Regent Palace Hotel and Mario Santos, Jr.

The Regent Palace Hotel was a large hotel in the centre of London that existed between 1912 and 2010.

Contents 1 History 2 Public rooms 3 Upper floors 4 Staff 5 Features 6 References

History

In 1912 Lyons & Co purchased the unused property on the outer edge of the Quadrant in Regent street. There they built a hotel which was called the Regent Palace. It took up the complete triangular block formed by Glasshouse, Brewer and Sherwood Streets. Rising nine floors high there was also a basement and sub-basement. It contained 1028 bedrooms, but even in its later year, only had communal bathrooms and toilets. For many years it was the largest hotel in Europe.. During the second world war's Blitz on London, it was hit by a couple of bombs, although little damage was done. In post-war years it deteriorated in spite of many attempts to refurbish it, and became one of the cheaper hotels of London which catered for tour parties. The building was largely demolished in 2010-2012 and was replaced by part of the Quadrant 3 project and renamed "Air W1". Public rooms

The public area of the hotel was situated mainly on the ground and first floors. The main entrance was on the apex at the intersection of Brewer and Sherwood Streets. It was visible from Piccadilly Circus and its neon sign was said to be the last neon sign in the Circus. The floor plan altered slightly over the years, but will be described as it was in the 1980s. Immediately after entering there was a news kiosk on the left. On the right was a sandwich and fruit bar. Further on that side was the head-porter's counter and the check-in counter. Opposite these counters were three very small lifts. These lifts were inadequate for even normal use and hopeless at major check-out times. Between the lifts was a marble stairway leading to all other floors. Further in the vestibule was a gift shop and a booking agency (for theatres), followed by a hall with the entry to a Pub on the left and to the coffee shop/breakfast room on the right. Also in this hall were telephones and an entrance to a stairway leading to the residents lounge (on the first floor) and the hairdressing salon in the lower floor. The vestibule ended in swing doors leading to an area under a dome with a classic parquet floor. Beyond this, was the restaurant, decorated in the Art Deco style. The dome was of cut glass, and was situated in an open central court also triangular in shape. This caused the building to have the main passageways on the upper floors also to be triangular in plan-form Upper floors

The upper floors contained the bedrooms, mainly singles and doubles. The rather cell-like singles were very narrow, just wide enough to contain the bed and room to use the wash sink. Beyond the bed there was a chair and small table, a closet and the window. Even the inner rooms had natural light as they opened onto the central court and its triangular shape prevented direct overlook. The double and Twin rooms were much wider with more furniture. There were bathrooms and toilets in each passageway. A bell in each bedroom summoned a floor maid who would then draw a bath, supply hot towels and escort the resident to the bathroom, and after use, clean it.. Staff

At its peak, the Regent Palace employed over a thousand staff. Many of these were accommodated in a separate staff building on the east side of Sherwood Street. This building also contained the laundry and could be reached by an over-street bridge at the third floor level. This bridge is still in existence. However the old staff building is now used as the Backpacker Hostel. Features

The hotel was run by the J Lyons & Co, who were an early user of business computing, consequently, the Regent Palace together with its sister hotel the Strand Palace were one of the first hotels to use a computer. This was in the 1970s. The restaurant became one of the largest carveries in London, having hot lamb, pork, chicken and two beefs together with cold ham and chicken. A carving chef was supplied for those less able to carve. The meal started with a waitress served shimp or fruit cocktail and ended with dessert and tea or coffee also from the waitress. Since 1997 there has been a Regent Palace Hotel in Dubai, but it has no connection with the above hotel.

Mario Santos, Jr. and Regent Palace Hotel

Mario Santos, Jr. (March 2, 1940 – January 26, 2014), was from 1977 to 1988 the sheriff of Webb County in South Texas. During his tenure, the county built its current jail and detention center.

Contents 1 Background 2 Political career 3 Later years 4 References

Background

A native of Laredo, Texas, the county seat of Webb County, Santos was one of four children of Mario Santos, Sr., and the former Rosemary Moore, both of whom are deceased. He graduated in 1959 from Martin High School in Laredo and holds an Associate of Arts from Laredo Community College, then known as Laredo Junior College. In 1963, he obtained a bachelor's degree in economics and a minor in history and government from the Kingsville campus of Texas A&M University. He became a probation officer, first for juveniles and then adults. In 1963, he received an instructor's certificate from the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Standards and Education. In 1967, Santos attended the Juvenile Officers Institute at the University of Minnesota.

Political career

In 1976, Santos upset in the Democratic primary election veteran Sheriff Porfirio Lauro "P. L." Flores (1912-1993), the candidate of the then ruling Independent Club and the father-in-law of the subsequent district attorney, Julio A. Garcia.Santos had been chief deputy under Sheriff Flores. Santos then faced no opposition in the general election. While he was sheriff, Santos graduated from the FBI Academy at Marine Corps Base Quantico in Quantico, Virginia.

After three four-year terms as sheriff, Santos himself was upset in the 1988 primary by another Democrat, Juan Garza, who held the office for four terms until his own defeat in 2004 by Ricardo "Rick" Flores.

Santos' defeat is attributed to a failed attempt by inmates on February 3, 1986, to break out of the former jail while the new structure was still a few months from opening. The previous structure, obsolete and dangerous, had been condemned by the Texas Jail Commission. The breakout attempt cost the life of a young jail guard, Jose Gerardo "Curly" Herrera (1963-1986), in whose honor an historical marker has been placed at the Webb County Courthouse.

In 2000, Santos failed in a bid to oust Garza, whom he claimed "failed to monitor expenditures and provide adequate supervision at all times. He has not implemented effective inventory controls and instilled professionalism in his department." Had he been returned to office, Santos said that he would have concentrated on establishing a civil service commission for the sheriff's department and the integration of law-enforcement initiatives with federal and state authorities, particularly in the war against narcotics.

One of Santos' deputies was the current Webb County Sheriff Martin Cuellar, who also was employed for twenty-five years by the Texas Department of Public Safety.Cuellar called Santos "a great leader with the sheriff's office."

Later years

After his time as sheriff ended, Santos was involved in real estate, worked as a customs broker, raised horses, and operated several amusement centers in South Texas. His business travels took him to Mexico, South America, Africa, and Taiwan.Antonio Adolfo "Tony" Zardenetta, a retired judge of the 111th District Court who resides in San Antonio, recalls Santos as "quite a character in every sense. He had a strong personality. He was good-humored, but he was stern when he had to be."

Santos died at the age of seventy-three of pulmonary fibrosis in a Laredo hospital. He and his wife of fifty-six years, Sylvia Santos, had four children, Judy Campos and husband Juan, Maria Eugenia "Gigi" Perez and husband Victor, Mario Santos, III, and wife Rosa Isela Santos, and Delfino P. Santos. He also had another child that he had out of wedlock. Her name is Elsa Yvette Santos and she is 33 years of age. He dearly loved his baby girl. Memorial services were held on January 31, 2014, at Joe Jackson North Funeral Chapel in Laredo, with the Roman Catholic deacon, Joe Longoria, officiating.
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