"Flagship of the San Juans" of 1886
Don and I spotted this Victorian beauty when visiting Ouray, in 2013. It looked pretty grand on the outside, with the San Juan Mountains in the background. We could see how it got its nickname, way over 100 years ago.
A Peek Inside
On that summer day, we stepped inside to have a look around. The hotel had recently undergone major renovations. The lobby, with its split staircase, looked pretty swanky. Swanky at least, for a town of only about 1,000.
We put The Beaumont on our list, for a future trip.
Beaumont Hotel & Spa in 2019
This past June, Don and I had our chance to be guests at the Beaumont Hotel & Spa. Neither of us cared about the spa features of the hotel. I was mostly eager to know that our second visit to Ouray, would involve a hotel room... with a bathroom and no bullet holes.
We arrived at 3 and found no one at the lobby desk, but a sign told us to use the antique phone, for assistance.
A young voice answered politely and soon we heard her steps trotting down from the 3rd floor. The young woman welcomed us with much enthusiasm and got us checked in.
Posing Like Newlyweds
Our very enthused host saw me trying to photograph the staircase and offered to take our picture. She teased us into posing like many of the bridal couples, who have celebrated weddings at the hotel. Our western attire wasn't exactly suited for the photo shoot.
My eyes kept wandering upward, as we chatted at the desk. The afternoon sun through the skylight, made the lobby extra dramatic.
Later, when we climbed the stairs towards the skylight, I found my favorite view. Looking over the railing on the 3rd floor, I took in all the shapes and patterns and angles... above, across and below. Altogether, the wallpaper, railings and woodwork created a fun design!
Looking down, I was glad we weren't traveling with small kids who like to climb, or drop things. Actually small kids aren't allowed at the hotel. So I guess that's never an issue.
Our host took us to our third floor room. We rolled our bags past some lovely doors and a stack of vintage trunks. Theodore Roosevelt and Herbert Hoover were once guests at the hotel. That was back in the day, when people traveled with steamer trunks.
I recognized the intricate wallpaper from our first visit. I recall some stories about the renovation challenges and the difficulties of matching the original wallpaper patterns. I couldn't decide which was my favorite.
Next to The Dragonfly Suite
Each of the 12 rooms had a name plaque. I liked the name of the room next to ours. "Dragonfly" We were told Oprah once stayed in that room.
In our usual style, we booked one of the cheaper rooms. Our room named Sarah, didn't look a bit cheap. I would rather have a queen with 2 nightstands than a king, without. There were certainly no bullet holes in the Sarah!
Our 4 windows were decorated with elegant drapes, pulled open with equally deluxe (and festive) hardware. The windows gave us a good peek at the hotel's garden, below.
Rich and Cozy
Victorian is not always the most comfortable of styles, but we had no complaints. Our pretty little room had all that was needed from desk to ceiling fan, to fridge, microwave, Keurig coffeemaker and TV.
Our marble vanity held 2 sinks, which is a treat in an old hotel. The nightlight was handy and so were the small towels in the box beneath the sink. "Rags... For your dirty work"
Cookies & Robes
After returning from dinner, we decided to make some coffee and chow down on the cookies we'd bought earlier. While the coffee brewed, we discovered the robes. They worked like giant bibs for all those giant cookie crumbs!
We were sad to learn that the hotel no longer had a restaurant and bar. However, our building housed a bookstore and sometimes books can be every bit as exciting as food.
In the morning, we enjoyed a complimentary breakfast in an area that was connected to the book shop.
I sipped my coffee near the old fireplace, waiting for the book store to open at 10.
I'm guessing the breakfast room must have been where the restaurant was in 2013. Many years ago, the same space was a movie theatre.
From the breakfast room, there was another door, (near the stove that held the toaster) that led to the hotel's garden. What a sweet little mountain view, between the buildings!
The Beaumont may no longer have its own dining options, but there were so many options nearby. Ouray felt like an extension of our hotel. We could head right out the door and explore the little mountain town on foot.
We enjoyed the view from the rooftop lounge, at Ouray Brewery and we dined at the Outlaw Restaurant. If we'd been just a little braver, we could have mingled with the locals at the nearby Elk's Lodge. It was Bingo Night and the sign said, "All Welcome!"
It's also hard to believe that our meticulously restored hotel, showed no signs of it's troubled years. There were no hints of the pink paint that covered it, when it sat vacant. I'm so grateful that the Beaumont was rescued... so that we could be guests in 2019!
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!