[Source: Jahna Berry, Arizona Republic] -- Like any 80-year-old grand dame, Hotel San Carlos is a lady with a past. It thrived as an air-conditioned love nest for old Hollywood glitterati. It was a backdrop for political powwows and it spent years suffering from neglect. Today, the restored landmark is a refuge for tourists and convention goers. Hotel San Carlos celebrated its eighth decade last week. "It's one of those buildings that has sort of been a kind of litmus of the times, because it's right on 'main street' Phoenix," said Phoenix consultant Scott Jacobson, who once co-owned the hotel's restaurant when it was a popular 1980s political haunt.
On Sunday, the 1928 building was in party mode, said its 83-year-old owner, Greg Melikian (pictured). Copper Door Steakhouse & Saloon, the hotel restaurant, had live jazz and 80-cent drink specials. Melikian and docents offered free hotel tours. During the rest of the month, more free groups tours are available by appointment, Melikian said. "This was Phoenix's first high-rise, air-conditioned, elevator building," said Melikian, who loves to share hotel lore about celebrity guests such as Mae West, Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy and Marilyn Monroe. "Then, seven stories was a high-rise," he said. "Now, it's a baby."
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