People, Places & Things - Kathtography

Chalet Suzanne Courtyard

Chalet Suzanne is a historic site in Lake Wales FL, and on July 24, 1990, it was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. Originally envisioned as a magnificent residential resort appealing to people who enjoyed golf and tennis, Chalet Suzanne was a vision of cheese baron James L. Kraft and Carl and Bertha Hinshaw. Kraft soon bowed out of the enterprise. When Carl Hinshaw died in 1931, Bertha Hinshaw opened her home as a restaurant and inn to travelers, serving exotic recipes on fine china that she had gathered around the world. Among those who visited and helped to publicize the restaurant and inn was Duncan Hines.

In 1943 the Chalet was largely destroyed by fire. Hinshaw quickly rebuilt it using salvaged parts from the horse stables, a game room, servants’ quarters and a chicken house. This unusual design, consisting of 14 different levels, is still in use today.

The Chalet has been featured in many publications, among them The New Yorker, Vogue, Life, Better Homes and Gardens, Cosmopolitan, National Geographic, Forbes and Time magazines. Bertha Louise Hinshaw died in 1973 at the age of 90; the Chalet continues under the ownership and management of the Hinshaw family.

On July 10, 2014, it was announced that with the retirement of the Hinshaw family, the Chalet would close on or about August 4. The business and property were up for sale as a result. Today, sadly it sits deserted.

Chalet SuzanneFloridahotellandscapesvintagequaintcourtyardU.S. National Register of Historic Places