InterContinental Hotel Archives Neal Prince ASID

Neal Prince R.A., A.S.I.D

(Curriculum Vitae)

InterContinental Hotel Corporation Digital Archives

Reform InterContinental Hotel,
Mexico City, Mexico (1960-1970)

InterContinental Hotel Collections
held by the Neal Prince Estate Holding Trust
Mr. Neal Prince,
R.A., A.S.I.D
(Curriculum Vitae)
Index Holdings Relating to the 1940's
Index Holdings Relating to the 1950's
Index Holdings Relating to the 1960's
Index Holdings Relating to the 1970's
Index Holdings Relating to the 1980's
Index Holdings Relating to the 1990's
Biography 2000's
 Mr. Neal Prince Resource Image Data Base
InterContinental  Hotels 

John B. Gates,
Chairman of the Board
Robert Huyot,
Chairman of the Board
Hans Sternick,
Chairman of the Board
John P. Sutherland,
Latin American
Mario Di Genova,
Europe/Africa Divsions
R. Kane Rufe,
Sr. Vice President
Far East/Pacific Division
John C. Carrodus
Sr. Vice President
of Services
Neal A. Prince
Vice President
Graphics and Interior Designs
Departmental Staff and Contractual Designers:
Kenneth Smith,
Charles R Alvey,
Graphic Designer
Richard Simpson,
Graphic Designer
 Bill Embery
Dale & Pat Keller,
Joe Grusczak,
Trisha Wilson,
James Ray Baker,
Irene D'Alessio,
Interior Designer

Arie deZanger,
IHC Photographer


InterContinental Hotel was a subsidiary of Pan Am Airlines

Pan Am Logo InterContinental Hotel Corporation Digital Archives

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Neal A. Prince, ASID Intercontinental Reforma Mexcio City Hotel
Brochure donated by Richard and FranThurlow
Former Pan-Am Cargo Employee

Donation date: 2016.07

The talents of the Graphics on the Brochure are directly credited to:
Richard Simpson, Graphic Designer
InterContintinental Hotel Graphic and Interior Design Department
Pan-Am Building
New York, New York
United States

Who is Mr. Neal Prince? Mr. Prince is a trained Architect from Rice University, an Art Historian, Art Collector and a person with a vast passion for Motion Pictures and Theatre History, especially Set Designs. These elements came together to build a foundation to Mr. Prince's skills, which later became recognized as his ability for designing Hotel and Restaurant Interiors. Mr. Prince incorporated his own passions of above, into an International branding philosophy that remains as strong today as it was when he developed his philosophy of Hotel and Restaurant Designs, which is visible today, in Hotels worldwide. But what makes Mr. Prince different? He was a pioneer within this Industry, along with Dale and Pat Keller, of Hong Kong, in designing Hotels in countries that never had an International Hotel presence. Mr. Prince, along with Kenneth Smith (Interior Designer), Charles Alvey (Graphic Designer), Richard Simpson (Graphic Designer), William Embury (Interior Designer), Joe Grusczak (Interior Designer), James Ray Baker (Interior Designer) and Irene D'Alessio (Interior Designer) and many others were the first, to sent the standards for International Hotel Interiors. And what is incredible is that he did not have the grand budgets that most designers have today. Mr. Prince used local talents and products, when available and appropriate, to augment his designs, which, in return, allowed local Artist, Gallery Owners, Merchants and vendors to view InterContinental not as an invader, but as a partner in creating new sources of commence within the local economy. What is even more unique in Mr. Prince being different, was that Mr. Prince has always credited his success, not in the terms of "I", but "WE". Mr. Prince, being from Corsicana, Texas, has always remained modest and respectful and always have contributed his success due to the fact that designing hotels is a "TEAM" effort, from his Departmental Staff to his Professional Associate Designers that he had brought on to do a certain project for the vast inventory of InterContinental Hotel holdings. This website is to bring together the collections, resources, stories and images documenting a period of time, before computers, mobile phones, fax's or video conferencing. This website is to recapture the time when International Hotel Design Industry remained in its infancy before the growth and development into what we have today as multi billion dollar companies. Each Hotel on this website will encompass how Mr. Prince and his Staff and Professional Associates overcame the troubles of designing Hotels, from a historic point of view, to what was necessary to open the Hotels, maintain the Hotels, and what lessons were learned to be applied for the next project.



