There's a Small Hotel

"There's a Small Hotel" is a 1936 song composed by Richard Rodgers, with lyrics by Lorenz Hart. Originally written for but dropped from the musical Billy Rose's Jumbo (1935), it was used in On Your Toes (1936), where it was introduced by Ray Bolger and Doris Carson, and repeated by Jack Whiting and Vera Zorina in the London West End production that opened on 5 February 1937, at the Palace Theatre.

"There's a Small Hotel"
Songwriter(s)Lorenz Hart
Composer(s)Richard Rodgers

Betty Garrett sang it in the 1948 film Words and Music, and it was interpolated in the film version of Pal Joey (1957) with a Frank Sinatra-Nelson Riddle collaboration.


According to the biography of Lorenz Hart by Frederick Nolan (Lorenz Hart - A Poet on Broadway, 1994; Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-510289-4),[1] the song was inspired by a visit that Richard Rodgers made to the Stockton Inn, in Stockton, New Jersey.[2] Hart reputedly found the melody insistently cloying and often ad-libbed raunchy parody verses, much to Rodgers' chagrin.

Another claimant to be the inspiration for the song is the Belmond El Encanto in Santa Barbara County, California.[3][4] Renovations to the hotel in the 1950s replaced the wishing well, mentioned in the song,[5] by a floral fountain.[6]

Notable recordingsEdit


  1. ^ Nolan, Frederick (2 November 1995). Lorenz Hart: A Poet on Broadway - Google Books. ISBN 9780195356113. Retrieved 2010-03-26.
  2. ^ Hingston, Sandy (July 23, 2015). "5 Great Songs (You Might Not Know Were) Written in Philly". Philadelphia. Retrieved September 5, 2021. 'There’s a Small Hotel' - This musical number with lyrics by Lorenz Hart and tune by Richard Rodgers was inspired by the charming (and still existent) Stockton Inn in Stockton, New Jersey. Though cut from Jumbo, the show for which it was originally intended, the song instead found a home in On Your Toes (and another home, later, in Pal Joey).
  3. ^ Trzebinski, Errol (17 March 1995). The Lives of Beryl Markham. W. W. Norton & Company. pp. 343–. ISBN 978-0-393-31252-2. Retrieved 10 October 2011.
  4. ^ California business. California Business News, inc. 1983. p. 81. Retrieved 10 October 2011. For rejuvenation, pick the Montecito Inn, a 60-room hostelry that inspired Rodgers and Hart to write "There's a Small Hotel". Built by Charlie Chaplin and Fatty Arbuckle...
  5. ^ Wallace, David; Miller, Ann (23 September 2003). Hollywoodland. Macmillan. pp. 221–. ISBN 978-0-312-31614-3. Retrieved 10 October 2011.
  6. ^ White, Robert; White, Phyllis (March 2011). Hollywood & the Best of Los Angeles ... - Google Books. ISBN 9781588432865. Retrieved 2010-03-26.
  7. ^ Le Front populaire – Paris 1934–1939, Retrieved 26 February 2012.