destination for chic women travelers from the editors of Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Grazia, Conde Nast Traveler, Lonely Planet, and BBC. She’s co-author of the bestselling Holiday Goddess books (HarperCollins and iTunes) including ‘The Holiday Goddess Guide to Paris, London, New York, Rome’ which spent nearly 10 months in the travel Top 10. Four city guidebooks followed and were named ‘books of the month.’ As editor, Vicki’s other books include ‘Sinatra’ (DK), ‘Inside Mad’ (Time-Life) and ‘Virgin Los Angeles’ (Virgin Books). She is one of the Usual Gang of Idiots for MAD Magazine, an entertainment reporter (Daily Variety, Entertainment Weekly, Los Angeles Magazine, CREEM), and authorized biographer for pop culture icons from the Beach Boys to Beastie Boys, Paul McCartney to MC Hammer.

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