Reform InterContinental Hotel  


Photograph courtesy of Arie de Zanger, IHC Photographer

The Building of the Reforma Inter-Continental Hotel was conceived by Emperor Maximilliam III, the Paseo de la Reforma hums through the heart of Mexcio's capital, which was a busy, but calmly majestic area of the city. At a cosmopolitan corner, the boulevard bestows its name on Mexico City's most elegant hotel - the 300 room Reforma Inter-Continental. Hte thoroughfare lends more than its name. The omposing stone benches that grace the hotel's entrance vestibule and lobby are exact replicas of those where Sunday strollers sit, shaded by trees, in the city's delightful climate of eternal springtime. Step further inside to the lobby you will visually see and hear the sounds that welcomes you from the burbling waters of its famous fountain, reproduced in minute detail from La Fuenta de las Ranas in historic Chapultepec Park. The lighting is traditional, as directly by the Interior Designer. Further down the Paseo de la Reforma, at Christopher Columbus Square, you will find the smae intricate fixures and frosty globes that were custom designed for the Hotel. The Hotel Reforma Inter-Continental rises 11 stately stories and its graciousness of style and services symbolizes that golden years of grandeur of Mexico's colonial past.


The Hotel Reforma Inter-Continental is an informal museum of Mexican culture and craft. The lobby's richly hued carpets have been woven by the skilled Tarasco Indians of Michoacan.

Should the 70 musicans of the Reforma Inter-Continental gather in the hotel lobby for a surprise serenade, a medley of music from all over Mexico would move out under the graceful stucco arches into the falling dusk. El Catrin contributes the exciting gaiety of brass and strings of Mexico's most familiar music - the mariachi band. Alternating with the mariachis is the white-clad quintet playing the rustic jarocho of Veracruz. You will recognize the throbbing under current as the "big beat" and jazz that comes nightly from the depths of La Gruta. Farolito provides quiet interludes of cocktail music, while Koyan, the hotel's supper club, adds the go-go sound, blending it all together with orchestral background. Whether you taste in Latin music is modern or traditional, you can hear it without ever leaving the Reforma - The Mexico's most musical Hotel.



Mexico City, Mexico

During the time when the Hotel was the Reforma Inter-Continental Hotel from 1960 to 1970, there were so much of interest in and around Mexico City that you must plan your sigtseeing carefully with your Pan-Am Agent, unless you had allot of time to yourself. There are, however, to this day, several musts: The Cathedral of Mexico, the floating grardens of Xochimilco, the pyramids of San Juan Teotihacan, the Franciscan monaster of Churubuscu and the beautiful Park of Chapultepec with its five museums.  On Sundays, there were always excitement of the bullfights.



Lead Interior Designer:

Neal Prince ASID Intercontinental Hotel Designer Pan-Am

Neal A. Prince, R.A., A.S.I.D, Lead Designer

V.P. of Graphic and Interior Design Department, InterContinental Hotel Group 1960-1985



300 guest rooms, completely refurbished in the early 1966. However, the property was sold off in 1970. During this time in history, air-conditioned rooms were a new amenity of luxury to Hotels, as air conditioned rooms were not standard as they have become in today's Hotels. The rooms were designed with a warm Mexican colonial decor for each guest room to absorb the rich culture by the interior design talents of Neal A. Prince.


Photograph courtesy of Arie de Zanger, IHC Photographer


Guestroom Suite:


Photograph courtesy of Arie de Zanger, IHC Photographer


How does Mr. Prince's identify an outstanding Hotel?


When you arrive at the Hotel, telephone room service and order a club sandwich to be delivered to your room. Once the room service had delivered your requested club sandwich, take a moment to access how it was prepared, what materials they used to create your club sandwich and then taste the sandwich. Mr. Prince firmly believes, from 55 years of travelling around the world that if a Hotel is able to prepare the "simple" club sandwich correctly, then that Hotel is being operated correctly.




Farolito Lounge:

Photograph courtesy of Arie de Zanger, IHC Photographer

At Farolito, named for the three great Interns fashioned for the hotel in Guadalajara, the mood is romantic and intimate. The theme of the room is the popular Mexican ballads by Agustin Lara, and the room features a mural painted by Covarrubias highlighting events of the songwriters life. Warm toned bits of stained glass and tiny table lanterns provides the glow. With cocktails being enjoyed, the area is mostly quiet at Farolito with ample low-keyed atmosphere.


El Catrin Saloon / Bar:

Photograph courtesy of Arie de Zanger, IHC Photographer

When its time to enteratinment at the Reforma Inter-Continental, the choices had varied and the moods were among many. El Catrin is a turn-of-the-century saloon with wrought iron tables and red leather chairs. Created in the spirit of the Mexican dandies who flourished in the 1980's and give the room its name, El Catrin recalls the heavy French influence of the era with waiters dressed in derbies, high collars, flowing ties and silk spats.


