Our Plaza Hotel, wasn't the famous one in New York City... and our Las Vegas wasn't the famous gambling city in Nevada.
The Plaza, Since 1882
This lovely hotel opened up in New Mexico, a half century before the famous gambling hotels hit Nevada's Vegas. There were only 6,000 residents, but the town was growing rapidly.
There are nearly 15,000 residents today, but it felt like a step back in time when we visited the historic Old Town Plaza area, where the hotel was located.
Historic Old Town
The hotel sits on the north side of the historic Plaza Square. The park, with its bandstand and statues was quiet when we arrived, but that changed a little later.
We were greeted by Sean at the front desk. I wish I'd gotten a photo of this friendly guy, with his black tie and vest. He was pretty delightful.
Sean said we were booked to stay in room 204, but he was going to move us to a third floor room, since it was Karaoke Night. That was thoughtful. Sean gave us our key and said he hoped to see us at the bar for a little singing later. That was an amusing thought.
Up the Stairs
We had a choice of 2 stairways. One set was by the front desk and the other was across the lobby. The lovely walnut stairway across from the desk was clearly the more dramatic of the two.
In The Movies
The Plaza Hotel in NYC has been used for many movies, but the Las Vegas hotel has been in film since the silent movie days. Ten years ago, the dramatic staircase was used during the filming of "No Country For Old Men."
Finding Our Room
We enjoyed wandering the halls while searching for our room. There were some curious antiques and about 30 bookshelves filled with old books. It was fun passing each guest room, since each was named after a celebrity.
Bailey Chase Room
I was disappointed when I realized the room we had originally booked (above the bar) was named after the Coen Brothers. I love their movies! Our quieter room was named after Bailey Chase and I really don't know who he is.
The hotel was purchased and renovated just a few years ago. I liked the colorful updates and southwestern touches. But it was nice to see how much of the old charm was preserved. It was kind of fun having regular old keys, for a change.
Simple and Sweet
Our room with the Plaza view, felt calm and comfortable. There was nothing fancy about the bathroom, but it was nice having a little dressing area and a fridge.
Books or TV
We hardly needed the TV with all the book options on the shelf. It really made me wonder how many books they have in this hotel?
Windows on the Plaza
I do love windows and our view of the Plaza was entertaining. We had been told not to park on the square since the streets would be blocked off at midnight in prep for huge July 4th festivities. Too bad we weren't staying a few days longer.
I made a little of my own festive entertainment inside the hotel. For some odd reason, I happened to be traveling with my favorite childhood book about Eloise and her adventures living in New York's Plaza Hotel. I decided I needed to pull off at least one of Eloise's stunts. I chose one that I could do in the room, without embarrassing myself. This was my first head-standing hotel adventure... as far as I can remember.
Enjoying the Afternoon
Don and I explored the park and browsed through a couple antique stores on the square.
The dining room looked festive with the painted pillars and colorful rugs.
The Plaza Saloon
The hotel's saloon was quiet at 4, but when we stopped by for a drink at 6, we were joined by a few bikers. I was too intimidated to take a photo, but they were a scary bunch, slugging down their drinks like cowboys before roaring off on their bikes. The crowd at Karaoke night was pretty delightful. Cheery locals encouraged us to sing. Even Sean from the desk took the mic. I was too shy to sing, but I did take lessons from an encouraging local who couldn't believe I didn't know how to do the 2-step.
All Lit Up
We dined across the Plaza at family owned Mexican restaurant. We headed through the park back to our lit up hotel.
In the morning, I got up at 6 to snap some photos of the hotel. I knew the streets would be free of cars, since the roads were blocked. But there were already trucks and vehicles arriving to set up for the huge festival. I wandered around enjoying the activity.
The Plaza Hotel was a great example of a grand, historic hotel with a young spirit.
There was something warm and welcoming from the moment we stepped inside. I wasn't sure what it was that made the hotel feel so comfortable. But just before we left I read a note, tacked in the hallway. I had wondered about the signs I saw outside and when I read the note I had to smile.
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!