Ruth found an interesting subject. She found an article about historic hotels. In fact, the article reports on the 50 most stunning places to stay in America according to Jill Fergus, who has listed what are, in her opinion, the best venerable hotels in each of the 50 states. A long time expert, she encourages all of us to travel back in time while on the road by staying at the best hotels that have survived for decades or longer. I have divided them into places we have toured but not stayed in, hotels she lists where we have actually stayed, and notable hotels we aspire to stay in at some point in the future.
We have toured lots of hotels to report on them, but we have not stayed in them. These hotels include The Biltmore in Phoenix, The Breakers in Palm Beach, Fl, The Mission Inn in Riverside, CA, and the best-of-all Driskill Hotel in Austin, TX. The Driskill is among the best hotels in the Lone Star State, the state with the most and best historic hotels. I don’t know how Jill managed to single out the Driskill in a place with so many great choices.
Texas has lots of historic hotels worth seeing in smaller towns. We have stayed in some of them in offbeat locations like Laredo, Bryan, and Lajitas. The only competition that The Driskill has in Texas as far as I’m concerned is The Menger Hotel in San Antonio. The Menger is truly a classic from the past. The Driskill, however, was built by a cattle baron according to Jill Fergus, and he spared no expense when it comes to stained glass, use of marble, and art. Don’t miss eating in one of The Driskill’s restaurants. My personal favorite among Texas hotels is, nevertheless, The Adolphus in Dallas. We were lucky enough to stay there and enjoy a room on the floor with a ghost that kept me awake all night.
Ruth & I have actually visited in only 3 hotels singled out as the best in each state as reported by a woman named Jill who has done genuine research. They are the La Fonda where we stayed recently in Taos, New Mexico, The Hilton in downtown Chicago, a city with many excellent hotels, and The Capital in Little Rock, AR. We really enjoyed our dinner in its exceptional restaurant. Unlike Jill, I do not recommend La Fonda as a place to stay because it has become something of an urban hassle. Our room was adequate but not classic.
I don’t know how Jill could have overlooked the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, the Frank Lloyd Wright Hotel in Mason City, IA, and The Plains Hotel in Cheyenne, WY. These are 3 classics from the distant past and are still worth the expense of staying there. Frank Lloyd Wright designed a total of 6 hotels, and Mason City’s Park Inn is the only one left. One of them burned and the others were torn down. It took 10 years of effort to restore The Park Inn. Although the restorers did a great job, its still not a comfortable place to stay if you desire modern amenities. People don’t stay there because it’s like a Holiday Inn Express. They stay there because it exists and is beautiful. The Plains, a longtime Wyoming hotel of classic categorization, suffers from inadequate parking.
I was getting worn out when it comes to sampling the best sandwich in every state I visited. Now I have a new mission, to stay at the most historic hotel everywhere I go. I didn’t even know that The Elms Hotel in Excelsior Springs, MO existed before reading about this travel editor’s choices of the best accommodations in each state for a timeless getaway. Thanks to her, I now also aspire to stay in the Baden Springs Hotel in French Lick, IN, a retreat in a resort area that has been welcoming guests for more than 100 years, The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island in Michigan, and The Crater Lake Lodge in Oregon that I didn’t even know existed. The Allison Inn may be Oregon’s only 5-star resort, but it’s relatively new and has not stood the test of time like the Crater Lake Lodge that is only opened for a short time each year because of its fantastic location.