The Grand Highland Hotel is Iconic Downtown Prescott, Offering the Perfect Blend of Character and Comfort, History and Glamour
By Hilary Dartt
Last year, the Grand Highland Hotel on Whiskey Row already had almost everything: an iconic downtown location, elegant furnishings, and the upscale Holiday Courtyard, a classy outdoor location for wedding ceremonies and receptions, which was completed in 2015.
But because the weather in Prescott is only almost perfect, year-round, owners Nancy and Howard Hinson decided to add an indoor location to the venue.
In June of 2019, the 3,500-square-foot Holiday Ballroom was finished—and now, Nancy said, the hotel “feels complete.”
The Holiday Ballroom fills the space that was once the Grand Saloon and Restaurant, in the early 1900s (it was the last building to fill in after the fire of 1900). That history is part of what gives the room its unique character: authentic advertisements are still painted on the brick walls (which were the exterior walls of the building next door), and the hatch marks on the brick, which builders created to help the plaster stick, are still visible.
Along with that historical charm, though, guests experience glamour and elegance: crystal chandeliers hang overhead, leaded glass windows shine at the back of the space, and hand-painted tiles line the ceiling (Nancy and Howard, along with their daughter, Melanie Link, and their granddaughter, Alexa Link, painted them).
“There’s a cool balance between the historical and the new,” Nancy said. “That’s what makes [The Grand Highland] unique … it already has its ambiance, its own feeling, so [a bride and groom] don’t have to bring it.”
The property lends itself to a bride and groom being able to create their own events with their own style.
“They can create whatever kind of event they want,” Nancy said, “whether that’s a full, sit-down dinner or an hors d’oeuvres bar.”
“Brides like the idea of being able to create their own event—they can be as hands on as they want. They have a lot of choice.”
And now, thanks to the completion of the Holiday Ballroom, they can do that without weather-related risk.
“People like the ability to eat under a roof,” Nancy said, adding that the indoor space is reassuring to brides and to vendors who may otherwise worry about weather.
Many couples get married on the stage in the courtyard, eat dinner inside the ballroom, and then let the reception flow between those two spaces throughout the evening.
The ballroom rental comes with the Holiday Hub, a back room that can be used for a variety of purposes, including a getting ready room or a space for the buffet table if it’s a larger wedding.
Nancy said the Grand Highland provides 72-inch round tables with natural wood chairs (with ivory pads) and tablecloths. The sound system can run separately inside and outside, or it can be connected inside and outside. There’s also an audio/visual system in the ballroom, for people to play videos or slideshows. She’s put together a list of preferred vendors, and couples can also choose their own caterers, DJs, photographers, and florists.
Perhaps most important of all, Nancy said, the members of the hotel’s staff—managed by her son-in-law, Rey Rivera—are “amazing.”
“They’re friendly, customer service oriented, and conscientious. That’s all part of creating an event you want—having people to support that.”
Nancy said Prescott-area architect Bill Otwell designed the Holiday Ballroom, and Savage Construction was the General Contractor for the project, and utilized all local contractors and vendors.
The Grand Highland Hotel is booking for 2020 and 2021. It’s best suited for weddings with between 25 and 150 guests. Couples can rent the entire hotel, or just the Courtyard and/or the Ballroom. A day’s rental runs from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. (or until midnight if a couple rents the hotel), plus an hour the day after the event for cleanup.
People can also book corporate events, lunches, meetings, and parties at the Grand Highland.
The Evolution of Whiskey Row
Grand Highland Hotel and Holiday Courtyard Day is November 14
City of Prescott Mayor, Greg Mengarelli, declared November 14 Grand Highland Hotel and Holiday Courtyard Day in the City of Prescott.
Nancy Hinson, who owns the hotel with her husband, Howard, attributes that recognition to the fact that the hotel has shared in the evolution of Whiskey Row, along with many other downtown businesses.
The City is remodeling the alleyway behind Whiskey Row, adding murals and boutique businesses, and making the whole area more of an entertainment district, Nancy said. Having a boutique hotel on South Montezuma contributes to the attainment of that goal.