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Romance begins with a luxurious hotel lobby design

Sometimes, when you walk into a room, you simply feel romance. Many historic hotels offer gracious lobbies that have this same effect, embracing timeless intimacy, loving details and warm décors. Thanks to impeccable hotel lobby design, couples especially love to retreat to The Seelbach Hilton Louisville in Kentucky, Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza in Ohio and Palmer House® - A Hilton Hotel in Chicago.

Let’s take a moment to appreciate these exquisite lobbies and the history that adds to the nostalgic décor of these historic hotels.

Kentucky blues at The Seelbach Hilton Louisville

A carpet of midnight blue leads to the curved central staircase. Here, lanterns anchor the staircase, while filigree gilt banisters rise to a mezzanine where a grand piano waits for Beethoven sonatas to fill the lovely lobby.

The room practically transports guests to Old World Europe. In fact, the Beaux-Arts hotel lobby blends the best of Paris and Vienna together, while huge Arthur Thomas-commissioned mural paintings of Kentucky pioneer scenes add American flare.

Using a French Renaissance design firm, the Seelbach brothers imported marble from Italy, France and Germany. The lobby's hardwood came from overseas, some of it from the West Indies, while fine linens made their way from Ireland. Valuable Turkish and Persian rugs add the final touch — all of which is set beneath a vaulted dome of 800 glass panes. The finished lobby was so astonishingly sumptuous that the opening celebrations (in time for the 1905 Kentucky Derby) attracted 25,000 for a look inside. Today, the romantic lobby still draws couples for a peek.

Gold and silver at the Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza

It's easy to swoon over the opulent Art Deco interior hotel lobby design at the Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza. The hotel is renowned as a living museum to the best designs of the 30s, boasting 10 golden-edged murals that adorn the walls and ceilings, all completed by period artist Louis Frederick Grell.

Painted in rich tones in oil on canvas, these scenes adorn massive spaces in the hotel lobby, now the Palm Court. The artist's romantic subjects include the "Apollo on Chariot" and the "Hunt of Diana," two murals that have helped the hotel become known as a place to admire America's finest romantic Art Deco.

Let your eyes wander from the murals. The historic hotel's main lobby and mezzanine areas feature a half acre of rare Brazilian rosewood, extensive use of German silver and the stylized touch of Egyptian décor, all reinforced with delicate floral motifs.

Pair that with a quintet playing classics and some charming company, and it’s easy to imagine why the Palm Court in the Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza is the most romantic place in the city.

Sistine splendor at Chicago's Palmer House® - A Hilton Hotel

Not a penny was spared on the grand lobby of the two-story Palmer House® - A Hilton Hotel. The focal point ceiling is adorned with 21 frescoes that represent Greek mythological scenes that would fit seamlessly into a European palace.

In fact the murals are so precious, the Palmer House enlisted a restoration firm — the same one charged with retouching Michelangelo's painting in the Sistine Chapel — to restore Palmer House’s own frescoes for the new millennium.

Fans of Louis Comfort Tiffany won’t overlook the two-winged statues positioned to oversee the lobby, each weighing a ton — the two largest examples of the famous artist's work. Also in the category of priceless are the enormous Tiffany peacock-adorned, hand-forged bronze doors at the Monroe Street entrance. It's astonishing how these treasures of fanciful themes can make onlookers feel light as a feather yet weigh over half-a-ton each.

The historic lobby has even more appeal when guests discover Liberace, Tommy Dorsey, Maurice Chevalier, Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, Harry Belafonte, Ella Fitzgerald, Peggy Lee and cadres of romantic crooners have passed through the Palmer House doors.