In the hotel hallway, I spotted this photo of the inn, after it was purchased by E.E. Nichols in 1877. At that time, the simple structure stood practically alone, in the landscape. The mining boom was over, so Nichols changed the hotel name and he changed the focus, to the nearby mineral springs. The hotel became a luxury, health resort for the wealthy.
A New Style
At some point, the hotel was given a new look. The Queen Anne Victorian image is what greeted us when we arrived. Flags and flowers, a lovely porch and bay windows! The circle drive took us to the porch. It felt more like we were coming to visit our rich relatives, than a hotel. And the valet guys were friendly and un-rushed, as we took forever to gather our stuff. Plus, overnight valet parking was less than $10. What a bargain!
Ahhh! A Porch!
The living area across from the lobby desk, was oddly formal. I would have preferred more random antiques to the Marriott-looking decor, but that's okay. We had the porch!
Celebrity Guest Suites
Since our travel budget usually puts us in the cheapest rooms, we were feeling pretty giddy with our fireplace and wet bar. Mr. Nichols gazed towards the bay windows, from his portrait over the desk.
I loved looking out over the porch, towards the mountains. We could practically plan our walking route as we gazed out at the town below.
Comfy Chairs, Bed and Bath
It was a treat having 2 matching, comfy chairs and a table. Our road trips, sometimes have us fighting over the good chair.
I peeked in the dining room to see if it matched an old photo. The dining area was divided into 2 rooms instead of one large space. The tables were set formally, as they were years ago. The simple, square columns still dramatically held up the ceiling.
I love a little hotel exploring, but I didn't make it too far. I would have loved to have had a peek into one of the round, turret rooms. Mostly I wanted to get inside that mystery door! The hefty, black door with the lovely painted cottage scene, had obviously been a door to a safe. But what was it now? I never found out.
Red Mountain Bar and Grill
This had been one of our hotel options for dinner. I loved the fun shape of the old building. I also wanted to sit on the big porch and order dinner. Unfortunately, I got sick and missed out on both options. I can't remember ever being too ill for dinner, when staying at a hotel. This was a first for me.
Better by Morning
Luckily I woke feeling better. I was also starved, which was good, since breakfast was included. The breakfast buffet was served in the dining room and the atmosphere was peaceful and relaxed. I loved sipping my coffee and looking across at the old stone, post office.
Coffee on the Porch
Before checking out, we enjoyed the morning with a quick walk around town. The retro arcade & shopping area was quiet and free of tourists. We sampled some mineral water from one of the public fountains. Bubbly! Then we chatted with the car valet after checking out. He talked us into making the trip up to Pikes Peak. Perfect!
I just wish we could have stayed one more night.
My New Year's Resolution for 2014 was to start documenting some of the memorable overnights I've had in some very odd and curious motels and hotels. Like the adventures in my Dining Blog, I have learned to enjoy the surprises that happen when you step out of the comfort zone, far away from the well-known chains.
I began with a few entries recalling my very first home away from home memories from my youth. Then, I started sharing about some of the quirky and unforgettable motels, hotels and inns that my husband and I have discovered in recent years.
The best part about this challenge was making some lists with Don and getting on the road in search of new overnight adventures. I gave myself a 2-year goal to write up 90 stories and the goal was met. Now we just keep on adding!