Since 1907 this sturdy hotel has been standing proud in Santa Rosa's Railroad Square.
Don and I stayed at the hotel in September, 110 years after it opened.
When we arrived we spotted the solid stone structure for the first time, in person. We'd actually spotted the hotel briefly once before, on TV. You can see the building in Alfred Hitchcock's Shadow of a Doubt.
Across the Street
Actually the train depot across the street, was featured more in the movie. We had fun exploring the square, which has changed a bit since the movie came out in 1943.
First of all, there are a lot of Peanuts characters now, since Charles Schultz moved to Santa Rosa in 1969. Besides Peanuts characters there were quite a few homeless folks, also. Evidently this part of Santa Rosa has really struggled over the years, but it seems to be moving in the right direction.
The Italian stonemasons who built the train station, also built La Rose. The stonework in the rear of the building looked more rustic than the front.
Our room was at the top of the fire escape on the right, with the funny windows. I'm not sure if the attic rooms were always used for guests.
I was curious about this odd bit of corner decor.
Maybe this had been a doorway at one time. Now a little window box kept people from cutting corners. I love little oddities.
There wasn't much to the lobby.
The desk had a very 1940's feel. I felt like I was in an old restaurant and I should check my coat at the desk.
We headed up!
The view from the stairs gave a good view of the cozy lobby.
At the top of the stairs we got a peek at the first floor hall.
Even after a a 1990's update, there was a vintage feel, that was appealing.
I liked the idea of staying in an attic room, but the top hall didn't have the same charm.
The doors were newer and it felt like a 1990's addition. Our room #40 was named after Alonzo Meacham. I looked him up and he wasn't very exciting. He may have been the first postmaster of Santa Rosa, or something.
UPDATE! Please read the comments below! A reader filled me and now I know that Mr. Meacham was indeed an interesting man. I'm not changing my write-up, to show how I can learn from what others share in their responses. Thank you, Nancy!
Our Slant-y Room
I love rooms with funny walls and ceilings. I even like sloping floors. But this room was a little odd.
We sort of had to duck to get into bed. At least Don did. But I did like the flowers just outside our window.
It was hard to see out the window since it was so high.
I kind of climbed up there and sat on the wide ledge and pushed out the glass to let in a little air.
It was a corner room, so we did have 2 views.
I'm always pleased with that. But the whole decor didn't have the vintage charm I was craving.
Marble and Chains
The bathroom had a vintage feel with the chain-pull toilet.
The marble had a nice clean feel... but what was old here? I was having a hard time figuring it out.
The hotel's restaurant was undergoing renovation, so Don and I wandered the area in search of a good restaurant choice. For some reason all the places seemed busy with locals and nothing seemed worth the wait. We ended up nibbling on leftovers from a late lunch in our room.
At breakfast there was an okay complimentary breakfast. I had to leave a decent tip for the staff, since I had not 1, but 2 spills with cereal and coffee. Oh my.
Our stay was just okay. I wish we'd had a good people encounter or a more curious room or a cozier lobby. More memorable than our stay, is the knowledge that 2 weeks after our stay, the Santa Rosa area was on fire. Charles Schultz' widow's home burned down and the home of the friends we had just visited, burned down. I will always have a special place in my heart for Santa Rosa and for this hotel... that luckily remains strong and sturdy.
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!