La Arboleda Restaurant (Open Grill Restuarant with its authentic Mexican specialties):

Photograph courtesy of Arie de Zanger, IHC Photographer

The open grill in La Arboleda Resturant is faced with the famous blue Talavera tiles of Puebla. Standing near the grill is a senorita drassed in the colorful manner of the Chamula Indians. The chef at her side prepares the authentic Mexican specialties that make up over half of the restaurant's menu, and "cools" them sufficiently for its patrons' tender palates.

La Arboleda Coffee Shop:

Photograph courtesy of Arie de Zanger, IHC Photographer

The La Arboleda Coffee Shop had offered the finest cuisine which was served in the most casual atmosphere.



 The La Gruta Restuarant:


Photograph courtesy of Arie de Zanger, IHC Photographer

La Gruta is intimate in a differant way. Designed to evoke the grotto of Cacamahuilpa near Taxco, its walls and ceiling are modern plaster "stalactites" decorated with small mosaic tiles of 14 karat gold and sterling sliver which glint in the darness to all three places and in Koyan, entertainment is continous. The La Gruta is where drinks became an enchantment settings where cocktails were served in a sparkling grotto setting.



Koyan, the Reform Supper Club Restuarant:

1959.Mexico.MexicoCity.Reform ICH

Photograph courtesy of Arie de Zanger, IHC Photographer

1959.Mexico.MexicoCity.Reform ICH

Photograph courtesy of Arie de Zanger, IHC Photographer

Still more exotic is Koyan, the supper club named for the sacred drink of the Mayan gods. Built like a Mayan temple, its ceiling is dramatically higyh and its walls are decorated with motifs showing this ancient civilization at play. Authenticity entends even to the appointments of the luxurious guest accommodations whose furnishings include custom caprets and lamps created exclusively for the hotel in keeping with the traditional designs of colonial Mexico. Every guest service is at hand, and a multi-lingual staff took pride in serving the Guest at the Reforma Inter-Continental Hotel. Koyan was designed for Music, dancing, go-go tempo of the Koyan designs and the high ceilinged Mayan temple.


Meeting Facilities:               

Photograph courtesy of Arie de Zanger, IHC Photographer

The Meeting rooms were ample size for banquests and large meetings to service any convention.


Interiors came under Mr. Prince' s supervision in 1960. Property was located in the center of the city, on the beautiful tree line boulevard. Property reflect public areas.

Reform Inter-Continental Hotel Luggage Label, Neal Prince

Graphics and designs of all aspects, such as this example, of the Hotel designs, logo's, monograms, uniforms are contributed to the creative talents  of Charles R. Alvey and Richard Simpson, of the InterContinental Hotel Corporation's Department of Interior & Graphics Design




Attached is an 1971 MEMO from Mr. Prince on the Process of Designing a Guest Room for an Hotel




InterContinental HOTEL




NEAL PRINCE, ca. 1961

The approach to hotel design differs greatly from each interior design for an individual. The latter is dictated by the aesthetic environmental pleasures of one particular person or family, whereas hotel design is a coordinated effort between the functional requirements if IHC Hotel Management and Operations, the architectural concept and space allocation, the desires of the local hotel company, the limitations of restrictive budgets, and the harmony and market of the country in which a hotel is located – all combined to produce a profit marking plant reflecting the current international tastes of a widely diversified market.

Although standardization would appear to be desirable in a rapidly growing industry, experience indicates the most successful efforts are based on individuality related to the country of origin rather than standardization of design, but with an overlying emphasis of international standardization of quality and service.

Each hotel in each location produces its own surveyed, conceptual, and operational requirements of IHC, its own local interior designers, and its own problems of local availability and manufacturing; however, the following outline of goals is generally applicable:

A. To produce good design based primarily on the functional needs and requirements of IHC Operations in order that Management can merchandise fully the facilities provided and develop a high quality of service; this design to be approached simultaneously along the following avenues:

1. Concept (objectivity) – initiated by IHC Operations and local Hotel Company (where applicable).

2. Function (utility) – based on past experience and current consumption of practical innovation.

3. Construction (fabrication) – utilization of local market facilities and methods wherever possible.

4. Budget (feasibility) – dictated by market surveys indicating the initial expenditure warranted by projected profits.

5. Beauty (design) – a conglomerate result of the thinking and ideas of all parties involved coordinated into a smooth, compatible result.

B. To insure that the original design concept and subsequent development of each project is based not on the likes and dislikes of any one faction but expresses the taste and insures the comfort of the international guest; and also utilizes, wherever possible, the trades, manufactures and craftsmen as well as the arts and crafts, ornamentation, styles, and traditions indigenous to the country in which a project is located.


Updated: 20170206

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