Cleveland Drury Hotel Review: A Treasure Reborn

Kathleen Walls Avatar

Cleveland Drury Hotel - Drury Plaza Hotel Cleveland Downtown
Drury Plaza Hotel Cleveland Downtown. Photo credit: Kathleen Walls

The writer was hosted.

The Drury Plaza Hotel Cleveland Downtown offers superior service, comfy beds, a can’t-be-beat center city location, and free breakfast and dinner, all in a gorgeous building that pays homage to the city’s history.

The Cleveland hotel is characteristic of the Drury Hotels chain, which started as a small family business in 1973 and is still 100% family-owned and operated. One of the company’s priorities is preserving architectural treasures. I stayed in a Drury Inn in Pittsburgh that was once a Federal Reserve Bank. The Cleveland Drury Hotel was formerly the Cleveland Board of Education Building.

The Cleveland Drury renovation honors the building’s history in ways both big and small – from retaining the gorgeous Beaux Arts architectural features and original murals to naming the onsite restaurant “The Teachers’ Lounge.”

If you don’t want to stay here to appreciate the history, stay here to take advantage of its downtown Cleveland location. The Cleveland Drury Hotel is walking distance from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, FirstEnergy Stadium, and Progressive Field. It’s an easy drive or Uber ride to attractions like Cleveland Museum of Art, Greater Cleveland Aquarium, Playhouse Square, Great Lakes Science Center, and others.

Hotel Highlights

  • Large green space both in front and back
  • Pet friendly
  • Spacious rooms with either a king bed or two queen beds
  • Pack and Play or roll-away beds available
  • Free wifi in all rooms and all public areas
  • Lots of free food
  • Fitness center
  • Swimming pool
  • Spa
  • Suites have two rooms separated by a real door
  • Living room has a fold-out sofa bed and its own TV
  • Walking distance from many sports venues

Things to Know about the Cleveland Drury Hotel

Valet parking is a big no-no for me. Since a guest in most cases will either have his/her own car or rent one to get around, parking should be part of the room rate.

There is no shuttle.

Cleveland Drury Hotel - Marble floors and walls plus historic touches make Drury Plaza
Marble floors and walls plus historic touches make Drury Plaza a treasure. Photo credit: Kathleen Walls

The Building’s History

In the late 1920s and early ‘30s, Cleveland, Ohio, aspired to show that rapid industrialization, brought to Cleveland in part by John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil, did not have to create urban blight. City leaders planned a beautiful Public Square as the center of downtown with three malls – A, B, and C – to house the municipal buildings.

In 1931, they planned the Board of Education Building on the east side of Mall A and hired Walker & Weeks, one of Cleveland’s most prestigious architects, to design it.

The result was a Beaux Arts building with a Romanesque look, including a two-story lobby featuring marble columns, massive arched windows, and bronze chandeliers.

Then they hired Cleveland artist Cora Holden to create two murals, “The Progress of Education” and “The Branches of Education” on the lobby walls.

Cleveland Drury Hotel - Lincoln’s statue next to the hotel
Lincoln’s statue next to the hotel. Photo credit: Kathleen Walls

Public Art at the Cleveland Drury Hotel

The front of the hotel sits back on a spacious green space, but it’s the west side of the building that really stands out. There is a statue of Abraham Lincoln created by Max Kalish in 1932. At that time, this was the front of the building.

The sculpture was paid for mainly by donations from Cleveland schoolchildren. Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address is carved on its base.

Cleveland Drury Hotel - Fountain of Eternal Life statue
“Fountain of Eternal Life” statue. Photo credit: Kathleen Walls

The hotel sits alongside a beautiful park. The centerpiece of the park is the “Fountain of Eternal Life,” a tall, green, nude, male figure rising from a green sphere set inside a real fountain. Marshall Fredericks created it in 1964 to honor local veterans of the Korean War and World War II. This was Mall A and surrounded by public buildings when it was created, but today it is known as Veterans’ Memorial Plaza.

Cleveland Drury Hotel - One of the murals in the lobby
One of the murals in the lobby. Photo credit: Kathleen Walls

The Lobby

When I entered the lobby, those murals set high in arched alcoves commanded my attention. The floors and portions of the walls are marble tiles. Tall arched windows let the daylight shine in.

