Saying Goodbye to Indy’s Most Fabled Hotel
The locally owned Canterbury Hotel reopens this month as a Starwood property, Le Meridien Indianapolis. Is it fancy? Yes. Does it enjoy the same savoir faire as its beloved predecessor? You be the judge. Here, the good times and bad from the hotel’s three decades of hospitality, on a scale from classy to trashy.
The VIP guests for the Canterbury Hotel’s 1984 grand opening included the mayor of Canterbury, England, flown in for the event.
In 2006, concierge Doug Ferrer became Indiana’s first and only recipient of the coveted Les Clefs d’Or, an international award for concierge service.
In 2012, director James Cameron, visiting for a grandson’s graduation from Purdue University, checked into the Presidential Suite with his family. His wife panicked when she lost a diamond ring, but a waitress found it on a room-service tray and returned it.
In 2005, the hotel began serving locally sourced teas from TeaPots n Treasures, a downtown specialty shop.
Michael Jackson stayed at the Canterbury in 2003 while in town to give a deposition for a lawsuit. His handlers stipulated that he required total privacy, so Circle Centre’s bookstore stayed open after hours for the King of Pop and his kids.
Super Bowl XLVI turned the Canterbury into a veritable celebrity petting zoo. Guests included Carrie Underwood, Adam Sandler, and Steven Tyler. The Aerosmith frontman held court in the atrium every evening after midnight, recalls the Canterbury’s last owner, Turner Woodard: “He would sit there with coffee and talk. Great guy.”
During this year’s renovations, the Canterbury’s fabled mahogany-paneled bar was slated for destruction. Woodard moved it—lock, stock, and chandeliers—to the Stutz Car Gallery.
Mick Jagger, in town for a 1989 Rolling Stones concert, dined by himself in the restaurant. “Is [Indy] really just surrounded by cornfields?” he asked some patrons. “Are you really just pioneers?” Jagger ordered a bottle of wine and a bottle of champagne, and poured the contents of a silver ice bucket over his head to revive himself before leaving.
In September 2009, The Restaurant at the Canterbury stopped serving lunch, citing declining patronage.
Mike Tyson committed sexual assault, 1991.