I felt as if I had stepped back into an earlier century with an upgrade: the 21st-century air conditioning. A balcony with an iron rail on the second floor looks down on this magnificent lobby.

Cleveland Drury Hotel - My room
My room. Photo credit Kathleen Walls

Guestrooms

My deluxe king bedroom had a large window with a view of the city. There were sheer curtains and a heavy drape which I could pull to darken the room if I wanted to sleep in. I didn’t need that, as I wanted to see as much as I could while here.

The bed was comfortable and had a multitude of pillows. I was happy to see the two bedside lamps on the end table, as I like to read at night. The TV was positioned directly in front of my bed with the microwave and small refrigerator underneath.

Pale gold flocked wallpaper, high ceilings, leather headboard, wood furniture, and antique-looking oval mirror added to the historic look. Two framed posters in the entrance in front of my bathroom about present-day Cleveland, one commemorating the city’s founding in 1796, and the other showing The Free Stamp sculpture in Willard Park, added a modern touch. The desk was roomy and had plugs for my laptop and USB plugs for charging my phone.

The bathroom had a walk-in shower, a long granite counter containing the lavatory, and beautiful marble floors. There was a hair dryer there when I needed it.

Cleveland Drury Hotel - Free food at the Drury
Free food at the Drury. Photo credit Kathleen Walls

Dining

You will never go hungry in a Drury Hotel. I love the free hot breakfast buffet. It’s a lot more than the pastries you find at some hotels. There are containers filled with scrambled eggs, potatoes, meat, pancakes, or a waffle iron to make your own.

The Cleveland Drury Hotel breakfast also included cereal, oatmeal, and various toppings. Plus, there is a large array of breads and pastries. Of course, coffee, a good variety of teas, (they had my favorite, Earl Grey) milk, fruit juices, and soft drinks.

Instead of a traditional Happy Hour, Drury hotels have Kickback, which is really a filling dinner with hot food. It opens at 5:30 with plenty of seating in the common area.

There are a good number of choices, which differ each day. One I liked was the pasta Alfredo. There were chicken strips and mixed veggies to go with it. Or you could choose a baked potato with sour cream and butter, a hot dog, nachos and cheese, or soup.

In addition to all the free food, I was given a ticket for three free alcohol drinks. A fairly well-equipped bar is set at the back of the dining area. All of the drink and dining options are explained to you at check-in.

You also have access to free popcorn and soft drinks all day.

Cleveland Drury Hotel - Bar at The Teachers Lounge
Bar at The Teachers ‘Lounge. Photo credit: Kathleen Walls

If you want a more substantial meal or more drinks, The Teachers’ Lounge is your spot. It’s in what was once the building’s library on the first floor next to the free dining area.

Pool and Fitness Center

The indoor pool and hot tub are in the basement. It’s a large pool with tables and chairs set along the sides where adults can sit and watch the kids play in the pool. It’s open from 9 am to 10 pm daily.

There’s a workout room with a lot of equipment, including treadmills, ellipticals, bikes, weight machines, and free weights, also in the basement. It’s open 24 hours.

Cleveland Drury Hotel - Seating in common area of Drury
Seating in common area of Drury. Photo credit Kathleen Walls

Cleveland Drury Hotel Details

The hotel is located at 1380 East 6th Street. Ubering from Cleveland Hopkins International Airport was about a 16-minute drive.

The hotel has 189 rooms or suites. Room amenities include:

  • Free wifi
  • TV
  • Microwave
  • Refrigerator
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Hair dryer

There’s a free 24-hour business center near the lobby. Check-in time is 3 pm. Check-out time is 11 a.m.

CHECK PRICES / AVAILABILITY

Kathleen Walls Avatar
Kathleen Walls, former reporter for Union Sentinel in Blairsville, GA, is originally from New Orleans, she currently resides in Middleburg, FL but travels extensively and loves to write about history, agritourism, music, and food and drinks. She is the author of travel books, Georgia’s Ghostly Getaways, Finding Florida’s Phantoms, Hosts With Ghosts, and Wild About Florida series, and many novels. She’s a proud member of International Food, Wine, and Travel Writers (IFWTA) & Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) Websites: katywalls.com and www.americanroads.net
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